Into the swing of things…

2016 has rolled around quickly, I cant believe it’s already mid-March, with the Ironman season in full swing!

A very quick recap on 2015: it started out well, with an early season podium at Challenge Wanaka, followed by my 2nd Ironman win, at Ironman Australia and rounded off mid-year with another podium at Ironman Cairns. I wrapped up these 3 big races with a mid-year break, and following that struggled to get going again! A few niggles delayed the return to racing in the second half of the year, I managed to do 2x 70.3’s but was not firing on all cylinders and then rounded off the year with an unfortunately timed sickness forced DNF at Taupo 70.3. I stayed at home in NZ for Christmas with the intentions of racing one of my favourites (home town + my first ever triathlon): the Tauranga Half Ironman at the start of Jan, but I think attempting to race Taupo 70.3 with the flu took it’s toll and I wound up fatigued and sick for a while after and then of course my old friend: sciatica reared it’s ugly head! So Christmas time actually ended up being a forced break and a holiday with family and friends! I did some no pressure long rides and easy swim sessions and that was about it for the month of December! It was actually awesome to be able to relax over Christmas for the first time in many years and enjoy time with my families, especially my favourite (and only) little niece, Meika!

Papamoa Beach

SO onto 2016, I returned back to Australia feeling a little worried about my next planned race- Ironman New Zealand, as time was quickly rolling around and I found myself 7 weeks out with no time to waste! Training was quickly into full swing and surprisingly I started responding and picked my fitness back up quickly. In hindsight I think the forced Christmas break did me wonders!

And suddenly it was time to race! First up, an iconic Australian race, that I’ve heard so much about but never raced- the Huskisson Triathlon! What an awesome event and one that I’m going to try and put on my calendar in years to come….great location and an awesome and challenging course. I came 3rd with a solid and consistent race behind Mel H and Radka, so it was a good sign leading into IMNZ 2 weeks later.

IMNZ….my 9th Ironman distance race and 2nd time racing at IMNZ. Words cannot describe how much I love Taupo, I think just being home in NZ itself I love, but Taupo is such a beautiful and relaxing place, especially with the flawless weather we were given for race week!

Lake Taupo 3

Race morning- we couldn’t have asked for more perfect conditions, the lake was a millpond, just like a big swimming pool! I lost the feet I wanted and swum the 3.8km solo which wasn’t ideal, but at least it was an easy swim in terms of sighting and knowing where to go.

As ridiculous as this sounds- this was my first IM race, racing with a plan! I usually just race by doing a swim/bike/run! I’ve recently had a power meter installed and started with a new coach- bike guru Ryan Williams, who provided me with a plan of power numbers and run pacing to stick by! The result…I let the faster girls go by on the bike, where I’d usually try to go with them and I didn’t chase and try to close gaps to the front girls, I just focussed solely on my race and rode my numbers and it was the most consistent I’ve felt on the bike in an IM race. Kudos to Ryno! It was a quick day as 5 of us went under the previous bike course record, which now belongs to uber biker Lucy, those front girls were literally motoring!

IMNZ bike

Onto the run and again I had a pacing plan, BUT my Garmin wasn’t picking up, so I just ran by feel. I floated through the first half feeling fine and in control and then the gut issues started! I’ve never before (in racing) suffered anything as such, stabbing pain, bloating, on the verge of vomiting upon taking anything in. I know it’s an Ironman and it would be unusual to get through a race without any issues, so I just took it on board and was forced to a slower pace and even had to break my no walk policy on a few occasions in an attempt to rid the stomach cramps. So the last 21km’s was pretty uncomfortable and I ran it all on plain water , BUT I still ran a PB of 4 minutes quicker, so it wasn’t all bad! And then crossed the finish line in a PB ironman time, so all in all a positive day! My PB time was only good enough for 6th place, the girls ahead of me all had incredible days and it was awesome to race such a high quality field!

IMNZ Run 2

Thanks must go out to my awesome team of supporters: SCODY (love my extremely comfy and awesome custom kit); Asics; Hammer nutrition; Ryno/3D bike fit; ROKA wetsuits; Rudy Project; Compu trainer and M5 management.

And of course the gathering of family and friends that made the trip especially to watch me race….Mum & Dad; Clay; Sherree; JB, Mardi & Meika; Matt, Kelsey & Charlie; Gav & Hannah; Robbie & Jess, Pip & Craig and Tina, and all of my old training buddies from all over NZ who were out on course racing/supporting/cheering! 🙂

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