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London Olympic Distance World Champs 2013

Robbie Skillman

The story of this race is a happy one for me so I feel I should thank the
people that helped make this possible before I get into what happened. First
of all my coach Corey Bacon, thank you for taking me from an 80 kg fat fella
who could not manage a 3.30 km for one effort. To a 66kg athlete 5 th in my
age group in the world and able to run that pace for 10km off the bike.

My sponsors Stacks the law firm and the runners shop. Your support in the
months leading up to the race was invaluable you kept me injury free, stress
free and looking good in training and racing. Thank you Mark and Nick.

My training partners at PTC without you guys kicking my butt week in week
out I couldn’t achieve this and my friends and family for your support and
belief in me.

We arrived in London on the on Monday before the race. The nearly 36 hours
of travel and waiting around was a little tiring to say the least but I was
happy to arrive. I checked in and went for a run to stretch the legs/ stay
awake, I had planned a 20 minute jog but got VERY lost and ended up in the
back streets somewhere in London with no money or phone and ended up running
around for around an hour before finally finding the motel again. Not an
ideal start to the week but was a fast track to getting my bearings.

The next few days consisted of training a little, sleeping, eating and
stretching. With energy building and going through the usual race week
things like check in, team meetings, race briefings and watching other races
I was excited,inspired and ready to race.

Race morning I woke up at 4.30 and the first thing that came to me was the
song I had used when I had visualised the race in the lead up. I thought
this was great as it made it easy to get focused on what lay ahead.

Arriving I did the final setup in transition and met up with Jack and
eventually Harry for a warm up before heading down to the marshalling area
for the swim. Upon arrival we learned the swim had been shortened to 750 m
because the air temperature combined with water temp. meant it didn’t meet
the ITU guidelines. I didn’t think it was that cold being from Goulburn but
rules are rules. Not phased by a short swim as I was confident it wouldn’t
effect my race to greatly.

We were lead out on to the pontoon for race start and allowed into the water
30 seconds before race start. I was in the second of two waves in the 25-29
age group. Which meant it would be difficult to know whether you were
leading or not during the race.

The siren went for the race start and I pushed off and went hard for the
first 50-100 m to get some clear water to swim in. I then settled in and
found the feet of a couple of guys who were swimming very well.

Rounding the first turn I was in third before turning and swimming directly
into the sun and not being able to see anything in front of me. I don’t know
if I was swimming straight at the next buoy or not but I lost the feet of
the two leaders and then had to swim blind to the next can. No problem as I
got there I was still in third and about 10m back. Hopping out of the water
and running/slipping/jogging up to transition in what can be described as a
quagmire, I grabbed the bike and headed out in the lead of the race.

On the bike I instantly felt strong and settled into a good pace with a
German and Irish guy who after looking at the start list I felt we’re going
to be fast on the bike but I thought I could out run.

We worked at pacing and putting distance into the guys behind us. Whizzing
past some famous landmarks like big ben,the tower of london and buckingham
palace it was was all lost on me as I didnt have time to look. ( Im not
really sure why they put a race in a place like this because you might as
well be on your turbo trainer. There is no time to sight see at all.) I had
the gels and drinks I required until I got to around 30km into the bike leg.
I had a sip of hydralyte and burped/spued it back up. (Sorry not a great
image but it happened haha) I then doubted if I should have my second gel on
the bike. In the end I didn’t and I guess I’ll never know if it had an
effect on the run or not.

Off the bike and slopping back through the mud. I had a quick transition and
took off on the run. Feeling great straight out of transition I settled into
a rhythm I felt I could maintain for the 10 km run. I got through the first
lap of the run leading and with no one I could see behind me in my age
group. I pushed harder on the next lap.

Running up the slight incline up to the top of the course and being cheered
on by what seemed like and Aussie supporter every 50m I felt my leg turn
over was slowing and I wasn’t overtaking people as easily. Turning and
running past the finish line to start the final lap of the run I was passed
by a Slovenian guy who I knew was in my age group and was running  just a
little faster than me, I tried to pick it up to match him but I couldn’t so
I pushed on and tried to limit my losses and hoped he struggled up the
incline back toward the finish.

As I reached the bottom of the hill (not that it was that big but it was big
enough to hurt.) I was about 40m behind the Slovenian and I heard footstep
coming up behind and I thought “oh no hear they come I’m going to get
swamped with a km to go.” I was passed by a British guy running what felt
like a lot faster, then another. I thought I was in fourth place now but it
turned out one of them was in the first wave so he was 5minutes behind.

I pushed hard and maintained around a 10m gap to the British guy which I
could not close down in the run to the finish line.

I was third across the line, 7 seconds behind the British guy in my wave
with no idea what had happened in the other wave. I moved through the
recovery area with Jack and Harry and on to find our families where Cameron
was texting Hoges back home in Aus to find out what was going on. Thanks to
Hoges for the updates and letting us know I had finished 5th in my age and
8th outright.

It had ended up I was only 3seconds down on another British guy in the other
wave and as it was only 7 seconds from bronze. An American in the first wave
had a great day and had won comfortably.

Congratulations to Jack, Cam R, Cameron M and Harry who all had good races
and should be very proud of their results in very fast fields in London.
Well done guys.

Now to rest up and recover before getting back to training for the Aussie
summer season. Once again thank you to everyone that has helped me get to
this point and I hope I can bring you more reports from successful races in
the near future.

Rob.

 

 

 

 

SportsCare and Physio, one of our main sponsors have just released a great promotional video, featuring a couple of our PTC athletes!

Check out the YouTube link below.

SportsCare and Physio Promotional Video 2013