Wow…what a place! Wanaka is absolutely stunning and the Challenge Family put on a day to remember! Most people wouldn’t realise but it had actually been December 2011 since I had completed my last Ironman! Crazy I know! Ironman New Zealand became a 70.3 then the 2nd half of 2012 when I had a few planned they all ended in disaster in the back of a golf cart, ambulance or just passed out on the side of the ride due to illness. There has been some mental scarring as a result of those races and whether I would actually be able to do an Ironman again. The only way to find out was get on the start line!
I had been wanting to do Challange Wanaka for a few years however, it just never fit into the schedule. Especially after racing Ironman Western Australia. It was always too soon. But with the disruption to the season in 2012, and no IMWA, the only thing holding me back was lack of fitness 🙂 No Worries!!
Mum and I made the journey across the country from Perth to Melbourne, then onwards to Auckland for a night before finally flying into Queenstown then driving the 75 mins to Wanaka.
The location is stunning…as most places are in New Zealand! With the beautiful lake as a back drop, rolling hills, wind and trail running!
The week went quickly, although I was struggling to sleep due to the 5 hour time difference and day light saving! The sun wasn’t going down until 10pm. Something I was definitely not used to!
As a result race morning I was up way before the alarm and ready to go! After the short trip to transition I was one of the first there and everything was organised with time to spare. Considering it was quite windy and cold mum and I went back to the car to stay warm and get changed into my wetsuit!
A quick warm up to deal with the initial freezing face, hands and feet then we were off! It wasn’t long before we worked out it wasn’t going to be the cold that was an issue but the swell….in the Lake! I had a great start but unfortunately a breath the wrong way, a wave, vomit in the mouth, and I needed a quick stop to breathe again and refocus. By then I had lost feet, but I kept going solo and felt comfortable the entire way. I was glad to be only be about a minute from the ladies in front!
Onto the bike I had the arm warmers on, and began conservatively unsure about about how the body was going to respond and also well aware of how much training I had done!! The first lap I was totally enjoying myself! Nutrition was going well, the scenery was incredible, there was a strong head wind, a massive tail wind, hills, descent, rain and sun! I was holding steady with Jo, but Gina was totally dominating out in front!
Onto the second lap and I unfortunately dropped my chain halfway up a long climb. I was off quickly to fix it but getting back on and moving again was challenge. About the 140km mark I began to get a really bad stitch. I had never experience anything like it before, especially on the bike! I was unable to get into the aero position because it hurt to much to breathe! I was then about 30km from home and pushing into the head wind, but here’s me sitting up making it even harder! I was pretty frustrated but reminded myself, the goal was back to basics and to finish! I have had so many doubts over the last 12 months that this in itself would be a massive achievement!
Into T2, sitting down taking many deep breaths as I put my run shoes and fuel belt on, then it was time for the marathon. In the first few km’s I can’t believe how many negative thoughts were going through my mind…..can I do this? Will I pass out again? How much pain is this stitch going to be! Thoughts I am not used to having when I am my confident self!
I surprisingly felt better than I expected! I was loving it! And loving running! But again, I held back! Especially during the first lap, knowing I did not have the fitness in my legs and did not want any massive meltdown’s! I was concentrating on eating and drinking at every aid station and had a quick porta potty stop! I completed lap one and then like everyone else it was a matter of one foot in front of the other! After 25km it was aid station to aid station, have a bit of a walk, eat half a banana, yes you can do this….then next aid station. By 30km’s it was time to put the I-Pod in for some music to get me home! I was going to do this!
With 4km I was unfortunately passed putting me in 6th position but a quick look at my hand reminded me of the Four P’s which are my mantra’s right now! Present, Powerful, Positive, Personal! Yes Kate…this is personal, remember your own goal coming into this race and nothing else!
2km left it was down hill and I could hear the finish line! I was excited! I did it! Like my first Ironman all over again. Yes, this was the beginning!
Gina had an amazing day breaking her own course record and Jo and Candice put on a show with a sprint finish. I had my own personal victory and finally have confidence again that I can do it! It wasn’t anything special, it was even one of my slowest marathon times, but I don’t care! I did what I set out to do and now I know with a good block of training I can get myself back on the podium!
To the Challenge Family, Victoria and Felix, Thank you for making me feel so special! It is an amazing family to be a part of and I look forward to seeing you all again soon!
To my incredible sponsors Novatron, SRAM, Quarq, BlueSeventy, Churchhill Cycles, Ryders Eveywear, GU, Nuun, K-Swiss, Rolf Prima Wheels, %110 Play Harder, Super Ruth Chang, Paul Newsome and SwimSmooth, Computrainer, Rock Tape, Swish Design