i really have no idea where i begin this report. it was two weeks ago but feels like forever. i will just say now that i am disappointed with my result and yet i have no reason to be. at the time you feel you are making the right decisions and giving it your very best but it changes once you are done. the fact that i am disappointed shows that i have lost perspective. people say it is a huge achievement just to finish and you should be happy but that is bullshit. you do your first ironman to finish and your second to go faster. i wanted my third to be on a hard and challenging course (which it was) but i wanted to have a good result as well. i wanted to be able to handle whatever it threw at me and i dont think i did that.
tuesday i dropt the bike off at the local trek dealer so they could check everything and i then headed off to the local supermarket to get supplies for the week. after picking up the bike i headed out for a 30 min run. this was to be a test to really see how the legs felt. last year at busselton this run felt awesome. this time it just felt okay. my back was stiff but i was doing my exercises twice a day and knew this would improve. my elbow (which had been a nagging problem for quite awhile) was really playing up and i was worried. but what was also very strange my knee did not feel good. i was trying all the tricks and i just had to hope these niggles would go away on race day.
early wednesday i headed out on the bike and it did not feel right. the tri bars were off and the gears were not smooth. i rode down cook highway and started testing the gears. then the chain came off and got stuck between the brake. luckily a guy stopped and worked it out and i rode back. i put the bike in the car before heading back to the bike shop. the guy was extremely helpful and sorted it out and also found where the tri bars were out. they had obviously been knocked during the flight and it was just the smallest variance but it felt like a massive shift. so i went away happy that my bike was back to normal. i wasnt going to come all this way and not finish because of a bike problem.
|I am behind the girl in bright orange.|
|They had the brightest swim buoys.|
friday was a rest day from anything swim-bike-run. i had arranged with tim and rae to pick them up and drive the bike course up to port douglas. so after a nice sleep in that is just what i did. once in port douglas we did a walk around and had some lunch. it is a nice little tourist town and very much like dunsborough. i was pretty knackered by the time i dropt tim and rae back in cairns and i headed home. i had a power nap before a shower and heading back into cairns and to the welcome dinner. the food was pretty good and sat at a table with daniel and a friend of his. i enjoyed the presentation and the speech by sharni and john mcclean was beyond inspirational. amazing, amazing people. actually the best welcome dinner i have attended. i was happy to go home to sleep though.
up early saturday and a final ride and check of the bike. everything was perfect so i polished and cleaned it with a final check of the repair kit. headed out to the shops for some last minute supplies and then it was just about putting together all my gear for the bike and run bags.
compared to last year at busselton i slept really well. i had decided that rather than get up at 3 am to drive to cairns just to catch a bus back up to palm cove i would drive directly to palm cove at 5.30 am and sort out a taxi after the race. from the moment i walked out the door the whole day just seems completely surreal. i was also totally unprepared. busselton is an easy race. not only the flat course but just the logistics of transition and the finish area. at busselton i parked 100 metres away from transition. this alone gives you much less to worry about. i looked at the weatherzone radar before i walked out the door and i have never seen it where all you can see is green. there was no brown at all. all anyone had been worried about was the day being windy and hot. instead it was going to be wet and cold and i was unprepared and could not do anything about it. sure rain had been predicted but only the odd shower. the only consolation was that i would not be the only one out there. and to start i had no umbrella and no wet weather gear.
confronting drive in the rain to transition. it was still dark. the race doesnt start until 7.55 am because sunrise isnt until 7 am and the 70.3 race goes first. the walk towards transition from the car park was miserable. the ground had already turned to mud. they do not have lawn in cairns but a ground cover that just disappears and is replaced by mud when it rains. i was at somewhat of a loss as to what to do so i just headed to the bike and dropt off my drinks and food. there was no cover at all so i managed to find a section of tent to stand under and think what to do. then daniel came along and he was feeling the same as me. he had his family with him and decided he was going to find a spot and get his wetsuit on. it would probably be warmer that way but how to do it without get mud everywhere. i decided to walk further down to the swim start and see what i could find which turned out to be a good move as i found a hotel lobby that had a large number of other people seeking refuge. i managed to find a toilet and then decided it was time to get the wetsuit on. at this stage i also did not bring enough to drink with me and had to wash down some cliff bloks. i walked back up to drop off my gear bag and special needs. then all i had was goggles and cap and thongs on my feet. i walked down to the swim start.
Cairns 2014 Swim Highlights
|This is how bad it got.|
the first part of the ride was nerve racking. they had covered the cobble stone speed humps with black rubber so as you went over them you could feel your back wheel sliding out. a lot of people were losing bottles and gear from their bike. i just wanted to get out onto the road so i could get this thing done. i didnt know how i was going to do it and all i could think was it was going to be a long day.
|Heading out from transition.|
after riding over rex's lookout the first time and hitting the flats i really upped the pace. things were very wet and a bit cold and i couldnt see shit because my glasses dont have wipers and since they are prescription taking them off was not an option. i wiped them down every now and then and that was enough to get by. the only plus with the rain was that the wind was staying away. if it got windy then it would truly be a miserable day. i like how the ride goes up to port douglas as you have something to look forward to. sadly with the weather there were not as many people around. but those who were it was a fantastic effort to stay out in those conditions. the volunteers were amazing. i ate really well on the bike but again my downfall was not drinking enough. the weather did not help and the high 5 mix on the course was so diluted it didnt taste anything like mine. this probably explains why i felt as bad as i did later on. another big lesson learned. however i did manage to pee on the bike for the first time ever and trust me i only did this because it was raining. the hilly section of the course never bothered me and actually broke up the ride. once back in port douglas again i could now just focus on riding from there back down to cairns and i needed to only get over the hilly part one more time and i would be relatively safe. it was a lonely ride back. the field was quite spread out at this point and once past the turn around you no longer had any riders coming the other way.
|my face says it all.|
i saw the sharn team one more time and they were making their way back up rex's lookout. AMAZING EFFORT.
once i hit the flats after ellis beach the wind picked up big time and the rain and so did the people sitting off my back wheel. seriously guys are you not embarrassed drafting off a chick ? i knew i had to ignore them and concentrate. that last 20k was the hardest i have ever worked on a bike. i was cold and my legs felt like they were starting to cramp. i had felt it when coasting on the downhills but at least now you had to keep moving. ironman coach said that the race would be a test of your training and if that is the case then my training on the bike paid off - especially in this last section. and funnily enough it is all because of a little game i play with myself in the last 15k of every long ride. who knew.
as you head back into cairns you turn off at yorkeys knob to take some back roads similar to the run course from last year. i was very happy to reach the esplanade and to know that i was only going to be a minute or two over six hours (6.01.52). this was an excellent ride and 4th in my age group. i had actually moved down to fifth spot overall as one girl was quicker in T1. if this doesnt motive me to stop fucking around in transition then nothing will. when i first got off the bike i felt okay but i then headed into the porto loo and this is where things went very strange.
transition here was also a mud pit and the porto looo was not stable. as i got in it started swaying and after that i did not feel right. i sat down in transition and all i could think about was coach ironman telling me not to waste time by trying to avoid heading out onto the run. i was meant to get my socks and shoes on and head straight out. instead i was jibbering shit to the volunteer. who knows what i said. something about not being able to see and the rain. the fucking never ending rain. i poured water on my feet to clean them off and managed to get my compression on and my socks and shoes. the dizziness had improved and so i headed out into the rain again. but from the very beginning i knew it was going to be a long day. i hoped that it was just that initial transition to running but deep down i knew it was more than that. the course is three laps and there were some sections with lots of people and other parts that were just miserable lonely affairs. the positive i can take away is that i did keep running and only walked at the aid stations and i had 3 toilet stops - the last one of which i had a really good pee and things felt much better. i just wasnt running very fast. i did feel better running than i did walking so this was motivating. at the beginning of the third lap i did a time check and knew that i was very close to coming in under 13 hours which was my goal. i had a very tough time around the 27-32k mark. but i kept going even though i really wanted to stop. it was still raining and i was trying to avoid all the major puddles and mud piles and because of this my feet stayed relatively dry. i couldnt see crap through my sunnies and some parts of the course were poorly lit. so thinking on my feet i took the tinted lenses out and stuck them in my back pockets - along with the chamois cream i still had and never had to use. so it may have looked strange with just my clear prescription inserts but at least i could see. i saw tim and rae and daniel on the run course and it was great to know they had all made it through. i also saw pete on the lonely part of the course and he was doing it tough so i walked a few hundred metres with him.
|Only on my first lap.|
the last 3k were the hardest i have ever run. you think you are running fast and i guess compared to some parts of the marathon you are but it feels like you are putting in a sprint effort. the finish line could not come quick enough and it wasnt until i reached the end of the esplanade that the pain was forgotten. what i learnt here was that i could run 42k when i felt like shit. i couldnt believe my wet and cold day was about to end. my first two ironmans i do not really recall the guy yelling out my name and saying ' you are an ironman' !. i always felt like i didnt really get to enjoy the experience so this time i was going to enjoy it. i took my time running down the finish, there was some fist punching and then i did a bit of an aeroplane and high fived a lot of people i could not even see because of the blinding light they had set up. however i did hear pete murray yellout my name and yes i am an ironman !!!!! a three peat ironman.
my run time sucked. it is not my worse effort but i feel like i let a good result slip through my fingers. my finish time of
13.01.47 was just short of my goal. i had many opportunities that could have made the difference. but that is ironman. i will finish the wrap up blog in the next few days. even with my hideous 5.20 run i managed to finish sixth in may age group. my run was 11th in my age group so my swim and bike gave me quite the buffer.