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. 
💕🏅🙏😎.

 

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. 🌴🙏🐬💕☀️😎.

 

 

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)

Sharing my story with nab

Themes : “Game Plan” & Goal setting, Focus, Supportive/flexible, Resilience and Perseverance

What’s your role within Shared Services here at NAB?

I am a Strategic Sourcing Partner for the Recruitment team – my role is responsible to assist the business and recruitment with sourcing external talent (once we have the approval)

When did you join the bank?

I joined nab in 2008 (6 years ago) in a job share capacity in Recruitment. Since then I have worked full time and part time. I currently work 3 days a week.

How does flexibility assist with your personal goals?

It allows me to spend time with my 2 beautiful girls,  compete in triathlons at elite level and work in a professional role at nab which I enjoy.

And what has been a recent success for you in triathlon?

Qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

What does it consist of?

It’s similar to any other Ironman – 3.8 km swim, 180km ride and 42.2 km (marathon) run except its in 80% humidity, 30c heat, cross winds and it’s set on a very baron course.

VIDEO PLAYED TO AUDIENCE

[/embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9O84Ry6axY

You have completed in two Ironman’s, whilst juggling children and work – How do you manage your time?

During the week (4-5days) I am up at 445am for a swim or bike session that lasts 1.5 hours, then to work feeling energised. I then try to squeeze in a lunchtime run around the Tan Track when work permits, then home for family time over dinner and story time. The two days I don’t work I’m focussed on family/home, sometimes training. At weekend, I will be doing a 6-7 hour training block on the bike and running (My husband also competes at a high level in triathlons so we battle for training times!!)

Why and when did you start?

I’ve always loved sport – I grew up chasing after 3 older brothers.

Reflecting on my childhood, My father ran his own printing business in Liverpool Street, London and marked my brothers as successors. For me, being the only girl, it was about getting an Education and marrying well! (How times have changed!!!).

Perhaps if I had of been given the opportunity to run the family business, I wouldn’t be the driven and determined woman I am today.

How long have you focused on qualifying for IM world champs?

Since 2010 when I trained for my first Ironman in Busselton – so 4 years ago!! For others it can take longer and some people don’t even get there so I feel very fortunate.

What keeps you going?

Exercise allows me to think clearly. Since having children, it has also re-affirmed the importance of getting the,
“me time” and triathlon provides this for me.

I have learnt that if you stretch yourself (get out of your comfort zone), your body and mind becomes conditioned. Obstacles no longer become obstacles! Eg 6 hours in the saddle or 3 hours running alone helps me make considered decisions. Years of this has allowed me to “Kaizen” my day, week, year!!

Much like NAB has a Game Plan to achieve its goal of getting back to number 1, what goals did you set ​yourself and how did you create your own Game Plan?

I set the long term goal in 2009 to qualify for Kona – I then broke down the big goal into smaller goals across the year. Its inevitable you have to realign these goals, adapt and then act to the challenges you are presented with each day.

A good analogy of this in my day to day work and the open and honest conversations I have with my people leader ; we are constantly aligning, adapting acting to deliver or provide the best possible solution for our customers.

How do you keep your focus on sticking to your Game Plan with individual challenges or distractions?

When I exercise early in the morning, it provides me with a positive mind set and sets me up for the day.

Resilience and perseverance are necessary attributes at work. How have they come into play with your own personal Ironman journey?

When I competed my first Ironman in 2010 I came 4th in my age group and I missed out on Kona by 1 place (30 second’s!). Then 4 months later, I was involved in a car accident and couldn’t even hold my 2 year old daughter. I had to align, adapt and act – I had to choose shorter distance triathlons for the next 2 years. I competed in 2012 in the Olympic Distance ITU Triathlon Championships.

Last year, I was finally ready for my second Ironman – I’d done the training and was feeling pretty strong – I pushed on with a foot injury. The night before the race, I got a virus and finished in 13th place.

What are your learning’s from this?

Always enjoy the journey along the way. Sometimes we forget to be grateful for what we have, and think too often about what we don’t have rather than what we do have.

From my experience, I have learnt life doesn’t just hand you what you want on a plate! You have to work hard for it. If you take short cuts, you will get found out.

In my view this applies to work, family, triathlons… I’ve also learnt you’re never too old to give it a go!!

How do you keep your focus on sticking to your Game Plan with individual challenges or distractions?

You just focus!!! Sometimes you have to adapt or realise the goal may be too big so break it down over time – keep it simple ! Just like we do with our customers !!! You prioritise what’s important and focus on that task at hand. ( it’s like the spinning plates – sometimes you feel like there are 20 plates spinning in the air and you’re trying to keep them all up. You have to prioritise and try to keep focussed. Some times something has to give. As long as you’re doing your best)

It’s important to have those open and honest conversations with your support networks, husband, family, friends, Manager. I see physics regularly and have a great sports masseuse to ensure I am looking after the body as well as the mind.

Its also important to remind yourself (especially mothers) to not be too hard on yourself and that includes not feeling guilty of having, “me time”.

Having a supporting team around you is obviously important here. How has NAB provided support and flexibility and what do you think people considering a flexible working arrangement could learn from your experience?

I am fortunate NAB is an employer of choice that supports flexible work arrangements, and also my manager and team are supportive of my approach. Shared Services is a wonderful area to be in with wonderful people and this is an area that really do live and breadth and support flexibility.

There is so much that can be achieved if you give yourself stretch targets both personally and professionally….and Personal achievement can have such a positive impact on your working day.

What have you learnt going into this race and what will you need to do?

I am always learning …. To prepare for Kona, I don’t now need to be the fastest triathlete on the day. I need to get out of bed to train to finish it – this will give me the mental edge I need when the alarm goes off at 4.30am and it’s freezing cold training in Melbourne’s winter.

I will organise a program with my coach and work out short term goals. I will be focussing on training under heat and working out a great nutrition plan for race day. I will also be doing a lead in race in.

What is something you can’t survive the day without?

A kiss from the kids before they go to bed each night, and my husband’s constant supply of Cadbury chocolate (he works for them).

Thank you