Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ironman South Africa- some Numbers

Thought I'll bore you with some numbers but for those who like me love looking at numbers here's the, if you can call it, "Technical" race report of Ironman South Africa that took place a week ago.

As I said before I am disappointed in not achieving the goals I set for myself but I must admit that it was hard and very optimistic goals but overall I am very happy with my result as I did a PB overall and also improved in every discipline except the bike.

My swim time of 1h09:38 was 6 minutes faster than any of my previous IM's.

Lap 1: 34:56
Lap 2: 34:36

Not by much but I am happy that lap 2 was faster than Lap 1 and that I didn't slowed down on lap 2.

T1 was also a PB at 2:40.

Could have been faster but I struggled to get wet suit off but otherwise a smooth transition with no hick ups. Could find my bike bag quickly and also no issues location my bike between some other 1850 bikes.

The bike was the leg in which I am disappointed. I finished in 5h11:24, a good 9 minutes slower than last year and 4 minutes slower than 2008. Without looking for excuses I think "drinking" to much sea water during the swim leg played a big part in my bike time.

As I said before for the first 5km I was just throwing up and it was sea water all the way. After that my throat was raw and I struggled breathing with a tight chest but it came right after a while. Not being able to take on fluids early on the bike leg cost me. I only ate 3 Mars bars and I was suppose to have 5 on the bike, 1 every hour. I was also suppose to have 4 Powerbar Gels but I had 2 as my throat burned from the gels. Well that's the way I trained to refuel but it didn't work out. Missing out on bars, gels and Powerade during the first hour was not good news.
I did drink Powerade that was given at the aid stations but as I started too late to fuel up I believe this is what cause me to bonk (cramp) on the run. I had 1 Powerade bottle( half full, probably 300ml) at every aid station from the last section of the first lap and continued until the end of bike in addition to the bars and gels.

My plan was to bike at 247 watts average keeping my heart rate below 148bpm. Without realizing it and thinking to much about my hydration issues I biked to hard on the first lap and faded big time on the last lap. Must say with the last part of each 60km lap biking into a head wind also took it's toll, as this part is usually a tail wind where you can fly.

Lap 1: 253 watts, 148bpm, 88rpm
Lap2: 247 watts, 146bpm, 89rpm
Lap 3: 215 watts, 140bpm, 85rpm.

Total: 239 watts, 145bpm, 87rpm, 5123kcal

Average of 239 watts was only 3 watts more than 2009.
Even with a bad bike I could still manage 8th fastest bike split of my age group.

T2 was also a PB with a time of 1:53. One little mistake I made from not thinking clearly as I grabbed my bike bag with all my swim stuff instead of my Run bag. As soon as I took the bag from the rack and feel the weight of it I realized what I did and jumped to the other side to grab my run bag.

Lucky for me my bag was only 5 bags from the end of the rack making it easy to get to the other side.

My T2 time was the second fastest of my age group.

The run started good and up to 34km's I was on target for a 3h30 marathon. I did my run/walk strategy and it work. I could maintain a good pace and after every walk split I could pick up the pace right away.

All my running was at 10 minute intervals and the walk intervals were at 30 seconds up to 22km, then I did 45s intervals up to 30km but then I had to do 1min intervals to try and keep my running pace at 5min/km. It is at this stage that the wheels came off and I had no more left in the tank and the cramping just made it impossible to run a decent pace.
On the run I took Powerade at every station for the first lap and on the second and third lap I took Coke at one station and Powerade at next, altering it between aid stations until the end with water in between. Looking at my split between the first half of marathon and second half I can now see how big the bonk was. First 21km done in 1h40 and second 21km done in 2h04!

Total: 3h44:38, 137bpm ave, 5;19min/km, 87rpm, 3414kcal
A PB by 7 minutes for a IM marathon and 12th fastest for the day in my group

I wanted to post the lap times below but I won't bore you with 39 laps of data.

As I mentioned before, Yes I did the marathon without socks (and not getting any blisters). I just prefer running without socks as my socks get so wet from the sweat and the water I pour on me at the aid stations that I actually get blisters running with socks. I ran with Newton Distance Racers which had already 550km on them but they were fine. I could not get a new pair before IM as they were out of stock and I had no other choice.

Overall I finished 8th in my age group with a time of 10h10:13, a PB by 12 minutes.


  1. what an awesome race Johan! I look forward to seeing in you IMLP if that is the kind of race you will have. It is great to be able to follow such a kick butt athlete, even better that he is a PFG! Way to go!

  2. Solid stuff uber-Johan.

    My 2 cents worth:- it looks like you ran out of petrol. I'm not sure what else you ate/drank on the day (3 bars and 2 gels is nothing!), but that's what it looks like to me. The base, strength and speed was there (as we saw in your solid Half Iron Prestige performance), and as long as you didn't pace badly on the early stages of the run by going too fast, it looks like the body said "enough china bean: no petrol, no love" and started cramping. Your mind wasn't slowing the body down, so the cramps decided to do it for you. The vomiting and International jet setting lifestyle probably didn't help either ;o)

    I'll call it now, your next IM is a sub-10. Easy peasy.

  3. Wow...EXCELLENT REPORT and EXCELLENT RESULT!!I am very happy to learn from your reports and comments...thanks again!

    "XTB" Xavi from Hong Kong!

  4. John
    Thanks John, appreciate the kind words

  5. Rob
    Thanks, just added extra paragraph to post, but that is what I also suspect. Not been able to fuel in early part of bike cost me on the run. I did drink some Powerade but not enough

  6. Xavi
    Thanks man, Appreciate it and glad you can take something out of my postings

  7. J, loved the stats, it's really cool to see what the data looked like. Nice wattage on the bike and I'm shocked at how low your average HR was on the run.

  8. B
    Yes that's what happen if you bonk, your heart rate just take a few beats in the wrong direction. The body just could not go faster and the heart loved it.

  9. Well done Johan! Great blog as well. Not many SA bloggers around.