i cannot believe i slept so well. i woke around 4 but managed to have another little nap before getting up at 4.45 a.m. and working through my stretching moves. i could still feel the ache in my butt but everything else felt good. i did try to eat but could only force down two bananas and one pancake. this was not enough. my gear was all organised so with ac/dc blasting from the stereo i was on my way.
parking was right next to transition so it was a two minute walk to the bike. it was still dark and it was cold but no wind. i set up transition in the dark and had a quick chat to the girls next to me. setting up was quite easy as i had been over and over in my mind what i wanted or thought i needed. it was then fantastic to see the familiar faces of silke and pip and have a quick but nervous chat to them. i was the nervous one but it was manageable. i had not freaked out - YET ! i then headed off to the port-a-loo and into the main tent to get my wetsuit on. i tried to eat a shotz bar but only managed to finish off my sports drink.
my open water swimming has pretty much sucked this season so i was crapping myself with worry but i was also looking forward to it because it is busselton and it is the jetty and well known for being one of the best open water swim locations anywhere. the course was straight out on the right side of the jetty for 850m with a short swim across and then straight back into shore. i walked across to the start and the ground was freezing cold on the feet. two waves which included the pros went before mine. i had a quick warm up and the water was chilly but not freezing. it had a bit of swell to it and was quite stirred up. i wished pip and silke good luck and we each headed off to start the journey. i was to the right and at the back. the horn sounded and it was race on. for the first few minutes i struggled to put more than three strokes together before popping my head up. self confidence is the belief in your ability to execute and i had that moment. the one when i seriously thought i cant do this. but just as quickly i remembered everything i had done and remembered to focus and breathe. with the swell it was very topsy turvy in the water. i concentrated on getting to each buoy marker and soon enough i was at the first turnaround. i was getting my rhythm the further i went and even swimming into the sun didnt slow things down. when i turned at the last buoy i was on track and picking people off and swimming past them. the only thing i was worried about was the wetsuit rash that was developing under my left arm and near my right elbow. before i knew it i was standing up and hearing the dude call my name and the time. right then i knew the day was going to be a good one. target time - 40 minutes. actual time - 39.30.
i was so excited to be on my way. the weather was perfect and had warmed up a bit with a slight wind. i took too long in transition but i will worry about that another day. the course is two laps and well known for being flat and fast and the perfect opportunity to set a pb. i was a bit hungry coming off the swim so i had a gel straight away. heading out on the first lap i settled pretty quickly and tried to get into the consistent pace i wanted to maintain over the 90k. it was quick getting out to the aid stations but then seemed to take forever to reach the turn around. i was drinking consistently and i had decided to eat my shotz bar in between the gels. strangely enough i started to feel the need to pee - this was new. it was a quick ride back in with the wind behind you but i knew payback would be coming on the second lap. while the course was busy it wasnt crowded and even though12 metres is a big gap to keep between you and other riders it was manageable. the dudes on the motorbikes were out there doing their thing. while the wind slowed you down it didnt reduce you to a snails pace or kill your legs. i spotted an empty dunny and before i knew it i was off the bike and sitting down for a much needed pee. again it was quick out to the aid station and then forever to the turn around but once in this area you were protected from the wind. at this point my feet were a non-issue. for the first time in over a month they were not burning on the bike. instead my lower back was hurting. i chose to ignore it because i knew that as soon as i got off the bike it would go away. i flew back into transition. i had been tracking my speed and i knew it was looking good. just as i dismounted i heard my name and looked up to see my brother. this was not the only thing that was totally awesome. target time - 3 hours. actual time - 2.58.51.
now for the hard part. i was stoked to see that my brother had moved quickly over to the run exit and he happily reminded me how far i had to run. my legs felt good, my feet were okay and i wanted to give it my best shot. the course is three laps of 7k and goes out along a path and along the beach and then back down geographe bay road. the advantage is you can see everyone either on the path or road. it is also great for supporters and the locals who had set up party central in their front yards. they were brilliant all day. the first lap was hard. i had started to feel like i had too much to drink and eat on the bike and i had a toilet stop on the first lap of the run and then decided to not have anything until i really felt like it. i have never been a big drinker while running anyway. as i headed back into town i started talking to denice who just happened to be running at about my pace next to me. this really took my mind off things and we stayed together for about 7k. once back into the main area i saw stuart (brother) and he cheered me on again. it seems such a short moment in time but that support really keeps you going. at an aid station denice decided to have a short walking break and i kept going. i had a gel and some water. by now my legs had started to hurt but my feet were okay and my calves felt normal. i couldnt believe i was doing it. at the end of the second lap i yelled out to stuart to make sure he got his butt over to the finish line. then batman went by on a skateboard. wtf ! wonderwoman wasnt far behind. what i remember from the last lap was me constantly talking to anyone who would listen, me telling my legs to shut up, the wonderful magic elixir that is coke and the locals amping up the music. the closer i got to the finish the faster i could feel myself running. i had mr garmin with me so i knew my pace and i knew how far i had to go. i remember realising that i was about to finish my first half marathon - the furthest i have ever run. i started what i thought was sprinting about 500 metres out. i was so excited. i didnt know my total time as mr garmin didnt have the swim and i couldnt work it out in my head because at this point i was mathematically challenged. target time - 6.00 minute pace or 2 hours 6 mins. actual time - 6.14 pace or 2.11.48.
so many thoughts go through your head. i had always imagined myself having a good cry but i was just too happy. then i was worried my photo would show a sad face because when i saw the time i forgot that it included the 35 minutes from the first wave start and i felt my smile fade. just as quickly i realised it didnt matter - i had finished and i had ran the whole way. IT WAS PRETTY AWESOME WHEN I FOUND OUT MY TIME - 5.59.47. after i was handed some water i heard stuart yell out. i remember saying to him that i couldnt believe i ran the 21k. he said he couldnt believe it. i think he was a little surprised. then i got that much awaited medal and it is beautiful. how fucking awesome. at this stage i have to say how grateful i am that my brother came along to cheer me on. he did a great job being at every crucial point and until you have been a competitor it is hard to express just how important it is. my dad did make it for the swim and bike but headed home before the run. that is a story for another day.
i was really surprised how little i saw people i knew. i saw silke heading out from T1 and then once on the bike. i saw pip fly by on the bike and she yelled out on the run - looking good as she headed for home. i saw silke again on the run and passed her about the half way point. at the end it was wonderful to see everyone finish but it was also a very personal and emotional time. in between stuffing food and drink in our mouths we madly discussed events before heading off to family and friends.
then it was all rather strange. stuart had to go so i went and packed up my gear and stayed to watch other competitors bring it home. i then decided to head back to the resort as my legs were starting to seize up but i still planned on returning for the melt down party. on the way home i bought a bottle of wine and some bath salts. after lugging all my gear up stairs i filled up the spa, poured a glass of wine, did a major fucking happy dance and never made it to the party. next time. and without a doubt i will be back next year. i totally get why people love this event and course. AWESOME.
i know people compete in 70.3 races all the time. but this was extremely important to me, it meant alot so to then achieve your goals is one fantastic and satisfying moment. i actually believe in myself now. and they say you never forget your first time.
p.s. at this stage i would also choose to do the event again rather than write this race report once more. so blogger people dont fuck it up.