I had always wanted to try a double of some sort, back to back Ironman’s or Half Ironman’s. But I never thought it would be an Ironman in Taiwan followed by a 70.3 in Busselton. However, once we heard about the first Challenge Ironman event in Taiwan we didn’t want to miss it…plus I am not going to miss my home town race of Busseton 70.3. The challenge was set!
Guy and I sat down and had a plan for post Ironman Challenge Taiwan. From as soon as we crossed the finish line until the start of Busselton 70.3. We lived in our 110% Play Harder Compression gear constantly day and night. Throughout the day we were also adding Ice for 20 mins at a time. Unfortunately there was a full days travel on the Monday from Taipei to Hong Kong then Hong Kong to Perth. By the time we got home it was after midnight. We were very tired….and sore!
Tuesday and Wednesday were days of plenty of sleep, massage, a couple of 30min spins on the Computrainer, A few kilometres in the pool and copious hours in our Recovery Pumps and Compression gear.
Thursday morning we were on our way south with a stop at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar for a school visit to 50 students on Triathlon and why they should have a go!! Once we arrived in Busselton Guy and I met up with Peter McKenzie for a swim with his group in the pool as there were severe weather warnings for the rest of the day….and they weren’t wrong about that!
Later that night the Chat with the Pro’s was held at the Fat Duck and it was great to see the turn out. The casual atmosphere was ideal for everyone and there were some entertaining questions coming from the audience!
Mum and dad had arrived while we were involved in the “Chat” so we met them for dinner at Samvor and were looking forward to getting another nights sleep.
By Friday I had yet to run and was still feeling a little tired. But honestly was quite relaxed because I had no idea what to expect. I guess I also had in the back of my mind, that if the day went pear shaped, at least I had a pretty good excuse for it. I was confident I could probably swim and bike okay….but the run was going to be a different story!
We were up early the day before the race to join some of the other Pro’s at the charity breakfast! Marc Simpkins is running from Albany to Cottesloe, more than 400km to raise money for The Centre for Cerebral Palsy.
From there it was Pro Press Conference, Guy had swim with the Pro’s, registration, then eventually by mid afternoon we returned to our apartment for some legs up time, lunch and a little spin again on the computrainer due to the conditions outside.
A few hours later we were back down to the transition area for race briefing and bike check in. By now the place was buzzing! The locals had all arrived and it was impossible to go anywhere and not see anyone you know, stop for a chat and catch up on all the gossip! Another reason I love racing at home!
Before it got dark I had time to put the running shoes on and Guy and I went for a 15 min jog. I was a bit hesitate but felt not so bad. I was thinking at worst hopefully I could hold a descent Ironman Pace for the run. But going quicker than that??? I guess we would just have to wait and see!!
Mum had been slaving away in the kitchen and an early dinner was ready by the time we returned. Home cooked is always the best! Guy was still super tired and was in bed by just after 7pm!! I joined him about an hour later. Now, normally there would be no sleep for me a night before a race. you would think after all the years I have been racing that I could just sleep. But no! Actually sometimes I feel that it is getting worse! On average I would be lucky to get 2 -3 hours sleep the night before. But this time I struck it rich with at least 6 hours! I was excited and ready to race….but I was not going in with any expectations like I normally would and was just looking forward to having lots of fun out there!!
Race Morning…a descent 4.30am wake up call (only 10 mins earlier than we get up for swim training during the week so it didn’t seem that bad!) and we were all organised and ready in the car early!! (yes, that right folks…Guy was actually ready early!!)
Tyres pumped up, gear laid out, we even had a chance for a warm up jog and stretch. Relaxed and ready to go!
Thankfully for me it was a waist deep start for the swim. I prefer deep water starts the most and beach starts the least so at least I was somewhere in between for this one! There were laughs, waves and a kiss with Guy before the start. Then we were off!
I felt fine for the first 100-200m. I was thinking to myself…this may be okay. But then all of a sudden “boom!!” I had nothing! I was struggling….oh no….so soon! This is going to be a long day! I found myself totally on my own and then a small lapse in concentration and I was making the right hand turn around the wrong buoy!! Back I went and continued heading in the right direction! It was a long swim for me!! I ran out fast to try and make up some time….and was happy with my swim to bike transition for a change!
Onto the bike I got myself organised took in some of my GU nutrition then got the self talk going! “Okay…you had a bad swim, you body felt terrible, forget it, move on and lets have an awesome ride!! Be strong the entire way, stay focused…it is only half the distance you had to ride last weekend!!” So I went to work!
I felt great on the bike! Strong the entire ride! There may have been another gear I could have tapped into, but honestly I was scared about the run and if I would have any run legs at all! I had ridden myself into 3rd position with Liz and Lisa only a short way up the road I was happy with how things had advanced since the swim!
Into T2, a deep breath, and out onto the run! I usually run with my Garmin but today I had opted for just a good old stop watch! I didn’t want to know my pace at all, just run! Time to focus on my technique, high cadence and breathing! My last few short course races about 5km into the run I seem to always get a stitch. Causing me a lot of discomfort and as a result I end up having to slow my pace down. Thanks to Jody Brownley from Kalgoorlie and her good friend and Australian Marathon runner Lauren Shelley they gave me a few key points while I am running to work on, including my right arm which seems to cross over the centre of my body. By focusing on keeping it more in line it seems I can keep the stitch away!
The run in Busselton is 3 laps of 7km so it is very easy to break down! The first 3.5km out I saw mum and dad near the turn around with mum yelling and reminding me to keep my arms swinging forward and back. It wasn’t long after that I saw Guy running the other direction and he yelled out to me! Heading back into the transition area for the first time I was feeling as Meredith Kessler would put it “comfortable being uncomfortable!” Yes, I was pushing hard, and in the back of my head was “how long can I keep this up for!” “When is the big “Kaboom” going to happen”! Just keep going!!
Around 7km I passed Lisa who unfortunately had received a 4min penalty and found myself in 2nd. I knew the next 7km was going to be tough. I continued to focus on my cadence, technique and aid station to aid station. Not once thinking I would be able to stay in that position! The girls behind were running fast…and Anna was closing the gap!
I came up along side friend Gary for the next 3-4km and we pushed each other heading back towards the finish line for the 2nd time. Unfortunately an injury he had caused him to slow down. I kept pushing on, excited, with only 7km to go!
At the last turn around with only 3.5km left I still had 2 mins on Anna in 3rd and Liz and put the hammer down to extend her lead to over 3 minutes! This was the first time I thought “wow…maybe I can do this!”
One aid station to go, then the awesome part of the run where all the local clubs are set up cheering and having a party all day! Then finally the finish line!
I honestly could not believe it! What a day! I would never have thought I could finish 2nd after an Ironman 6 days ago! After how the day started, it was a pleasant reminder that “Anything is Possible”!
Congratulations to Liz on her victory and Anna on her 3rd place and storming on the run! Also special mention to friend Rachael Smith who posted the fastest time overall – an amazing athlete!
On a personal note special mention to the incredible team I work with! My CEEPO was flying on the weekend with my Rolf Prima Wheels and I ended up with the 2nd fastest bike split! SRAM, Quarq, Profile Design, ISM and Churchill Cycles completed the speed machine! BlueSeventy, Ryders Eveywear, GU, %110 Play Harder, Super Ruth Chang, Paul Newsome and SwimSmooth, Computrainer, Rock Tape, Swish Design and Mark Eden! Ash, Halyley and the entire team at TWA…we have something special out West and it is all because of you guys!
Off course Mum and Dad – the journey is amazing! Thanks for being there every step of the way!
Guy – I know at about 10km into the run last Saturday he hated me :-)! But he still managed to yell encouragement every chance there was and I couldn’t wait to see him at the finish line. I love sharing this adventure with you xx
It has been a big couple of weeks and you all played a part in helping me to achieve 2 podiums in 7 days!
Now I am back in Boise enjoying a little R and R before hitting the trails and getting back into what I love!
See you at the races again soon!