Race morning I felt good, not nervous, not excited, just ready to race. My carb loading the day before had gone well (see pics here) and felt comfortable, not too full and energy levels were high. I should have been elated about the conditions, it was cool but not freezing, the ocean was beautiful and flat, there were clear skies and no wind, but I was too focused on starting the race to soak it all in.
After I said goodbye to my support crew; hubbie, kids, parents, MIL and best mates, (so lucky to have so many people to share the day with) I was down onto the beach getting ready for my wave start when I met up with a few clients in my wave. It was great to see some familiar faces and receive some friendly words of encouragement. Running a business, working at WAIS and looking after a four and a six year old meant that most training was done on my own, when I could fit it in. Training with a club just wasn’t feasible with my time constraints and long rides were completed with one or two good mates. You would think then that it would be a bit of a lonely day, not having a tri club or team mates completing the race with you, but that’s where the tri community really step up, more about that later.
The swim was perfect, my goals were to race 35 to 40 minutes, spot the buoys well and keep good form. The conditions made this super easy to achieve, I had no problems spotting buoys and for once had no problem sighting the swim finish, and was able to power right up to beach without wondering if I heading off course. Swim completed in 35:00 #ace
Into transition and after a slight disagreement with my wetsuit I was off on the bike and racing. My goal was to ride 3 to 3:30, 30-32 km/h and really push it when I could. It was as I was riding along Geographe Bay Rd with the sun shining from clear blue skies without a breath of wind and no chill to speak of, that I realised how awesome the conditions actually were. I was really worried about a flat on the bike, or anything mechanical really, so I focused on just finishing one lap at a time and not thinking about what lay ahead. My ultimate goal was to do less than 3 hours however I tried not to think about that as anything could happen on the ride.
Nutrition however was perfect, drinking every 10 minutes and eating every 20 minutes. People laugh when I tell them I have vegemite sandwiches (yes, plural), a fruit bar and a gel on the ride but that’s what suits me. I don’t get hungry, I feel fine on the run and my energy levels are good, so that’s what I stick to. Fluids wise I did pretty well, I always find no matter how much I drink my bidons never seem to empty, but I got through my bidons of Bindi (apple crush) by the time I finished my last lap.
What got me on the ride was the support from everyone. I lost count of the number of riders who shouted some words of encouragement as they rode past. It totally didn’t matter that they were overtaking me (I was riding at my goal speed each time), so many people took time out of their race to cheer me on and that rocks! The ride went so well that it didn’t even matter that I got “Let it go” stuck in my head for the entire ride. (Don’t know it? Google Frozen/let it go… or ask any 6 year old…they’ll fill you in..) Before I knew it I was slipping out of my shoes and getting ready to dismount, still feeling full of energy and no niggles. Ride finished in 2:59:30. #GOLD
Into transition again and to shouts of “GRRRR – you’re a tiger!!” from my bestie (read about it here) I got my gel flask and cola flask into my tri top pockets, shoes on and was off to smash out 3 * 7km laps.
The run was tough, I had done quite a few bricks with the biggest a 100km ride with a 10km run plus plenty of long runs, so I was confident I could achieve my set goal of 2 to 2:15 for this leg but my legs changed their mind on the second half of the first lap. I kept telling myself it would go away and funnily enough it did, however the pain would return every time I turned around to head back into Busso but would always disappear once I hit club alley. Go figure. My first lap was complete in 40:49 which was bang on target. After this though it became a huge struggle to keep up the pace. I started to set tiny goals sticking to the pace I needed to.. just get to the tree, get to the tree, get to the tree…now get to the aid station, get to the aid station, get to the aid station.. which managed to keep my pace just on what I wanted, if not a little below. Thankfully, the conditions changed from sunny to overcast, ideal for me as I don’t run well in the sun, really, I couldn’t ask for more?!
Nutrition was going ok, 1/2 Shotz cappucino gel every 3.5km and sips of cola or water at each aid station, plus a bit from the cola flask in my pocket in between. Guts were feeling ok but not as good as in training. Since this was only my third actual triathlon (Rockingham Sprint and Women’s Tri were completed earlier in 2014) I figured this was to be expected and slowed down the volume of fluid, but not the frequency, which worked well. The cappucino gels are the bomb btw, if you have your carbohydrate and fluid intake sorted, adding the extra caffeine should be to your benefit. (Speak to your friendly Accredited Sports Dietitian for more expert advice though).
What got me to the finish line as my legs really started to pack it in was the cheers of support. Again, other people racing took time out to give me a shout or even some quick tips as they ran past me or were going in the opposite direction, add to this my personal support crew who were cheering me on up one end and got me pumped to get started on the next lap, plus Raf and the Running Centre crew were placed just past the turn around (always made sure I pulled up tall when I approached them..so thanks for that guys!), the dude in the gorilla suit playing the drums (thanks for the Greenday, nice little flaskback there) and then club alley with the pumping tunes was amazing.
Finally, as I ran up Geographe bay road for the last time, I had 3 goals to achieve, enjoy the finish chute, finish the race and finish the race in <6 hours. I was never happier to see that finish chute and know that I had raced at absolutely 100% and that everything had gone to plan in perfect conditions. I powered down the chute, high fiving everyone, spotting my hubbie, my kids, my best mates and heard my name called out as I crossed the finish line. My first Ironman 70.3 finished in 5:50:58. Swim 35:00, Ride 2:59:30 and Run 2:11:40. #stoked!
Thank you to my family, friends, clients and all the spectators for all your support, to Triathlon WA and Trievents for another fantastic event, to Chris and Rach, my riding buddies who rode many a km every Sunday with me, and to Churchill cycles, TRC, Delacy Swimming, Ascend Physio and Brian K at efs for all the expert advice, I couldn’t have done this without you.
Congratulations also to our nutrition works team, Felicity, Rach and Emily who had a great day!
I hope everyone else had just as good a day, thanks for reading and look forward to cheering on everyone at Mandurah 70.3