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  • Writer's pictureSteve McKenna

Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast - 2nd Place

A dream come true:

The past ten weeks have been a dream come true, winning both Challenge Korea, Challenge Vietnam and placing 2nd at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast last Sunday, all results that went well beyond my expectations. It was an emotional run down the finishing chute thinking about all the hard work/sacrifice and I was lost for words when interviewed by Pete Murray (Muz)... but I didn't cry... alright!!

It wasn’t so much coming 2nd in a big event on home soil, but finally executing all three legs in a four-hour race to my potential. The two wins in Asia were amazing, but in the heat it is hard to gauge exactly what I might be capable of in more favourable conditions. After feeling strong and comfortable in the Sunshine Coast, I now feel like I can stand on the start line of a long course race and ask myself ‘how fast will I go today?’ rather than ‘when will I fall to pieces?…. and will an ambulance be required again today?’.

Race objectives:

After speaking with the coach (Tim Reed) pre-race the main objective was not to be finish place based, instead it was to:

1. Have fun.

2. Finally run 21km off the bike near my potential.

Executing all three legs to plan:

Bike strength for a faster run:

Since my first Triathlon in 2015 I have poured every ounce of energy into this sport, pulling back on everything else in life. My improvement has been rapid and constant on all three legs, but I have continually struggled to show my run strength in long course racing. It was not a run focused training block that allowed me to show my run strength last Sunday, but an aerobic bike and leg strength focus. In my last three races I have been getting goosebumps (happy ones) around 80km on the bike after realising my legs aren’t completely wrecked, contrary to all past experiences. Usually I am cramping, seizing up and completely exhausted with 10km left to ride, but finally I’m able to approach 80-90km and say “I actually wouldn’t mind going for a 21km run at the moment”. In short, my run hasn’t improved massive amounts in the last two years since becoming a Professional Triathlete, but with massively improved bike legs I can ride the same bike split and feel much fresher starting the run.

It was especially satisfying that this run breakthrough came after a solid 90km bike ride, which was far from a controlled/calculated effort at times having Braden Currie ripping everyone's legs off each time he attempted to break away on the hill sections.

Around 5km into the run:

Trying not to be shit:

Lead pack bike power summary:

**SRM Power meter** you know it's accurate, not even needing calibration - my old power meter would often read 15-20 watts high and it was great for my confidence, but a terribly unreliable training/racing tool.

90km average - 288w @ 66kg or 4.36 watts/kg:

Red lining it out of T1 and up the hill - 4min @ 338w or 5.12 watts/kg:

Half way hills - almost 20 minutes @ 330w or 5 watts/kg (this section stung):

Half way hills - here is a 3 minute section @ 370w or 5.6 watts/kg where I was on my limit! (not ideal when only half way through the 90km):

Half way hills:


Absolutely copping it:

Pretty sure I at least knocked his sunnies off eventually:

A special thank you:

As always, I couldn’t have done this without the support of those I am partnered with, but for the three most recent races I would like to make a special thank you to Leigh Mosel from Radiology SA, Luke Crozier from Gooch Goo and McDonalds (Wallan Sth, Kilmore, Seymour) and Andrew Bachmann from AB Landscaping. Their support allowed me to travel to these three races and none of it would have occurred without them, instead I would have continued to freeze my tits off in Adelaide and not raced at all.

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