Steve McKenna recently came 1st at the 2021 Geelong 70.3 race and here it is a bit of his story and motivation on how he got there, and how you too can achieve your own goals.
…After historically having terrible luck at Geelong 70.3 (or just poor performances), this one meant a lot and confirmed that the Geelong curse is now long gone!
In 2016 my first ever attempt at the IRONMAN 70.3 distance went horribly wrong and like many races in my first year taking on triathlon it ended up in the back of an ambulance.
I learnt how to swim and ride a bike in 2015 after these two sports were all I could do to rehabilitate a badly broken leg playing aussie rules football (15 weeks on crutches), ambitiously I pulled back on everything in life and decided this would be my job no matter what.
A lot of this confidence came from my first ever triathlon coach Matty White who took me under his wing and said “I’d bet my house on the fact that you’ll go PRO”, that was enough for me, pulled back on University, quit landscaping, got an office job sitting on my arse and started pretending I was a Professional within weeks of my first every triathlon.
Just 12months later I went to Geelong in search of a Pro license, with a Pro field of almost 30 that day I swam 11th quickest overall (23.48min) and cycled 14th (2hrs15), I then ran into around 10-12th place on the run leg and passed out at the 14km mark.
Passing out was a common theme throughout my childhood running long distance at a national level and within my first 12months doing triathlon the theme continued with 3 hospital trips.
My parents often wrote my name, DOB and emergency contact details on my racing bibs – always expecting the worst and pleading with me to pull back a little before the race. Matty White and my current coach can confirm that I don’t have a great gauge on perceived effort, but now that I am very familiar with the ‘passing out sensations’ and when I’m getting close to this zone, being able to push this hard is now a big strength rather than a weakness initially.
After this experience in Geelong I built the race up to be something bigger than it was and under performed in my next two trips here, pulling out overwhelmed and then badly under performing.
In 2020 I was coming off the back of a great 2019 and confidence was high, so things were going well sitting at the front of the chase pack behind leaders Amberger and Appelton. I knew I was on to perform to my potential that day but at the 30km mark my SRAM electric gearing lost it s#it and I was on the side of the road for 5minutes trying to fix the issue. Giving up I took the batteries off and rode the bike as a fixie with 1 gear!
2021 was much different with a coming of age and an apprenticeship in the sport finally finished now! There’s still a lot to work on and I’m not completely satisfied with the performance, which might be the case with anyone aiming high, but all I know is that it felt bloody good and that I learnt from a tactical running error a few weeks earlier at Husky Aussie champs – this time I bought a watch and paced the run well with an even 1st and 2nd run laps averaging 3.22 per km off a solid swim+bike.
Coach Tim Reed (Reedy) has had us both training for Ironman Australia so the fatigue was high coming into this race but we’re both extremely fit and strong from the training so a 1st and 3rd for us was a pleasant surprise!
Reedy is also partnered up with PREPD HYDRATION and even in cooler condition our hydration advantage on the rest of the field certainly plays a big role in our minds.
In our training leading into Geelong we’ve been having PREPD almost every day and the hydration not only allows for better and longer training days but is also recovering us significantly faster.
Just two days after the race I’m right back into training longer again (aerobically for now), but in less than 2 weeks I’m racing Challenge Shepparton, 2 weeks after that I’m racing IM Australia and 4 weeks after that IM Cairns!
My partner and I are due to have our first child in July so I’m not taking any racing for granted and this busy schedule is me making the most of the time I have left in 2021 with maximal sleep time and recovery. I’ve been reassured by many that we’ll handle it just fine, but I’m still going to keep using it as an excuse to train and race like a psychopath until June… being I love it.
To those out there trying to balance work, kids, studies and too much Ironman/endurance training along with pre race nerves these are some of my top tips:
1.Stress less about whether you’re ready or going to get that PB and enjoy the process because triathlon is bloody fun.
2.It’s all about consistency, if life gets busy but you still found a little time each day to keep ticking boxes and destress with training then you’re still on track. There’s always plenty more races if one preparation went wrong and that long term consistency through the busy times will pay off eventually if you make lifestyle changes permanent and similarly to me.
3.Sleeping well is extremely important.
4.Hydrate all day everyday (and top off your hydration with PREPD).
It doesn’t matter whether you just want to finish your first half marathon, or want to compete in an Ironman, or just simply want to do your cycling training for longer and recover faster. Completely change the way you train and race with PREPD’s unparalleled hydration. Get PREPD today and achieve your OWN goals.