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 💪😘.

 

 

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.

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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