Archive | May 2015

Ironman Australia!!

Ironman Australia was an event I targeted this year for a few reasons…..

Firstly it’s kind of my home away from home race- now living and training just out of Sydney, Port Macquarie is just a few short hours away. These days, most races involve packing the bike into the bike box, flying and hoping that the bike arrives undamaged, and then unpacking at the other end and/or dealing with any issues arisen from the awesome baggage handlers who look after our bikes oh so well! So being able to drive to Port (as boring as the drive is!) and take away the stress of flying with my precious cargo was such a treat!

Secondly I was side-lined last year watching friends racing and saw just how electric the atmosphere is, the crowd support and club spirit is truly amazing and creates such a pumped up atmosphere for those racing! And of course it’s always great fun to be out racing with those that you train day in, day out with, so training with some of the PIS guys from Penrith- it was awesome to be out on the same race course as them, and have the non-racing PIS fans dressed in their crazy costumes and screaming endless cheers of support throughout the day!

PIS supporters IMOz

Race week presented with torrential rain and extreme winds and the anticipation for the upcoming race day was building, with the unknown as to whether the crazy weather would continue and if the full race would go ahead. I trialled a small test ride the day before and left our apartment on Observatory Hill heading outbound on the bike course and came around the corner that descends slightly before Windmill Hill. The descend is fully exposed and as I came into the hill a huge crosswind caught me and blew me into the middle of the road; for the life of me I could not steer my bike back to the left side of the road. Slightly petrified I U-turned and rode back to the apartment, achieving all of a 2 minute ride and heightening my fears for the next day!

Thankfully race morning was calm and the race was all go!

The swim was a deep water start for the pros, and due to the storms the water was a lovely brown/murky colour that tasted not so nice! There were a few branch/tree/plant obstacles to negotiate along the way, as well as the weir which is crossed out and inbound. Despite the mucky water, it was calm and flat and relatively easy to navigate. I came out of the water in a tad over 53mins, a swim PB for me, so off to a very happy start!

Ironman Oz 2

The bike course was one I was looking forward to, with the tough terrain of undulations and rough road surface. I felt really good and relaxed heading out on the bike! Despite the calm conditions, my experience heading down towards Windmill Hill from the day before made me ride this section very tentatively, hanging on for dear life! After a send off from the PIS crew heading up and over Windmill Hill it was full steam ahead for the next few hours.

At the far turnaround on lap 1 I noticed a familiar sound of my rear brakes starting to rub. I say familiar, as it has happened before, and a problem that I had thought was sorted for this race; however unfortunately because of the bad weather leading in, I didn’t undertake any test rides with my race wheels on (aside from the 2min scare the s*#@ out of myself ride the day prior). As the ride proceeded, so did the brake rubbage, but there was nothing I was able to do about it, and I was still progressing forward at a reasonable pace so I just kept plugging away. I was still able to enjoy the ride and my proud moment was being able to block the issue out of my mind and not let it get me stressed and affect my morale for the rest of the race. I made it back to T2, in 4th spot. My legs were pretty stung and I took my sweet time in T2 contemplating the marathon to come.

IM Aus bike

Onto the run I eased in gradually, waiting for my run legs to appear. They never seemed to come to the party, so I used what legs I had on the day and kept on ticking off stride after stride, lap after lap. Once again the atmosphere of this race is so awesome, the line up of club tents + supporters, seeing friends both racing and supporting multiple times, having Clay out there and seeing him every lap (minus one where he decided he was allowed a break to grab a beer and burger at the pub :)) is always a sense of relief for some reason. Having Amanda from SOAS scooting from point to point yelling funny remarks to pick me up was great and Stef from Witsup is always good value to see out on course doing awesome work for us girls!

IM Aus run

Finally after ticking off the fourth lap and picking up my final lap band about 1km from the finish, I could start to relax and celebrate with the crowd on the final stretch home! A win is something I had dreamt of for this day, and to actually get to run down the finish line in first place and grab that banner was freaking awesome!

IM Aus finishIM Aus finish chute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always inspiring watching the finishers in the later parts of the night coming across the line, all of the emotions and looks of achievement are so moving! One special moment was having an athlete I coached- Belinda completing her first Ironman…. unfortunately I missed her at the finish line by 1 minute- she absolutely smashed the day and superseded my expectations- so proud of her!

A special thanks to my super supporter hubby Clay- his endless support and encouragement has been paramount to my training and racing and it’s so awesome to see that my racing has become his passion. Thanks to friends Podsey, Neil and Elaine for making the trip to be there with us as well!

Huge thanks to Team PIS for making the best support party and training buddies in the lead up to the race!

Thank you to SOAS racing for designing the best looking and most comfy kits, of course matchy matchy to the bike! 🙂

Thanks to Hammer nutrition for keeping me sufficiently fuelled for all of my training and of course during the race, I still love my trusty Perp!

Thank you to Asics and Atmosphere Fitness for the ongoing support.

Finally thanks to Darrell Nash from Nashyspix photography and Stef from Witsup for capturing the day!

 

Flashback to 2014

It has been quite some time since my last blog update, and this time I come back as a recent Ironman winner of Ironman Australia!

I’m going to break this into 2 posts- firstly a quick recap of the time that has lapsed and next my Ironman Australia experience! It is easy to fade away when the going gets tough as per my 2014 year. So zooming back a touch, after a successful start to the year of 2014, I found myself struggling to move forward after Ironman New Zealand with injury issues and decided to take a back-step from training to allow the body time to chill and recover, and focus on my career as a physiotherapist, and to learn a new speciality. I took on a role with a great company, Procare and invested the remainder of 2014 into this sector of my life. Towards the end of 2014 the opportunity arose to return to professional racing and with the support of my new employer I was able to create the perfect work/life/triathlon balance and begin working part-time from home which allowed me to invest the necessary time into slowly and steadily preparing the body to get back onto the racing scene! The Beautiful Mount Maunganui!

2015 started out with a beloved and meaningful race, the Tauranga half ironman, which doubles as the New Zealand long course champ’s. Held at the beginning of January in my hometown, beautiful Mount Maunganui, it was my first ever half ironman triathlon and one I try to return to on an annual basis. Living in Australia, Clay and I always head back for Christmas with the families, so it’s a great excuse to extend the trip by a couple of weeks to include this one on the calendar. General fitness was there, but race fitness was by no means with me, however I decided to give this one a crack anyhow! Not my flashest of races, but I came away with 2nd place behind the always impressive Gina Crawford, and kick started the year on the right foot.

It actually took a little extra time to recover from, as racing when not race fit is hard and takes it’s toll! Once the body allowed it was back to work for the next goal- Challenge Wanaka, a race I have had my eye on for a few years, but timing wise has just never worked out. Clay and I had our honeymoon in Wanaka/Queenstown back in 2009, and we just fell in love with this place. The entire South Island of New Zealand is magical, but Wanaka is truly something else, just breath takingly beautiful, a view I could never tire of. So, what better place than to race an ironman!

Wanaka BikeI was looked after by an amazing homestay couple, Glenda and Lionel, who treated me like a queen, Lionel’s cooking skills are second to none! Race day presented us with a perfect Wanaka day- calm, crystal clear waters with the gorgeous mountain backdrop, what a sight!

Swimming in Lake Wanaka was a great start to the day, getting glimpses of the sun rising beyond the mountains, taking sips of the fresh mountain water as we swum through it in the Lake, and swimming a PB IM swim, I was off to a happy start!

The ride is tough, the roads are quite dense and there are a decent amount of hills, but once again the fact that we are racing in such a stunning place helps to take most of the hurt away. I had a reasonably good ride, a pretty good representation of where my fitness levels were at and came off the bike in 3rd spot.

The run is 2 loops alongside Lake Wanaka and the Clutha River, predominantly off road and is relatively slow going, as a lot of the surface is gravel- so loose underfoot, and there is a nasty hill about 3/4 way into each loop coming back through the suburbs. It was very hard to resist the temptation of taking a detour and diving into the sparkling waters, but I managed to stay focussed and on course and enjoy the marathon. Positions stayed the same and I came across the line in 3rd once again behind Gina in 1st and Laura Siddall in 2nd….which ended up being an all SOAS podium!

The Challenge finish line was great fun, as the kids who raced well at the kids tri the previous day await the top finishers and run the final stretch with them, so it was cool crossing the finish line with a little entourage!

After my time in Wanaka, it was up to the North Island to see my family, attend a good friends wedding and have a bit of R&R and soak up more of the awesome Kiwi summer! Then once again, back to Oz and back to work for Ironman Australia!

Wanaka SOAS PodiumWanaka Run 5Wanaka Run 1

This entry was posted on May 8, 2015. 1 Comment