I’m known for getting my monies worth from an event and seem to be on the course for an awfully long time. At Port Mac 70.3 I finished in 8:31:47, but with a DNF because I missed the cut off due to a puncture and a long tale of woe. This time my plan was to finish within 8 hours.
My day started with a cup of coffee with coconut oil and a banana, but I couldn’t face anything else. Realised as I was sipping my coffee that I’d left my salt tablets at home!
The swim start was great. The water was a perfect temperature and we pretty much walked to the first turning buoy. Cutting across the river was pretty easy as I was expecting some current and a bit of a fight, but it was quite calm.
Made the turn “into the tide assisted waters” and nothing happened! Felt like I was going nowhere fast, which proved true when I eventually got under the bridge and it seemed like forever to get to the other side. But all said the swim was great. Lots of little grey fish, one big sting ray which gave me a big fright and noticed a few bluebottles on the bottom and prayed that their mates wouldn’t come and get me (Nikita’s face after the camp was front of mind here).
Cutting across the river at the end was a little more challenging as the tide had started to pick up, but I made it out of the water unscathed and ready for the bike.
T1 felt like a party. For a change, pretty much all of the bikes were still in transition – I’m used to arriving with one or two bikes left. For a moment I thought that we must’ve swum supremely fast. Found out after that the next wave only started 10+minutes after us! Ate half of a banana, grabbed my bike and off I went.
The first three laps on the bike were lovely. I kept a solid pace (for me). There was very little wind going out and a little head wind coming back, but this picked up steadily with each lap. It was also overcast, so nice and cool and I prayed that the good conditions would continue. I did have some issues remembering how many laps I’d done but thank goodness had started my watch at the bike start. I passed and was passed by Cameron on his trike 6 times (he was keeping count) and road with him for a while having a chat – and then he took off and left me for good.
The return lap of the last lap was just plain horrible. I’ve never hit a wall before, but that’s exactly what it felt like. I was slowing down considerably, everything hurt – my back, my bones and joints, my kidneys felt like they were on fire, my bum was no longer talking to me… and all I wanted to do was stop and cry! But then I thought that Kelly would give me a hard time, and anyway, there was no-one else out there to help me, and so on I went. I stuck to my nutrition plan throughout the bike. It had worked really well at the camp, but possibly the lack of salt tablets was the problem.
By the time I got to the dismount spot, I was feeling very wobbly on the bike, and then someone behind me nearly took me out on the dismount line – I don’t know what she was expecting me to do other than stop?
T2 was OK, but I really wasn’t feeling in any state to run. So I ate a banana, grabbed my hat and race belt with nutrition, and started to walk. About 1km out of T2, still walking, I desperately needed the loo, and was supremely thirsty! Found a loo at the first aid station (which I felt was too far away from transition). Felt a whole heap lighter better after and hit up the ice table! What a treat! Poured a couple down my front and back as per coaches’ instructions, grabbed one to go and started to run. By now it was very hot!
Basically, ran and walked to my heart rate, grabbing ice and stuffing ice down my front and back each time. Had another loo stop on the second go around, which was longer. But when I came out after the second session, the hot conditions outside felt like air-conditioning by comparison!
At the 10km mark I became aware of extreme heat and pain coming from my baby toes on both feet. Blisters from all the water sprays! Thought about quitting at the end of the second lap but came past the South Bank tent and got HUGE encouragement, and then Kelly yelling: “Could you bloody hurry up ‘cause I don’t want to be out here all bloody day!”.
The last lap felt like it took forever. It was hot and pretty lonely out there. The aid station at the turning point had run out of ice (my drink of choice) by this time, and all that was left was water which was sitting in the sun. Aid workers had also lost the will to live at this stage and just looked at me as I sauntered up. I asked if they had anything cold and someone pulled out an ice cold can of coke! Let me tell you, it was the best damn thing I’ve had in a long time. Half a glass of coke and I could’ve taken on Mr Bolt!
But eventually all good things come to an end, and I found the ‘darlings’ along the way – Joe and Mark had come out to look for me and they ran the last bit with me. I thought that by then everyone would’ve packed up and gone home, but what I found was the whole SBTC team making an arch for me! How awesome was that! Skipped/hopped over the finish line, and I was done with a time of 7:41:05. So, I achieved what I set out to do, and took some meat off my previous time.
By the time I came out of transition getting my bike, the tent was down, but the massage guy (I don’t remember his name), was happy to give me a massage under a tree! How fantastic!
The highlights: passing by all of my SBTC mates on the course and the constant encouragement from them and those that were spectating (the only positive of multiple loops of anything). And the encouragement from our rival clubs who encouraged me because I was with SBTC. And making new friends along the way!
Learnings: Keep a tub in my cupboard with all the things listed that I’ve used in training and want to use on the race eg. Salt tablets