The Big Dance – Kona #2

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Wow! What a journey this one was 😀.

So this week marks 1 year since I had the option to take the money and walk away from my structured work/life balance or continue on as norm.

My choice, like most, is to embrace something different, new, exciting.  Who would of thought 10 months later, I would of competed in 2 half IMs, 2 full IMs, coached an Executive to do their first IM and represent Australia in both Sunny Coast and Hawaii World Champs 🏊🚴🏃.

Reflecting on the last few weeks leading up to Kona, I am particularly grateful for my strong network of positive like minded family & friends and a great coach. This was the first race I went in to without any running endurance. I kept being reminded of my mental agility; good old fashioned “guts and ticker” attitude, which would get me over the line… not a heart rate monitor or power meter!! The penny dropped when I called Foz (coach) excited by the fact id been able to finish my longest run, 2 weeks out – how ironic given we both knew full well prep usually consists of a longer run…. Weeks out!!!!

So my goal was to smash the swim and bike and finish the marathon in a sub four hour, all of which I did with PBs all round.

Race day
The morning of the race wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. The lovely JD took PD and I to the start which was fantastic however when we got there it was carnage with arm numbering taking over 45 minutes! PD and I tried to stick together however I wished him luck  and a quick cuddle as couldn’t guarantee we’d be able to stick together – it turns out this was a good option because it was pretty manic at transition and a strong sense of anxiousness everywhere.

🏊 Swim – 1 hour 2 minutes – 12th out of 104 in AG.

Got myself in the right spot however we were entered straight after the men so it meant treading water almost 15 minutes. Some of the women were quite unsportsmanlike. I held myself well and kept relaxed yet focussed….Then BANG off I went out hard …. only after a short while in, I realised my rookie mistake – no body glide on my neck – doh! I’d done the same thing last time OK for a winter Tri but no good in 35c heat on the bike. So I pushed on and then bam – cramp in my foot- first time ever !!! So I pushed on and figured this was a good reminder to get some salt into me when I was out !!!
Pushed on and couldnt believe my time – an 8 min PB in 1 hour 2 mins – yippppeeeee.

🚴 Bike – 5 hours 49 mins – 22nd out of 104 in AG.

The goal was to stay on the aeros!!! In 2014, I had to ride Ami 🚲 sideways to keep her on the road …so as you can imagine I was wrapt to be able to fly down Hawi!!
The MTC / Fluid crowd (Lynds, Jan, Lesley, Mel, Tony & Kim) were going off on Palani and then I saw the Grummit’s so I was pretty excited from the start, using the tail wind to my advantage for the short time.
As always once you hit Waikoloa the head wind sets in and you need to stay alert. There was a crash at the aid station so it was a little wake up call as well as a reminder to layer up on the sunscreen. I was applauded by my application whilst on the bike by a fellow AGer (not an easy task whilst juggling crosswinds!!)

When I got to the bottom of Hawi, I had seen most of the pros and shouted out to Bella (the only one I recognised – unlike BC who seemed to know who was who based on their colours and bikes !!).  I got to the top of Hawi and saw BC as he was starting to descend. Only later did he tell me “here she comes but she can’t descend so I’ll be fine !!” Unbeknown to him I had some guts in me this day – no race wheels helped – and I took the descend all the way down on my aeros, chasing after him!!! Oh yeah !!!
On the way back I saw pistol and later the Agars (father, son team) along with Turia Pitt.
All was going to plan apart from some burning feet and a lost Bidon down Hawi. I saw Kimmy shout out – it was like seeing a mirage. Then team Grummit’s again which gave me a massive boost.

Before I knew it I caught up to BC – “Hello Zoe!!!” It was lovely to see his smiling face and we were on the homestretch. I then saw all the pros running out to the energy lab and a big cheer from the Coombes before hitting town which was going off !!!

🏃👟 Run – 3 hours 55 mins
Before I took off out of T2, I took time ensuring my head was in a good space. Often I get too excited and as it was really hot from no aid stations in the last 30 kms of the bike. I sat pondering then saw an ice bucket – go figure !!! I stuck my head in it and off I went !!

So the plan was to break the run down into 4 phases – only until Palani would I step it up. I saw the fluid crew down Ali’i drive – epic 👊💕🎉. It was so good to see the smiling faces of Lynds, Jan, Lesley, Kim, Mel, Tony and Donna (Brendan’s wife). I wanted to push it but wouldn’t allow myself as I wanted to save my energy for the lab! I saw BC on the way back and said hi to Pete  although it was noisy due to the Helicopters as Rinny was coming through to the finish.

When I get to Palani – everyone was walking. I was surprised and disappointed for them. There was no way I was walking. The stubbornness was coming through. I could understand due to the heat but it was an opportunity to keep running up the hill with a reward for myself at the top – to find another bucket and dunk my head in it !!
Queen K was awesome – said hi to Crowie  who was supporting And then later ran past Joey who realised it was me !!! Along with a few other friends including Meagan in my AG. We’d seen each other a lot this day and knew this wouldn’t be the last time so continued on after passing on some encouragement to her.
When I got to the energy lab I was feeling Sh!t. I wanted to throw up, my Achilles was sore and my back hurt. Funny that as it was around 26kms – the longest I’d run. Meagan ran past and offered her encouragement. I walked to special needs and prayed for something to help; it was like hitting the lottery. Voltaren and some lollies. You beauttyyyy. A quick hi to BC and told him wasn’t great but I knew I had to fight on!!!
On the way back it got cooler and I wanted to beat the sunset. I looked at my clock and knew it was doable. I didn’t stop and kept running like forest gump. I caught up to Meagan – after a little chat, she told me to go and I did. Before I knew it I was thinking of Mark Allen as I approached the last hill and I pushed on doing 430 pace!!
I flew down Palani and saw Pete Murray and gave him a, “high five”, then saw the fluid support crew and the Grummit’s and went for it !! …High fiving some of the crowd in the last few metres, I thought of Ferg and my girls and knew they would love me to do the blazeman roll which I did ❤️💕👊.

11 hours – 24 th in AG. A 45 minute PB 🎉

A massive thanks to my coach Foz (Sean Foster) – I feel lucky to call you my coach and friend. You don’t just provide a training program at fluid movements; its a second family to me and a program which provides FUN to TRAIN TO RACE 😀😘👍. Thanks Foz for believing in me and making my dreams come true. A 45 min PB – Yeah baby!!

To Peter Mack and Kim Taylor for helping me out with my accommodation in Kona, 1 week out to race day. If it wasn’t for you (with the support of my awesome Team manager, Lesley!) my experience of Kona second time round could of been very different and lonely.
It was great getting to know you girls, having some giggles and taking a step back to lap it all up.

To Jan and Peter and Brendan for so many giggles and a stress free week. Good times. Good friends. Memories for life.

To all the support crew out there on race day – Lynds, Jan, Lesley, Kim, Mel, Tony,  Donna, Erika and Rob (& mini Grummits), The Coombes. It was lovely to share the experience with you. If it wasn’t for you, my experience would of been very different and I would of been homesick (and probably wouldn’t of achieved the result I did). Thank you so much.

To all my training buddies, thanks for making this journey a ripper.
To all the athletes who got through the day with the amazing support of the volunteers.

To my physio Cory Prout, for the walk/run program and day in, day out calf raises that got me across the line 🙂

Finally and most importantly, my family – Ferg, Alyna and Molly. I love you guys so much and couldn’t do any of this without you. 
💕🏅🙏😎.

 

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70.3 Ironman World Championships – Sunshine Coast

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Fond memories of sunny coast from a previous race and made special having my family and the Fluid movements & MTCers (both athletes and support crew) here. 😝😍👯. Lots of giggles and smiling faces made this one special.
Was feeling the pressure a little though; only 4 weeks prior to this race I had started my run/walk program having had a left Achilles injury post IMOZ. The weeks leading up to this, I was mentally struggling to believe I could even finish the run -uninjured – for the big dance in Hawaii 🌴🐢🐬. Having all my friends and family around provided me with the belief and attitude to enjoy the day. ☀️🙏.
The plan : to go hard in the swim & bike and hold on at the run.

Swim 🏊 – calm and flat. Saw a turtle swim under me 🐢 – magical. 29 mins (6th out of the water).

Bike 🚴 – flat initially with a head wind back and then the hills – oh boy the climb 😬 was looking forward to seeing it and getting it out of the way! I made the right decision to use this race as a training day – (I chose not to wear race wheels or an aero helmet) and it paid off having the 2nd fastest bike split by 20 secs (2 hrs 39 mins) and 3rd off the bike in my AG. 💪🎉🎉.

Run 🏃 – started to get hot and windy (coming out of training in Melb winter!) and pushed hard in the first lap then the wind picked up on the second lap. Felt good until approx 16 kms (ironic given this was the longest I’d run since IMOZ) but I held on with the support of Ferg and the girls, Foz, JD, the Atlees, Laura, Lesley and her family amongst other friends. (1 HR 46 mins).

Lucky number 13 🎉 in AG out of 176 (119th overall female out of approx 1500) 👏🎉💪🏅.

Congratulations to all those who qualified for the Half Ironman World Championships – it’s the journey which makes it special and I was lucky to share it with a great bunch of friends. Thanks to all the spectators and volunteers who make it happen. To Cory Prout, my physio for getting my body into shape and providing me with the initial rehab and run / walk program. Sean Foster, my coach who helped me get stronger on the swim & bike and then to incorporate my run at the right time. 💪👍. The fluid / MTC training buddies 🏊🚴🏃💕🎉🍾. Lastly and most importantly The Big 4 – Team Ferg 💕💜.

Next stop – IM World Champs – Kona. 🌴🙏🐬💕☀️😎.

 

 

Ironman Australia – 1 May 2016

 

Ironman Australia race day report 💨☔️

Port Macquarie ☀️ what a sensational place for an Ironman. It had everything to offer; beautiful scenery, an honest course, great supporters and ‘four seasons in one day’ !!

The build up to this race was the smoothest by far. I had taken a package with work and was able to flex how I approached my training. I was also fortunate enough to be able to coach my first athlete, Gavin Slater who also happened to be my training buddy on the long rides.

The morning of the race, we were lucky enough to have Gavs family there to drop us off at transition. I was a little nervous than usual; partly I wanted us both to go well because we’d worked so hard and our families had sacrificed a lot to get us to the start line. The other reason was not being able to perform my usual race morning ritual !!!

We calmly sorted out our bikes and began to walk to the start line which was a good distance from T1. I’ll never forget the magnificent sunrise. I had a great feeling about the long day ahead.

We dropped our gear at the “street gear” truck and did what was needed to be done … my training buddy reassured me to take my time (how ironic I was supposed to be the one reassuring him !!) nevertheless the motto, “slow is fast” 😀😀 came into mind!
Once the deed was done, I felt the atmosphere set in and the music started to pump 🎷〰🎶. After a few nervous giggles exchanged to one another,  we said farewell !!

Swim 🏊
I took my time leaving “zone 1” pen (it was their first staggered start of the 31st IMOZ) conscious not to go out too hard as there wasn’t an opportunity to warm up !! I focussed on my stroke count and felt relatively good… “Just keep swimming” kept going through my head !! 🐬
I took a while to get into a rhythm – it was a narrow course where you had to swim between the yachts and buoys – and I didn’t feel the need to go out on my own so I hung back onto some feet and enjoyed the ride!!
The water was flat and the swim course was scenic. When I made it to the weir I walked up the steps slowly, which was pleasant as everyone seemed to be chilled unlike other races I’ve competed in.
It was after all a long day – everyone was in good spirits which was awesome 🏊💪.
58 mins (PB) 🎉(4th out of water in AG)

T1 – “slow is fast”. Applied the sunscreen and off I went on “Amy”, my bike named after Aami who paid for it after my P2 was written off.

Bike 🚴
Settled in and had a giggle on the way out – I spotted a local competitor being cheered on by his fellow team supporters. He hopped off his bike on the first hill and started doing some cheeky push ups!! This set the mood for me 😀😀.

There was so much love and support out there on the course – people everywhere. Competitors getting excited and I stuck to my plan letting them wiiiiiisssssss past me.

All was going well when I headed out onto the main road …although I’d heard stories of friends getting 3 or 4 flats so I quietly prayed 🙏 to not have to change one!! (The gods were with me this day).

The field seemed relatively spread out in the first 70 odd kms. Then it got busy and a fellow AGer smashed past me. As she went past, some guys ahead stepped up the pace and the surging was ‘on’! I could see it all from behind and I reminded myself I had plenty of time to catch her!! 😀  Then out of nowhere, the TOs appeared and sat on their wheels …waiting… Then a yellow card appeared to the chick in my AG.

It turns out I didn’t need the sunscreen, which I applied in T1 as it started to hammer it down between the 70 -90 km mark. I couldn’t see much but was looking out for Gav in between the supporters who seemed to be everywhere cheering everyone on. I then spotted him and we gave each other a hoy!!!

Before the turnaround I was waiting for the , “Matthew finders drive”. I didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t done it as part of my usual race recon 😬. As soon as I saw it coming I got prepared to just spin and get out of the saddle – it was a tough old steep hill but the spectators were amazing, shouting in your ear and ringing the cow bells.

Between 100 kms – 130 kms, I started to feel tight in the shoulders so I had to get out of my TT aero position a lot. Then the heavens opened and gave us the lot!!! Rain, cross winds and hail !!! …but it didn’t stop the supporters!! 💨☔️🌨.
The AGer who was pinged earlier smashed past me again and I stayed cool. I saw my TB again on the 2nd lap and we shouted out once again, which gave me a massive boost and allowed me to relax.
At the 145km mark, I started to feel a little light headed so remembered the no doz and necked 2!! I tried to grab a salt tablet but kept fumbling so figured better to stay on the bike than come off it!!!

5 hours 50 mins (3rd off bike)

T2 – a quick toilet stop and off I went !!!

Run 🏃
I promised myself to go out easy on the run … However as usual I got too excited 😀😀 … I felt great doing approx 4:35 pace not knowing I would pay for it a little later!!

I had a rookie mistake at 5kms where I had to stop and tie up my laces (doh ! Forgot to double tie!) All going well until approx 19 kms when my Garmin died, felt some nausea and then my chest started to feel tight. It threw me … So I decided to throw my gel flask out. I knew I wasn’t in a great place. I was struggling with my plan and needed a boost. At this stage I saw Gav and he shouted out to me which helped.

My back up plan has always been to run to the next aid station –  then walk – then start up again so I choose to do this. I got there and took everything !! Coke, watermelon, banana, ice, water..anything but a gel ! I spotted Peter Elliott (MTC buddy) who was also walking through the aid station. We had a little chat and after some words of encouragement I started to run again.

Around the 24km mark I managed to catch up to Gav and we had a few more words of encouragement. I realised how everyone was doing it tough – it was wet and the ground was slippy … I almost toppled over, rolling my ankle – it hurt but I kept moving.

The last 10kms was tough. I spotted Turia Pitt – what an inspiration 💪 💪 and my girlfriend Grace McClure. (Grace and I had spoke at the opening night with 2 other great mums, on juggling kids/IM, so we had mutual respect for one another) we’d been encouraging each other all day so when I spotted her, I told her to, “take it home”then realising I only had a few kms to go myself!!

At the finish line, I felt incredibly proud of myself. Steve Makin (MTC) had sent me a message in the morning before the race : #supermumsdontdoglowsticks so I had a chuckle to myself – I’d done it !!!

Coming across the finish line in any Ironman is a hard one to articulate. Only someone who has completed an Ironman can truly understand the europhia you feel.

Totally chuffed with another sub 11 hour Ironman & number 4 completed!!
3 hours 59 mins

3rd overall – 40-44 AG

Total time 10 hours 54 mins 😎👍💪

So to wrap up :

I feel incredibly proud of myself coming 3rd in my AG.

This was not only the first time I coached someone else to complete their first Ironman but I coached myself.

When I took on the challenge, I thought I was all over it but you don’t really know until you are out there.  I can honestly say I nailed it. I backed myself and it paid off + I qualified for the IM world championships in Kona 💪🎉.

A massive congrats to those who competed and a big thank you to everyone who supported me out there on the day (you know who you are) – it meant a lot.  Not forgetting the amazing volunteers who make it happen.

Special thanks to Cory Prout my Physio (best in the business), mumma Danae Sinclair my 🏊 swim training buddy, Gav Slater my athlete/training buddy/friend (who smashed his first IM in 12 hours 13 mins in tough conditions 💪) and to all my friends at MTC/fluid movement and the lovely Jan and Pete Dean with their ‘tough’ love support 💕 – I look forward to sharing ‘Kona’ with you Pete 💪🎉.

Finally – Team Ferg – I couldn’t do it without you 💪😘.

 

 

Geelong 70.3 IM

Geelong race day brief 😎

Swim 🏊

Goal – To get some fast feet on the way past !!

Beach start. Went out hard. 3 fast girls went past individually – Plan A, B, C went out the door pretty quickly 😳!
Plan D – Got into a rhythm, focussed on sighting and enjoyed the open water swimming.

29 minutes 💪 – 4th out the water

Ride 🚴

Goal – to do my thing and keep cool (30c)

Had to make up ground so pushed more than normal for 70.3 distance. Past 1st girl quickly then caught up to 2nd girl (grey girl!) then saw final competitor (green girl) – used her to pace, then past her on the hills (as I knew I’d done the work with my training buddy 😎👍)

Lots of surging in first lap between us. Got Windy. All 3 of us came in to town together on the first lap. Crowd was going off. Stayed calm 😎.
2nd lap got hot. Got rid of sis and grabbed water at every aid station to chuck over head, neck and arms. Felt strong on 2nd lap – checked in with self every 5 minutes – am I hot ? Thirsty ? Am I going too hard or do I feel ok ? “Uber bike” kept popping into my head 😝😀.

2 hrs 38 min – 1st off the bike

Run 🏃

Goal – run forest run and just hold on!!

Hot run – worked hard and paced easily on the 4 hills of each lap – VMO almost cramped on first hill 😳. Threw water on head every aid station and used ice. Saw green and grey girl 48 secs behind me pacing together at 6kms – they were working together to catch me 😳😎 – stayed calm. Held on to 15kms 💪.
Started to feel the heat & hills. Told mind and legs to shut up – focussed on light – had “Hall of fame” ringing in my ears.
Got to last little hill at 18 kms and green girl took me. Grey girl seemed to have died! Thought of the tan (3-4 kms to go) used crowd 🎉
Finished it off 😎👍💪

1 hr 38 mins (3rd)

Thanks to all my friends who cheered me on at race day, my Physio Cory Prout who got me back on the horse after an Achilles injury, my swim training buddy Danae Sinclair and my IM Bike/Run training buddy Gav Slater.

Happy to say I qualified for the 70.3 IM world championships in Mooloolaba 💪🎉.

Message post race from Molly :- Love you mummy go go go ❤️🚀

Ironman World Championships

Wow-wee! What an unbelievable experience! Thank you all for your messages of support – I could feel it from you all back home whilst I was out on course, it really meant a lot to me.

Hawaii was by far the most efficient, well organised and high profile race I have ever competed in, but by far the toughest. Many pundits said it was the windiest race conditions for over a decade which made the ride leg a very tricky assignment: 180km’s in steaming hot and barren lava fields with side winds trying to blow you off your bike at every opportunity. The infamous ‘Mumuku’ winds were certainly giving us their very best!!

My race plan was to swim the 3.8km at a nice even relaxed tempo and come out of the water feeling strong, it’s important that the swim leg doesn’t tax you too much as you have such a long day ahead. This is exactly what I did, and the swim was a joy with such warm water and underwater scenery (fish/coral etc) and I completed it in 1hr 9mins. Probably a 9 minutes slower than I had hoped but it was a non-wetsuit swim and there was some chop and strong currents to contend with.

The plan on the bike was to ride around about 6 hours at a good steady pace to leave plenty of petrol in the tank for what was going to be a challenging run later in the day. With incredibly strong side winds for most of the bike the challenge turned out to be more about actually hanging onto the handlebars than worrying about time!! Coming down the hill from the half way turn at Hawi was terrifying as cyclists were getting blown all over the road (some came off), it became more about survival than worrying about cadence or speed. Despite all that I finished the bike in a credible 6hrs 23mins, but most importantly felt really strong onto the run leg. Nutrition and heat management on the bike is critical, as if you don’t get this right then you are walking the marathon due to dehydration and cramping, which is no fun for the competitor or family and friends waiting for you at various points on the run leg!

I was able to get around the 42km run leg in a tick over 4 hours which was pretty much aligned with my goals. I didn’t experience any discomfort and just chipped away at it, trying to get to each drink stop spaced a mile apart to refuel and refocus. There was some lonely times when we had to run back into the lava fields over the closing 15 km’s, but with the lure of the massive crowds at the finish line and my family there waiting for me, I was able to run all the way without walking once.

Coming down Ali’I Drive to the finish line was incredible – something I cannot put into words. It gives me goose bumps just writing about it now. The culmination of so many years of hard work and focus, its fair to say I was quite emotional over the last few hundred metres when I realised the job was done.

I would like to thank the NAB for all the support they have given me in achieving this, in particular Marcus, and my own team.

If you would like to learn more about my day in Kona or triathlon in general, please let me know and I will organise a time to talk it through over a coffee. I would strongly recommend the Big Island to anyone as a holiday destination, with its picture perfect beaches and guaranteed good weather.

Thank you.

Sunshine Coast 70.3 Half Ironman World Championships

Just thought I’d share with you my news from my Half Ironman race at Sunshine Coast on Sunday 14th September. This was a 1.9km swim, 90km ride and a 21.1km run.

The purpose of this race was to practice my race strategy (nutrition, pace, hydration etc) for the big event that awaits me – The Ironman World Championships or as known in the triathlon world, “Kona”, held in 3 weeks time on the lava fields of the Big Island in Hawaii.

I came 2nd out of the water which was supposed to be a 1.9km swim (it turned out to be 2.1km!) in approx 30 mins, 5th off the 90km ride (after having cramp in my left leg the entire leg and a malfunction on the bike) in 2 hrs 34 mins but managed to have the fastest run of 1hr 35 mins overall in my age group making up 3 places to come 2nd overall,

As you can imagine, I was thrilled with 2nd in my age group (24th female overall) and qualified for the Half Ironman World Championships in Austria next year, which I turned down to give someone else the opportunity to go, as the spot rolls down.

Ive attached a couple of snaps – my photo before the race with my bike, the presentation/podium and one of myself enjoying the result, having worked out the trophy could be put to use in other ways!

I would like to thank my team for their support, Marcus for his ongoing support and NAB which continues to support me.

Next stop, the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii on Saturday 11th October. Wish me luck 🙂

Update on the road to Kona – hit by a car

Since we met in March at the Town Hall, I have been gradually building my swim, ride and run and am feeling stronger in all three disciplines, leading up to the Hawaii Ironman in October which looms large.

Throughout my triathlon career, I have been very fortunate to have not missed many training sessions due to injury, illness, or other incidents, and like to think I am relatively durable. But unfortunately one Saturday morning in May, as I was an hour into a 130km ride, I was hit by a car who didn’t give way to me on a roundabout on Beach Rd. He collected me side on without having a chance to brake so it was a substantial sort of hit. It was a pretty harrowing and scary experience, however a apart from a sore coccyx and fairly extensive bruising, I had a lucky escape as my bike took the full impact of the hit. I feel extremely lucky I didn’t suffer any more damage to my body as my bike was completely smashed up!! Fortunately I had my bike insured and have been able to source a brand new replacement bike. Not ideal 5 months out from the big day!!

To add to that a few weeks later I was ready to take on my first long 180km ride down to Sorrento on my new bike. On probably one of Melbourne’s windiest and wettest days, I was struck by cross winds and blown off my bike 80km into the ride when my wheels hit a wet white line on the road. What a way to christen it the new weapon!!! No serious injuries apart from grazing and bruises, so I got back on it and finished my ride as I needed to get back to Melbourne to get the kids off to a party!

So it’s been an eventful couple of months to date and my “Build” phase certainly has a new meaning to it!!
With 3 months until race day, I am taking the time to reflect on what I have achieved so far. We all face challenges in life whether that be professionally or personally, nothing comes easy. You can choose to give up or keep chipping away. My choice is to keep chipping away as I know this goal is worth all the challenges and setbacks, and as people say it’s more about the journey. More importantly, I am counting my blessings to have been given this opportunity of a life time.
Have a great day everyone.

Zoe will compete in the Sunshine Coast Half Ironman in approx. 9 weeks before she competes in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in 13 weeks (Saturday 11th October)