Ironman New Zealand is a special place for me! It was back in 2008 that I had my first break though Pro Performance and from that day I believed I had what it takes to win an Ironman! Granted..there have been many ups and downs since then, but I love heading back to Taupo and with the event celebrating 30 years in 2014, I wasn’t going to miss it.
The week leading into the Ironman was magical! It was the best weather I had ever experience in Taupo! Not a drop of rain! The sun was shining, there was a little wind, it was gorgeous weather compared to the previous four times I had been there!
For the first time in a while I was actually being realistic with myself and knew I had limited preparation for Ironman New Zealand after having a good break in December so wasn’t expecting any miracles on race day. So why race…?? Because I love it! I love #IMNZ and I saw it as an opportunity to see where the fitness was at and progress from there. I am sure you hear athletes talking about Goal Races each year, A, B or C. Well, I have at this stage two A Races planned, the rest are opportunities for me to improve as an athlete, experiment with different things and enjoy doing it at the same time!
The night before a race never changes….no matter how many I do…I can’t sleep! But at least now I am used to the fact and just deal with it! I don’t stress about it like I used to.
Ruth, Guy and I were well organised and thanks to Ben Marshal from Bicycle Performance Tuning our Ceepo’s were race ready! Before we knew it, we were saying our goodbyes and good lucks! See you at the finish line!
I was very happy to hear the Pro Men and Women were going to be given a separate start. I believe it makes the race a lot fairer. We lined up and 60 secs after Guy had started we were off!
I had an okay start, choosing the far left where Gina was also. She cut straight across towards the front and I tried to hang on as long as possible. Unfortunately I dropped off but got on some other feet for the next few hundred metres but they were going a little slow for me. I went around only to find out they had dropped from the 2 girls in front of them. It was then a solo swim for the remaining 3500m. I had to stay focused…one buoy to the next, concentrating on arm turn over and technique. I kept those girls in my sights and turning the last buoy heading into shore I had closed the gap. (I allowed myself a little internal high five)
Onto the bike and it was a little bit chilly for the first 45km! So cold that I was unable to grab the water bottles off my bike! Thankfully I had my Magic Profile Bullet attached to the front, so I could still keep my fluid intake up until my fingers defrosted. I focused on my nutrition throughout the entire bike and even threw in a few extra banana’s to top up the stores before the marathon. I didn’t burn any matches on the ride and was looking forward to getting on the run!
Coming into T2 is also pretty amazing with the crowds in the centre of Taupo and the first little loop I saw so many familiar faces, including mum. As I headed out for my first of 3 x 14km loops I saw Guy coming back into town. The goal – not let him catch me! 🙂 I felt better than I expected on the first lap and was running completely on feel. I had a few issues with my watch and decided just to forget about it! There is hardly any section of the course without crowd support so it is easy to keep your head in the game! I decided to put my blinkers on….stay focused on me, my nutrition and how I felt.
After lap 2…I made the turn to head back out and saw Guy coming in to finish! I went across to congratulate him then continued on for the last lap. The wheels fell off in the last lap, but it wasn’t a massive explosion or anything like that. I was able to keep going, take a quick walk through some aid stations and actually take it all in! The run is stunning around the Lake, Jo Lawn was one of the biggest cheer squads out there and it was surreal seeing her on the sidelines! The cheers and congratulations seem to go for the entire last 1km towards the finish line. I came 6th out of the water, 6th off the bike and finished 6th in the end! A pretty consistent day!
I saw Ruth heading out on her 2nd lap as I finished and couldn’t wait to get a bit cleaned up and go out and cheer her on!
Meredith, Gina and Candice were exceptional up front and put on an incredible display.
In the end I was happy with how my race went, it is early days….with a big year of racing planned. Some valuable fitness is banked. Yes, I am a little sore and tired, but I am already excited about the next one!
A big thanks to the incredible support team I am surrounded with! Ceepo, Rolf Prima Wheels, Coeur Sports, Challenge Tyres, Profile Design, ISM, Ryders Eyewear, BlueSeventy and SwimSmooth. Churchill Cycles, Tri Town Boise, Novatron and RaceMate Storage Solutions. Computrainer and Brooks Airbrush Studio. Keeping me fuelled GU and Upbeat Beetroot Juices and recovery by Ruth Chang, Mark Eden, %110 Play Harder, Compex Coach and Recovery Boots! Finally Kel at Swish Design!
A BIG Congrats to Super Ruth Chang who had a massive PB on the weekend in New Zealand! She trained hard and it was a very special moment seeing her cross the finish line achieving what she had set out to do!!
Thanks to Darryl Carey for the Awesome Photos – www.darrylcarey.com