Hastie to Tackle Coolangatta Gold - 6th Oct 2013

For those that do not know, the Coolangatta Gold is our sports longest Ironman race. It consists of a 23km ski paddle from Coolangatta to Surfers paradise and back to Miami beach, 2km run to Burleigh, 3.5km loop swim, 6.1km board paddle to Currumbin and finally a 7km run back to Coolangatta.

Since moving to Perth I have been keen to compete in this race. A few of the boys from Trigg SLSC, my adopted club, have done the race before and told me their stories about the training and preparation it takes to finish this race. One of my main goals since moving to Perth is to do the Gold.

After Aussie titles everyone had a bit of time off as we do after NZ champs. A few of us got talking about training for the gold over winter to give us a good base fitness for the coming season and to fill in the boring winter months. Myself, and two other club mates, Brendon Sarson and David Graham, committed fully to the race around June.

We started off swimming and running to build our fitness and then brought in ski and board sessions at the start of July. A normal week of training has consisted of four 1.5 hour swim sessions on weekday mornings, flat water board session on the swan river on Monday nights, ski sessions on Tuesday and Thursday nights on the river, circuit/ interval running on Wednesday nights, rest or massage on Friday nights and Ironman training on Saturday mornings. All this plus a 40-50 hours at work per week.

Training with Brendo and Dave has been so good for me and taught me to push myself harder than I would have ever thought possible. Brendo is a 7 time WA state ironman champ and gun ski paddler. He also spent 5 seasons on the Kellogg’s Iron man series and almost qualified for the London Olympics in the K4. Dave is younger and super talented. He swims, paddles and runs like a machine. Dave is sometimes a bit too keen and is always pushing the limits when he trains. You need to know when to go with him and when to pull back as he will push you beyond your limits and burn you out! I went for an 12km bush track run with Dave which goes up and down hills just near our beach. We did this run holding sub 4 minute per km and that took its toll on me. I couldn’t train properly after that session for a week or two as I think I was maybe beginning to overtrain. That taught me a lot though and I learned to listen to my body more and rest when I needed to.

8 weeks out from the race we have had a strict training programme that peaked at 4 weeks from the race and is now in the tapering phase. Weeks 3 and 4 of this programme were the hardest sessions I have done both physically and mentally. The ski sessions were the hardest for me, trying to keep up with Brendo and Dave for 20km+ of paddling was not an easy task! The biggest week we did consisted of 50-60km of ski paddling, 20km of swimming, 15km of board and 20km+ of running. 4 weeks out from the race we did a full run through of the event, minus the swim as we were training on the river and you do not want to swim in there.. The session was 23km ski, 2km run, 7km board and 8km run. It took me 3 hours and 40 minutes.

With the race being so long you need to practise your nutrition and hydration very carefully. If you do not drink enough at the start of the race it will pretty much be over for you. The run though was a great practise to get these things right before the real race in 2 weeks’ time. On race day I will get up early and try to have a big carbohydrate breakfast of oats with banana etc. For the race, take a couple of energy gels before the ski, have 2+ litres of sports drink from a camel pack and two more energy gels on the ski, have water and banana blended together and put in to a squeeze bottle to run with for the first short run, this will get handed to me by one of my handlers, my mother, sister and girlfriend will all be there to help me out with handing me food and water. The swim I will not be able to have any fluid of food for around 50 minutes so I want to make sure I am well hydrated prior to swimming. For the board I will take another couple of energy gels before the board and will have a bladder set up on the front of my board with a hose propped up so when I am lying down I can drink and not have to stop paddling. For the final run I will again have banana blended with water and have a water bottle and energy gels handed to me to run with which I will take along the way. After the race is finished I will have plenty of water and food to recover. There may even be a couple of brown liquid gold beverages going down as they have been out of my life for a while now!

I hope this has given an insight to the commitment it takes to compete in a race like this. I would love to move home one day soon and get a squad together over winter to train for this race as it truly has been a great experience thus far. All I need to do now is finish the race on the 20th of October! I am confident I will get over the line as I have put in all the hard work necessary. I will be proud to be racing for all the crew at my club St Clair SLSC and also my home club of Warrington.


Michael Hastie

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