Wow, what a whirlwind. I can’t believe how time flies. First I must apologise for the radio silence. I’m rather superstitious and I suppose I had a real fear of jinxing myself before my ‘A race’ of the season – anyways, I smashed it. Here’s how it went down.
Despite the pressure which I felt slowly mounting as the date got closer – mostly self-imposed – I stayed as calm as possible knowing that too many nerves etc wouldn’t do me any good.
I travelled to Australia arriving the Wednesday before the race (on Sunday). I had only a couple of hours time change from Thailand so had enough time to adjust and rest up after travelling – I always finds this takes way more out of you than you realise.
I was lucky enough to stay with friends on Alexandra Head. It was perfect – not too close to all the buzz but close enough to be able to get there easily on race day etc. Plus the freedom to cook etc as you please should never be underestimated!
Race day came about, and slightly frustratingly I was the last wave to go at 8.15, a whole 2 hours after the first wave of pro men had gone. This meant that not only would I most likely have to do a bit of avoiding in the swim but the wind had also picked up so we had a choppy swim and a strong wind on the bike – good for the first 20km, but challenging for the next 70km of the bike.
So off we went on the swim, the gun went and the usual mayhem ensued…luckily I’d been ready for it as early on I took a good breaststroke kick in the nose and couldn’t see for a few seconds. Nothing too phasing and I kept my arms going, eyes shut. Then I had a bit of a panic as I realised my nose might be bleeding which would attract sharks. So I swam a bit faster. I managed to get on a girls feet and stayed with her as we mazed through the water and various other age-groupers who’d set off in waves in front of us.
Onto the bike, and it felt good. I knew I wasn’t first out of the water, and that I had some catching up to do, so I did that. I came off the bike first in my age-group in a time of 2hours 32 for the 90km. There were some short sharp hills involved in the second half, and I rode completely solo.
The run started with a hill: two laps of an out and back course along the coastal road to Maroochydore (pronounced the least obvious way). There was a hill at the beginning over to Alexandra Headland which we essentially had to do four times. The last time over it was in the last 2 km of the half marathon. Suffice it to say the quads were burning by then. The temperature wasn’t too bad, although it was warming up as the day went on and ice was needed for the last lap.
The run turned out to be rather sociable, with shouts out to various friends and team-mates as I went around. You’ve got to enjoy it after all!
I crossed the finish line and saw my time in 4 hours 39 minutes, and I was unsure of whether I had won – my coach Jurgen was there waiting for me, and we waited on tenterhooks for the news to roll in.
I couldn’t believe it when my mum announced it. Everything that I had been working on and focusing on for the past year had fallen into place. By all means not a perfect race…I’m far away from that, if it even exists. But a race where everything had gone relatively smoothly, i.e no falls.
Hiccups are bound to happen, I’m still relatively new to the sport and experience is everything: I missed my bag in T1 and poorly paced the run, as usual going off to fast. But nothing drastically wrong.
I was stocked. And to top it off, my time made me second fastest age-grouper (female) of the day, and a time amongst the pros.
I have several huge thank you’s to say – firstly to Coach Jurgen Zack, who’s wisdom and reality checks got me to that line in that time. It’s all about the focus. Secondly, to my parents, who continue to support me in all this craziness, whether from across the world or by travelling across the globe to support me. Also to the amazing Leanne Southwell for keeping me calm during race week. Also to everyone for their support, especially to those who have made it to the end of this article. As they say, dedication is key 😉
Well then, back to training, planning the next few races, and more regular postings I promise.
Over and out. Stay healthy.
Eat peanut butter. And squares. And ice cream.