The Big Dance – Kona #2

image

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. 
💕🏅🙏😎.

 

70.3 Ironman World Championships – Sunshine Coast

image

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 💪😘.