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 !!
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.
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 !!!
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 💪😘.