I felt so calm and confident for this race, I had improved so much over the last year, and this was going to be awesome!
I walked from the hotel to the swim start, jamming to some tunes. Checked my stuff in transition as I sang along to Flo Rida, got my morning pep talk from Eminem and had Mick Jagger cheering me on for my warm up, I was Ready to Rock n roll!!
The swim started, I ran into the water with the same grace and awesomeness of a Baywatch star. I may have even done a hair flick although you wouldn’t have seen this because I ran into the water so fast and also because I was wearing a swim cap.
I didn't fear the cold one bit, part because of the warm up swim the day before and mostly because I needed a pee,
I’m not the greatest swimmer so thinking of it as a 1.9km course is kind of daunting so I always break the swim up by buoys in my mind. I tell myself focus on the first 200m and then take it bit by bit.
My mind keeps repeating similar things over and over again.
Just keep swimming Just keep swimming
Okay blow out some bubbles...
ooo look bubbles
Jeez I'm swimming fast
I'll be bleak if I see a shark
I'll swim faster than the shark
Flip this swim is taking forever
Aaah I'm swimming sooo sloooow
Am I even swimming in the right direction!?
Just keep swimming Just keep swimming.
I really felt like I was having the best swim of my life. I put my head down and just kept going. Until I stopped to take note of where I was and realized that I had swum waaaaay off course :/
I would have told the group of people swimming around me that they were swimming in the wrong direction but they seemed so focused so I decided not to disturb them. I corrected my course and swam as hard as I could back to the buoys and to the finish of the swim.
Despite going off course I’m really happy with my swim. Swimming is something I had feared so being able to power through without any feelings of anxiety was a huge milestone for me.
Out the water and onto the beach. I felt like I was storming Normandy, stopping only to give a slight pose for the photographer. I felt energized coming out of the water and did my first hill sprint of the day going from the beach to transition.
Transitions are still something I need to work on, I have a tendency to talk to the people around me… but I cut my time down from 15 mins in 2015 to 7 mins in 2016! Next year will be sub 4 for sure
My bike started out fast and furious. The wet road and rainy conditions made me a bit nervous but once I got into a good rhythm I was happy… Until the sensor for my monitor stopped working so from then on I had to guage my speed by how I felt.
With my hair blowing in the wind and some serious peddling going down I was making good time on the course until my lower back started cramping. I tried to ignore it and push through but it got worse so I got off the bike, did some stretches and carried on. At the turnaround point I got off to stretch out my lower back again and have some snacks.
I had some serious time to make up as it took me 2 hours to get to the turnaround.
On the way back I cycled my butt off, I flew to the 60km point and then my back started cramping again so I pushed it away in my mind and tried to focus on the ride but had to stop and stretch out again at the 72km point. The last 18kms were a huge struggle, I had slowed down dramatically and each pedal was a battle. I just kept telling myself to keep moving forward, don’t think just go, slow down if you have to but get into a rhythm and stick with it.
At transition I snacked up, put on some sunscreen and started running.
My legs were happy to be off the bike and got into a good pace up until the first hill where my quads started cramping so I decided to walk a bit… by a bit I mean I walked the whole hill up to the aid station.
Then like a knight in shining armor Jess ran past me and I thought to myself I’m going to keep up for as long as I can. We kept a solid pace up bunkers and all the way around the far end of the course. I held on up until the Wimpy where she ran ahead to finish 2nd place in her age group and I hobbled on for my 2nd lap.
The 2nd lap of the walk… I mean run was a bit slow. I landed up doing a lot more walking then I should have and drinking lots of coke. Eventually at the turn around point I found it in me to start running again properly, which I did until the finish.
Although Ironman 70.3 is a massive physical feat to contend with, it is the mental challenge that I found myself fighting the most on Sunday.
The sport is a rollercoaster of emotion. The thoughts in your head when are on the swim, the bike and the run are completely different. Going from the one to the other brings a slight relief but it brings a whole new world of pain and power.
The thoughts in your head when you are standing at the start line, to when you are standing on the finish are completely changed. Your thoughts about yourself and what you are capable of are different at the start and finish of the race.
Crossing the line I was more relieved than anything else. I found this to be a hard day out. For me this felt like a challenge of survival where originally I came to finish strong by the end I was happy just to finish.
Compared to last year, I killed it! From 7:32 to 6:42. Compared to what I believe I’m capable of I fell short of the mark and left the race feeling disappointed.
If there is no disappointment there is no love. Which is why I am thankful for this disappointment.
Triathlons are hard and to do well you need to put in hard work. Being disappointed once in a while isn’t a bad thing, it grounds you and makes you realize that this is not a sport of smooth sailing and continuous PRs/PBs just for attending. If it weren’t hard we wouldn’t be doing it. If it weren’t hard it wouldn’t attract the amazing quality of people that I get to surround myself with at training everyday. Not achieving the result that I wanted reminded me of all of this. It was a kick in the ass that exposed my weaknesses and flaws, which showed me I have plenty of work to do. I’m walking (limping?) way from this race energized and determined to become stronger, leaner and faster. I may not be achieving what I want to at the moment but I’m a step closer than yesterday and with a continuous effort and the awesome guidance from coach and the team I know I’ll get there, even if it currently seems far away and out of reach.