Archive for the ‘Kate’s Blog’ Category

Back to It!!

Posted on: August 18th, 2017 by admin No Comments

Yes I know it has been a while…..and I am way over due for an update….so here it is!

This weekend marks the official back to racing for 2017! This year has been very different to every other. Normally at this time of the year I would say I am in pretty good shape, if not peak condition and would have been racing quite a bit over the last few months.

With a Wedding, Honeymoon and getting quite sick in May….I took the entire month off. Eventually early in June after arriving in Boise for the summer I got back into some regular training. I am not going to lie, it was tough! Just ask Guy!! I wasn’t motivated, would struggle to get up in the morning and found it even more frustrating because I was so unfit!! I kept telling myself “it can only get better, it can only get better!”

I felt like I was in a bit of a zombie mode for the first 4 weeks just going through the motions. I started to make some plans….some local running events, a Half Marathon, a couple of Olympic Distance events and further down the track 70’3’s. This definitely help with these goals in mind and eventually the tide turned. I was training with more determination and focus and my heart and head was in a much better space. I was excited!

Last weekend Guy and I returned to one of our local favourites in Idaho for Emmetts Most Excellent Triathlon. It’s been so much fun to race this event every year and share the event with our second family in the USA. It was also the beginning of our 3 races in 3 weeks and I am excited to be back!

Currently we are laying in our room watching the torrential down pour outside on the Island of Bintan getting ready for the 70.3 on Sunday! I have such great memories of this event last year, not just because I won, but the atmosphere, the organisation, the location, the great course…..all things that make you want to come back for more!! So here we are!!

I am not injured and not sick (YAH!!) am I as fit as I would like to be …..no way……but this is all part of the process and race fitness comes from racing! So Bring It On!!

Here’s to new beginnings! 

It is GO TIME!!!

Posted on: November 25th, 2016 by admin No Comments

Thursday night and Thanksgiving in the USA! I am watching the sunset from our Balcony and I am thankful for so much! My amazing friends and family….my very special support crew of Guy, Janine and Ruth. My parents, Peter and Chris being here in Kona. To Bella and her belief in me and making sure I am prepared and ready to go!! And off the course the  opportunity I am going to have over the next 3 days to be part of something special, that I will never forget. The incredible GK Family that I am a part of and the amazing sponsors that have been part of my journey for so long!

gke-good-lucks

 

gke-photo

 

The mini van is packed with everything we think we might need for the next 3 days on our adventure around the island. From the sun and surf of Kona…to 4000 feet in Volcano. The wind and rain through Hilo and the Kahala’s….finishing with a nice little run back from Hawi to Kona!

race-ready-ultraman

 

No matter what happens over the next few days….the journey has been worth it. From May last year through ULTRA520 Canada to finally make it to the big Island. I have been overwhelmed by all your encouragement and support! Thank you so much!! ….There will be plenty of updates over the next 3 days on my twitter and Facebook and hopefully (depending on what type of shape I am in!) I will be attempting a blog update at the end of each day!

LETS DO THIS!!!

umwc-a-team

Three Sleeps To Go!

Posted on: November 23rd, 2016 by admin No Comments

The Tuesday night sun is dipping into the ocean and I am now 3 sleeps away!

The morning began with a ride on the Queen K with a few pick ups and efforts. I was actually enjoying the change of pace efforts after so much LONG steady riding. Although the 90min seemed to go by so quickly! Ruth came with me and had her first taste of the Ironman Bike Course.

It was then time to drop my bike into Bike works for the mandatory check over and approval for the race. The good news everything is in great working order and ready to go! It is so important to make sure my equipment is all ready to go, the less I have to deal with over the multiple days of competition the better! But things always happen!

From the bike store it was a quit trip to the airport to swap rental cars. Guy and I had been driving a small compact car since we arrived in Kona, but now it is time for the beast Town and Country to be parked in the driveway so we can load her up 3 days on the road.

Back to our accomodation for an hour for lunch and some quality time in the recovery boots. During this time I was also checking on our athletes, making sure programs are up to date! So many of them are racing in the next few weeks and it is exciting!!! I am looking forward to getting back to Perth and catching up with some many of them on the start line of IMWA and WA70.3

umwc-swim-finish

Then we took a drive down Alii so that Ruth could see where the 10km Swim would finish on Friday! Her and Janine will drop Guy and I at the start then hopefully a few hours later meet us here where I will quickly change and being the LONG ride to Volcano! From sea level to 4000 feet! Lucky I like to climb!

From there is was time for the daily dip in the ocean! Why wouldn’t you at such an incredible place! After last nights amazing experience swimming with the Manta Ray’s today we took Ruth to turtle beach!

turtle-kona

Back to our accomodation….some more time in the Recovery Boots and that brings me to here:

kona-balcony

An early dinner, a relaxing glass of wine and a good nights sleep!! Tomorrow will be the beginning of the “busy!” Plus multiple trips to the airport which I am very excited about !

ALOHA

UMWC Race Week!

Posted on: November 22nd, 2016 by admin No Comments

It is Monday afternoon and Ultraman World Championships begins on Friday! I am a little bit overwhelmed that I am here and finally getting to do something I have wanted to do for a long time! The last few months have been a blur of swimming, biking, running, traveling, coaching but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I feel that no matter how much you train it is just human nature to question “have I done enough” “am I ready” leading into any race! We all do it!

What I do know is that I did the best I could over the last few months in preparing myself for this weekend. Sure…there were a few missed swims and a couple of sessions cut short because I was struggling. But then there were days I could have kept going and the confidence was sky high! They were all part of the journey and just like any other event I do, once I get started the body will go into automatic and I will be loving where I am and what I am doing! For the most part anyway 🙂

Guy and I have been in Kona since last Wednesday and Ruth arrived yesterday…the final member of my support crew Janine arrives on Wednesday. I am also so excited that my parents are making the trip along with great family friends Peter and Chris. I haven’t seen mum and dad for 6 months and it means a lot having them here.

kona-1

 

I have spent some quality time swimming, biking and running since being here and Guy and I drove the day 2 Bike course on the weekend so I know exactly what I am in for! My new 2017 Ceepo Katana is working a treat thanks to Antonio at Tri Town Boise.

kona-3

Over the next few days it will be about keeping the body moving, registration and other formalities. Plus organising everything for a 3 day adventure around the Big Island! Stay tuned for daily updates! The good and the bad!

kona-4Aloha!!

 

 

Bintan 70.3 Champion

Posted on: November 5th, 2016 by admin No Comments

They say everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it is hard to believe it when you are down in the dumps and questioning why, trying to find answers for things that are out of your control.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-1-13-54-am

The first week of August my plans changed and by the end of the month I was on a plane to Bintan. I had never been to the race before, heard so much about it though and coached a number of athletes who had competed in it. Bintan was a popular event for those living in Perth as it was so close! And lets be honest who doesn’t love a hot, humid and hilly race!

I arrived in Singapore 2am Thursday morning and caught a taxi to Claire and Luke’s House. Friends and fellow GKEndurance athletes who were living in Singapore at the time. It was straight to sleep after the long travel from the USA, but unfortunately I was wide awake at 7am as the jet lag was well and truly set in. Luke took me for a ride around the streets of Singapore….lets just say that was an interesting experience and I was glad it was not something I had to do all the time! A quick dip in the complex pool and run on the treadmill and the body was moving again. By 5pm I was ready for bed and just wanted to sleep!

Friday it was another travel day which included taxi to the ferry terminal then a short trip to the island of Bintan. I was extremely lucky to be staying in the host hotel which was located right next to the transition area! Talk about awesome location!

Saturday was the usual pre race ritual of swim,bike, run plus a crazy kids autograph session. The kids were so excited, we couldn’t keep up with the demand! Great to see so many of them!

I was using the jet lag to my advantage and had dinner by 5pm, was in bed reading by 6.30pm and was sound asleep by 7pm (I wish I could do this all the time!)

Race morning I was up so early and ready to go, even had time to chat to Guy in the USA, have a stretch and sit in my recovery boots watching a bit of T.V.

It was a short walk to transition to make sure everything was all set up and ready to go then I was finally on the start line and anxious to get going! It was going to be a great day.

There was only a small women’s field, but quality! And getting through a half ironman is never easy!  In today’s conditions nutrition and pacing were going to be even more important!

We were off!! My goal was to stick to Alise as long as possible! She is a great swimmer and had put quite a bit of time into me at Busso 70.3. First turn, second turn….third turn…..I was telling myself just hang on, just hang on!!! The last turn into shore she was able to put a little gap into me but I was extremely happy with how the swim went and now it was time to ride!!!

I loved the bike course in Bintan! There was only one out and back section at the beginning where you could see how you were going, but it was broken up with rolling hills, flat, then rolling hills again. About 5km into the ride I took the lead….from then on it was just me and a lead motor bike for 85km! I had no idea what was going on behind me! Was just focusing on my nutrition, my effort and staying in the moment! There was some stunning scenery to look at and was pretty cool to have lead police motorbike in front of me (had never experienced that before!)

A few age group men passed me after about 60km….but as I entered transition I felt pretty good. I had not over exerted myself, was in a great position and now had to be smart about getting through the run and staying hydrated!

The run is 3 laps around a lake. It is surprisingly harder than it looks and it was definitely heating up! I had no idea of my time gap and discovered there was one point of the lake where I could see across to the other side which is where I saw 2nd place. Okay….my goal was to keep that gap on the next lap!

I took the first lap out pretty solid and was already beginning to feel the pinch on the second lap. I was running through the aid stations, but then nearly choking as I tried to get the fluids in! Decided it was probably worth slowing down through the aid stations  to make sure I got in what I needed so I could keep going and not completely bonk!!

At the same point as lap one I looked across the Lake and it appeared that I had maintained my lead. One lap to go and it was going to be all about survival! 1km at a time!! Although they seemed to be getting further and further apart!! Just keep moving, just keep moving! Everyone is suffering!

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-1-14-21-am

With 1.5km to go I looked across the lake and I still had the same gap on second place! I was going to do it! I would win! I slowed down the last few hundred metres to enjoy the finish chute, take it all in and high five those on the side! I learnt through my career that these days are so hard to come by that you must enjoy and celebrate it!! And I did!

Bintan 70.3 Champion – YEAH BABY!

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-1-14-48-am

Thanks everyone for all your support and well wishes! Jess and the team from Metasport put on a well organised race with a great atmosphere!

To all my sponsors It been a great year and incredible journey! Words will never be enough to thank you for all of your support! Rolf Prima Wheels, Ceepo, Coeur Sports, , Profile Design, BlueSeventy, ISM, Ryders Eyewear, Mizuno, Challenge Tyres, and SwimSmooth. Churchill Cycles, and Tri Town Boise plus Computrainer. Keeping me fueled GU and Upbeat Beetroot Juices, Recovery by Ruth Chang Physio

A special mention to Friend and GKEndurance Athlete Claire Davis who not only finished first female AG but was 2nd Overall!!

3 x 70.3’s an Olympic and an Engagement

Posted on: May 17th, 2016 by admin No Comments

JD – This one is for you 🙂

After a relative slow start to the beginning of 2016….. March, April and the beginning of May flew by!

It began with Taiwan 70.3….I felt a little rusty, lacking race fitness and had just begun a new journey with coach Bella Bayliss. She had her hands full with my up coming schedule. There was no time like the present for a bit of a shake up to the body and mind.

It was strange competing in Taiwan so early in the year, with the race having previously been held in November. But the new location and course was awesome. I was able to get in a solid work out, even though I didn’t feel that great….and came away with 4th.

Taiwan 1

Even better…friend, physio and fellow triathlete Ruth Chang secured a spot to 70.3 World Champs on Sunshine Coast. She put together her best ever Half Ironman performance and it was so exciting to see what she was able to achieve knowing where she has come from.

We had a couple of days after the race in Taiwan with Ruth to explore but then we parted ways in Hong Kong as Guy and I continued the journey to KL and Putrajaya 70.3. In theory….one flight 2 x races. It seemed like a great idea!

Malaysia as we expected was extremely hot and humid. I have raced in those conditions many times before and know it would be more about a survival race than anything else. I would have to be smart.

The body was taking it’s time to come around…there was plenty of swim/bike/run happening….but I just had to trust the plan and do the best I could on race day!

The water was like a sauna!! Hot Hot Hot…I felt I had a bit of a sluggish start but came good half way through and was able to finish stronger than I started. Just like the weekend before Sarah and I exited together and it felt like dejevu’. It was going to have to be a smart ride as the heat and humidity was definitely going to play a part on the run. Surprisingly I felt so much better on the bike than I had the weekend before. It was fun to be riding with someone, swapping out the lead constantly and working together. I am used to a solo time trial most of the time, but women’s racing is changing and it is much more exciting as a competitor and a spectator.

Off the bike Sarah and I were out onto the run together and into the sauna! Coke, water, ice….everything at every aid station, then on to the next one! I knew that Sarah was in great shape after her win the weekend before at Taiwan 70.3, my goal was to hang on as long as I could!

Unfortunately leaving one of the aid stations the ground was super wet and slippery and Sarah went down! It looked painful. I came back to help her up and get her moving again! We were in the top 5 with a gap back to the rest. But I could tell there had been some damage from the fall.

The rest of the run was exactly as I expected! Tough!!! I just had to focus on one foot in front of the other and making it to the next aid station. I never knew what was going on behind or in front. But the last 4 – 5km I did feel myself really beginning to struggle. You know that feeling where you are tripping over your own feet! The finish line couldn’t come soon enough, with a speedy Beth crossing only seconds behind me! I was done!! But ecstatic to finish on the podium in 3rd place.

However I felt terrible!! I found Guy and told him but didn’t want to miss my chance to stand on the podium alongside Radka and Liz and spray my champagne. Deep breaths, red bull and water and I was able to enjoy the moment before heading to medical for a bit of a lay down!

Malaysia Sprint Finish

After nearly 2 weeks away it was time to go home!

10 days back at Perth and we were off to Geraldton for the Batavia Olympic Distance Triathlon. A great race that attracts a stellar field and we always love having so many GKEndurance athletes there. Unfortunately race day for me was not great. I really struggled all day and was disappointed that I had seen better numbers in training during the week than in the race.

I then spent way too much time trying to work out why?? With the reality being when you race as much as we do, days like that are going to happen. There are always positives to take away and it was more important to move on and focus on the next one!

We were only home from Geraldton for 2 days before it was back into the car heading south to Margaret River for our Engagement Party. It was a fantastic weekend with family and friends and the beginning of an exciting 12 months!

From Margaret River it was a short drive to Busso for the end of season Busselton 70.3. The biggest in Australia! This years event did not disappoint! Conditions were perfect and fast times were the result!

The hardest part for Guy and I was getting our heads in the game. Mentally focusing on racing and being in the moment. He was sick and we were both tired from the previous month but it is an event that we would never miss. Race day…you never know what might happen!

I was extremely happy to come away with a 4th place finish. It was a rollercoaster day (as racing always is) but I felt strong on the bike and for 2 laps of the run. The last lap is always tough and I gave it the best that I could.

Busso 70.3 GKE Team

It is so nice to be settled at home now for a month. Focused on a good block of training and preparing for the US summer of racing.

A HUGE congrats to all our GKEndurance athletes who raced in Busso! There were so many awesome performances and we are so proud of every one of you!!

Learning to Have Patience!!

Posted on: November 6th, 2015 by admin No Comments

To be honest, I don’t think the word “Patience” and “Triathlete” can really be used in the same sentence. For most of us anyway!

I would consider myself generally a patient person but obviously when it comes to certain things I am not! I am just as bad as every one else!

Triathletes – want to be fit and fast NOW!

Triathletes – Are “not” patient when sick….one day is plenty of rest!

Triathletes – Are “not” patient when injured. It is just a little niggle, “she’ll be right!”

This sport attracts a particular type of personality……and it had been a while since my “patience” had been tested!

I shouldn’t really complain…it was nothing major.

Once Ultra520K Canada was over I was on a high! It had exceeded all my expectations and I was ready to keep moving and hit some Half Ironman’s….build on the base I had from all the aerobic training. The first week after the event….I was fine! I even raced an Olympic Distance less than a week later. But shortly after that I began to realise I was physically and mentally tired and needed to give myself time to recover. It was great to have a chat with Hillary Biscay and realise this was to be expected.

I took some time….and had only returned to training for a week when Guy and I returned to Penticton for the Challenge race. It was a tough slog…there was no get up and go in the body. Although it was great to be back racing again, there was a lot of work to do!

Back to Boise, recovery….my first 2 full weeks of training, then it was time for Las Vegas 70.3. I just wanted some signs of improvement.

There were some…..but I was just unable to sustain the effort. All good…..a step in the right direction.

A quick trip to Kona then back to Boise for another solid 2 week block of training….but sharing is caring! Guy was sick….and shortly later I joined him! We were still able to get some solid key sessions but had to do a bit of juggling with those sessions.

During this time I was frantically cleaning up the apartment as our pilgrimage home was about to begin. Yep….it always seems that everything happens at once!!

By the time we arrived in Taiwan, I did not feel awesome! We were in bed by just after 6pm and didn’t rise until nearly 12 hours later! Obviously need it! The five flights it took to get there was 3 to many.

But it was great to be back in a place and race I loved!

Race day rolled around pretty quickly and after our pre race dinner with Dimity and Jarrad it was another early night and no problems getting some quality sleep. I seem to be getting a bit better at this before races. Although I have noticed I actually get the best, deepest sleep before midnight. After that I tend to toss and turn a bit. I was up at 2am….struggled to get back to sleep then eventually got out of bed at 3am!

Time to GO!!

By the time we arrived at T1 it was surprisingly raining and exceptional windy. There were some areas of the bike course that were expecting gusts up to 50km/hr so the race committee make the right decision to decease the bike to 77km for safety reasons.

It was actually quite chilly and many Pro’s were wearing plastic bags to keep them warm! Lucky for me my new Coeur Long Sleeve Cycling Jacket was coming in very handy even if I was on a tropical island!

Transition was a at least 800 – 1km long so Guy and I were ready early and headed to the swim start so we could get a good warm up in. The water was warm and the further you swum out, the more you could see. I didn’t mind this at all. The only issue was the beach start….I definitely need to practice this one a bit more!

The traditional kiss and “good luck” with Guy and he was off!! We were 60sec later!

Dimity had the best start out of all of us….it wasn’t long before Gina took off in the distance. I decided to take my own more direct line following the buoys and was accompanied by 2 other ladies and a couple of slower Pro men we picked up along the way. In the end with the waves bringing us into shore we all exited together. (bar Gina who had a 90sec lead on us)

Bike Taiwan 70.3

It was not a great swim for me! But it could have been way worse! I had the quickest transition and was out onto the bike before anyone else with plenty of work to do!

My goal for this race was definitely to focus on the bike…maintaining consistent power through out and hopefully being able to hold it for longer with out fading. The run….what would be will be!

Surprisingly I felt alright….after all the travel and heavy legs during the week I didn’t know what to expect.

The first lap was just me, my numbers and my brand new 2016 Ceepo Katana!!! (AWESOME!!)   There was plenty to look at, the scenery was amazing. But there was nothing to see up front and nothing to see behind!

Towards the end of the first lap a couple of flying age group men went by but I continued sticking to my own plan. Halfway through the second lap I sited Gina up front and pushed to take the lead. I was able to keep slightly to the left and call bike “often” to avoid the age groupers on the lap. We were pretty lucky and had a clear line most of the way.

Not long after she came back around and did the exactly the same thing, riding strong and at a constant pace back into T2.

I don’t normally run with socks in a 70.3, but knowing I had an Ironman 2 weeks, I sat down on the ground (my balancing skills are not that great!) socks on, shoes on and I was off!! First onto the run…wohoo!!

Hot run Taiwan

The weather was changing rapidly….more like what I have come to expect from the race! The sun was out….it was getting hot hot and hot!! The first part of the run had no shade and just to compound matters the wind dropped off…..I had to just switch off and focus on 1km at a time.

After a few km’s Gina came past and made her move….could I go with her???

I was going to try!!!

For the longest time….the gap remained the same. I could see her, she could see me.

Every aid station we were both covering ourselves with water, drinking everything we could grab and moving on!

As you approach the Yoho resort….at 14km mark…..you have 3.5km of slight uphill…to the turn around, then you are on the way home. This is where the elastic band seemed to break! I had held on for so ,long but my mind set had to change now to focus on consistency, nutrition and one foot in front of the other.

At the final turn around with 3km to go…Gina was 1minute up the road and running strong. The good news is….I hadn’t blown too badly!!! I also had a decent gap to 3rd place, Dimity.

There was really no point in burying myself and being sore for days……I can still run strong….but hopefully be able to recover quicker in preparation for the next race!

Don’t get me wrong….I was still grunting, panting and trying to not to trip over my own feet. Actually…I don’t even know if I could have gone any quicker if I wanted to….maybe a few seconds per km. But not enough to close the gap.

I was extremely happy when the finish line came into view. I had been able to put together a solid day for 2nd place after the last few months being on an emotional roller coaster.

2nd Taiwan 70.3

Gina took the win by 90sec and was tough all day! It was great racing with her!

But the absolute highlight of day was finding out as soon as I had finished that Guy had WON!! He was the Taiwan 70.3 champion!! I did not see him out on the course except at the very beginning of the run when he was side by side with Christian Kramer. I had no idea what the result was and ran directly to him to jump in his arms as soon as I found out!

I know how hard he has been working and how talented he is….for it all to come together FINALLY for him….it still makes me smile just thinking about it!

Guy and now are all settled in Malaysia getting to know the course, heat, humidity and rain!! Ironman is next weekend and we are both excited for the challenge! Then it is time to return to Perth! We are looking forward to that as well!!

Last but not least my incredible sponsors, it been a great year and incredible journey! Words will never be enough to thank you for all of your support! Rolf Prima Wheels, Ceepo, Coeur Sports, , Profile Design, BlueSeventy, ISM, Ryders Eyewear, Mizuno, Challenge Tyres, and SwimSmooth. Churchill Cycles, and Tri Town Boise plus Computrainer. Keeping me fueled GU and Upbeat Beetroot Juices, Recovery by Ruth Chang Physio and Matt Booth at Boise Therapeutic Associates. Last but not least…Jeff Shilt!

Celebrations Taiwan

ULTRA520K Canada Day 3 – The Double Marathon

Posted on: August 17th, 2015 by admin No Comments

Day 3 began at 2.30am! The previous night after finishing in quite a fatigued and emotional state, Jeff had arranged with Guy for some midnight snacking! So at 2.30am I had a GU Recovery drink in my hand with a couple of pieces of pizza and some V8 Juice. As crazy as this sounds….looking back I honestly feel this small action was a lifesaver. It gave me the additional calories I needed to start the tough run with out such a deficit from the previous 2 days efforts.

I had no problems getting back to sleep for another few hours as I was so exhausted. At 5am….I was up again…in the recovery boots for 30mins to get the legs ready for action. I wasn’t feeling the love for my normal breakfast…but the 400 calorie apple pie sitting in the fridge was exciting me! At this stage….anything goes and it was gone very quickly! By that stage Guy was awake and I had to tell him about the dream I had the night before! A friend of ours Rachel Corey from Boise was in my dream. Rachel was tragically hit by a car last year while training for the Hawaii Ironman. http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/09/25/3394882/boise-triathlete-hit-by-car-in.html She was in a bad way and is still under going extensive rehab. Rachel is an extremely talented hard working athlete and one of the most positive people I have met. Even though she is going through so much Ultraman is something she would love to do! In my dream we were with a group of friends at a BBQ but it ended with her telling me how ready I was for the double marathon, I had trained hard and prepared for what was to come. “do it for me!” she said!

That really shook me up and brought me back to reality. I was excited again! It had been a tough 2 months, emotionally and physically, yes….I had prepared myself for this day. I had the best support crew anyone could ask for and I was ready! It was up to me now to get my head in the game and enjoy but focus on the task ahead!

We left the hotel for a quick ice stop at the gas station and headed to the run start. Just like any Triathlon or competition, there was plenty of nervous energy in the air, but excitement at the same time. I continued to drink my GU Electrolyte and had a Gel just before the start.

Ultra Run Start

7am – Here we go!!!

The first 5km of the run was FUN! Again we all started together. I held back, ran along side some of the other athletes, had a chat. Found out more about them. Looked around and took in the incredible scenery and just kept smiling! It was cool, there was cloud cover, after the last couple of really hots days we were in for some perfect running conditions! My support crew were there on the side of the road every 2km and I was grabbing water and GU at each of my aid stations.

Juan and Ross had gone out off the front and with the nature of the course with rolling hills and lots of turns they were quickly out of sight. I didn’t care….it was a long day, I had to focus on me and nothing else! Keep my pacing consistent, stay on top of my nutrition and take it 2km at a time.

It was not long after that the elastic band began to stretch within the group I was running with. I was able to maintain the pace we had started with, but they were beginning to slow down a bit. I kept going. I was now on my own. Just me and the thoughts in my head and seeing my support crew every 10.30 – 11mins. My plan of attack was to try and run the first marathon (42.2km) on my own. You were allowed support and a pacer running along side you right from the start….but I wanted to hold that off. Save it as a treat for the second half. I would just have to see how it went.

I was having a gel every 30mins and continuing to take in my GU Roctane electrolyte drink. Every 10km it was a brief walk through my “aid station” then I was on my way again. I then began to hear the voice of Steve on the microphone…I was coming up to the half marathon mark. I could hear him giving splits and letting us know where others were in the field especially if it was going to affect the overall outcome. But I was switched off at the time. I gave a wave and a smile to those spectators around and then refocused 2km at a time……2km at at time.

Up and over the hill and I saw a support vehicle on the side of the road and it wasn’t mine! Unfortunately Ross had been sick over the course of the weekend and again he was unable to keep everything down! He was there with his support crew trying to find something that would give him the energy to continue on. I gave him words of encouragement as I went by…..but I had to keep on moving! That was the only way!

The run course was rolling hills, the second half they were long and steeper than the first. The beginning was 35km on road, the next 35km was on trail/fire road. The last 14km was back on the road but with some steep descents.

After passing Ross…my small goal focus was always 2km……the big goal was getting to the trail/fire road. My crew was there waiting for me…..there was a little “yippee” and celebration inside, but then it was back to the job and the next goal of completing the first marathon.

It is always a welcome sign when you can hear Steve’s voice, as it meant I was getting close to he half way point. Steve was talking away on the microphone and informing everyone listening to the live feed what was going on. The roads were otherwise very quite and lonely except for me and my crew! I ran past and gave him a wave and a smile.  42.2km done!! Marathon number 1 done!! Now it was time for marathon number 2! Okay Kate….this is where it starts….take a deep breath, refresh, regroup and stick to the plan. I had run a few 50km in training so I was confident about getting to that point. I was excited now about having members of my crew come for a little jog! Mostly Guy and Ruth were my pacers. Jeff was in charge of driving the mini van and Mazzy of nutrition. They rotated 2km’s in and out. Each time carrying with them some very cold, electrolyte drinks, gels and sponges or ice to put down my top. It was also time for the RedBull!! At 50km it was time for my “walk through the aid station” and they had everything ready for me to choose from.

Kate & Ruth Ultra Run

I knew in my head mentally 50 – 70km was the toughest in terms of terrain. The hills were bigger, I was exposed to the elements….but I just had to continue to break it down 2km at a time. It was at this stage I was starting to get a little demanding and letting Ruth and Guy know that they could run side by side with me but not in front or behind me…..and they could talk about anything else but running!! Crazy…but those were the things that were annoying me most at the time! I didn’t want to know how great I looked or that I was nearly there (because I wasn’t!) I didn’t want to know about keeping a high cadence, staying relaxed and strong. I was in my own little world and it didn’t involve any of that! Ruth and I chatted about bears, the absolutely stunning scenery and what was going on in the mini van during stops. Guy and I talked about my Birthday (which was the next day) and what I wouldn’t be getting 🙂

60km into the run and Steve drove by in his car…he was on his way to the finish line. He rolled down the window to pass on words of encouragement, then proceeded to let me know the time gaps between myself and Jaun in front and Dustin behind (who had the overall lead after day 2). He then told me if I continued at the pace I would create history. It would be the first time a female had won an Ultraman event outright in the 32year history of the events. (no pressure right?!?)

I turned to Guy who I was running with at the time and was “Wow”. Then a few seconds later…”I can’t think about that right now babe!” I still had 24km of running to go. Anything could happen. I just had to focus on 2km at a time, eating, drinking and staying mentally strong. The rest would take care of itself. I never had any concept of time while I was running. I didn’t realise how long I had been running for. As I mentioned it was always about 2km, or a 10km block so I could work the aid station, or land marks. There was always a short term goal then a medium goal to think about that would get me to the end goal.

Kate & Guy Run

It was exciting to finally make it back to the road at about the 70km mark. I was talking to myself “Come on Kate!”. There was still 14km to go but I had run 70km already!! In my mind this as supposed to be the fun part, mostly downhill. But it wasn’t!! Ouch it hurt!! When I saw a sign indicating a 14% downhill I was feeling the pain before I even began the descent! I think I was running slower going down than I was going up! The quads were pounding. Ruth and Guy were still swapping in but I was not saying anything anymore. Cold sprite with ice blocks was giving me a pick up along with GU Chomps I was still consuming every km. At this stage the battery in my watch was done! So who ever was running next to me had to try  and maintain the same pace for me. I was also asking Guy to let me know every time we had run 500m. I was preferring the much smaller goals.

Then finally….there is was! Not the finish line, but the sign that said “3km to go!” and this was when the crew had to call the finish line to let them know I was coming! Ruth came and joined me for the final section and by then I was asking to know every time we had run 400m. With 2km to go I was thinking to myself 5 laps of the track….that is all that is left…..5 laps of the track. I was still drinking and eating. I was getting SO excited!!!

I made the last left hand turn and there was the rest of my crew, all waiting to join me so we could cross the finish line together. It gives me goose bumps now just thinking about it and no words will ever be able to describe the emotions I was feeling. I saw the time on the clock and could not believe what I had done. I was able to immediately hug Ruth, Mazzy, Jeff and Guy in my sweaty, smelly and disgusting state but I don’t think they cared. We had done it!!!

Ultra Finish with everyone

Race director Steve was there to give me my finishers medal and I could not wipe the smile off my face. That day 3 was what dreams were made of. That day you know you have in you…but just never think it is possible…..until it happens!!

At that stage I was just so happy and estatic to have finished the event and achieved my goals. I had no idea of my overall placing. I had to wait an additional 13mins to see if Dustin crossed the finish line within that time. If he didn’t I won!

As the clock slowly clicked over, Steve made the announcement that I had officially won and made history! WOW WOW WOW!! I didn’t know what to say or do!! Everyone around was clapping and congratulating me. I was smiling, hugging, shaking hands and thanking them. Then I was on the phone and calling mum back in Perth so I could wake her up and give her the great news!

Ultra Media chat

Like any journey there are so many people to thank for being a part of this and supporting me towards something I have always wanted to do!

Steve, Alexis and all the Ultra520k Canada crew…..what an incredible adventure in such a beautiful part of the world. You put on such a fun, professional event. The entire experience is life changing. I look forward to returning!

My support crew…..I can’t say enough about them all! Ruth and Mazzy….what is said on tour stays on tour! You have seen me at my worst and my best….plus everything in-between. Your organisational skills and attention to detail made my job so much easier. You are never allowed to crew for anyone else!

Coach Jeff Shilt, he knew I wanted to do this for a long time, then it was here. We only had 2 months but we sat down and developed a plan that would get me to the start line in the best possible condition with the time we had. It worked! It was a learning experience for both of us and I can’t wait to move onwards and upwards with the next adventure.

Guy…well you can read how much fun he had leading into Ultra520k Canada and dealing with all my training and mood swings here: http://www.guycrawford.us/news.php  But his continued emotional support, belief in me, joining in on long rides when it was the last thing he felt like, and cooking his own dinner 🙂 (if you call Toast dinner?) This event took a toll on him and his regular training/schedule, I love you and will always be grateful!

Last but not least my incredible sponsors, they were all on board and supportive with the change to my schedule this year and I appreciate that so much!!  Rolf Prima Wheels, Ceepo, Coeur Sports, , Profile Design, BlueSeventy, ISM, Ryders Eyewear, Mizuno, Challenge Tyres, and SwimSmooth. Churchill Cycles, and Tri Town Boise and Computrainer. Keeping me fuelled GU and Upbeat Beetroot Juices and recovery by Ruth Chang Physio and Matt Booth at Boise Therapeutic Associates.

 

 

ULTRA520K Day 2 – 276km’s (171.4miles) OUCH!!

Posted on: August 13th, 2015 by admin No Comments

I awoke before my alarm and laid in bed for a while. Just watching Guy sleep away. Lucky for him…..he didn’t have to ride 276km’s today!! But at the same time, that brought a smile to my face! Day 2 was here. In my mind this was the day that was going to take the longest in regards to time! I looked over to my organised pile on the floor, making sure everything was there (although I had checked at least 10 x before going to bed the night before!) It was then all about Food!!! My nutrition was going to be even more important today…..with such a long day in front of me and a double marathon tomorrow…it was crucial to stay on top of things! A big bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and yoghurt was a great start and I continued to drink my GU and water as we made our way to the start line.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 9.29.01 PM

On arrival at the car park, everyone was there and you could feel the tension and excitement in the air. There were a little less nerves than day 1, but there was still that unknown hovering around. We were all to start together again, but had been seeded based on our overall times from day 1. So I was starting side by side next to Dustin. As soon as we were off that all changed, I was given instructions by coach Jeff to ease into the ride today. It was a long day and ideally I need to save something for the second half of the ride. The first 70 – 80km is relatively flat and fast and it’s easy to get caught up in feeling good and thinking “you’ve got this!”.However I held back. I held back enough that I wasn’t first rider. I let someone else set the pace, sat back and went with it. It didn’t take long for us to spread out and before long it was just Ross and I rolling along nicely. But then half way back to Okanagan Falls, bang….he broke his aero bars! They completely snapped! This was bad for him and bad for me! Here we go again…I was on my own! This is what it’s supposed to be like right? Through town and beginning the amazing climb to Green Lake and what they call “the wall”! I was enjoying this and having fun! The scenery was incredible. There was lots of positive self talk and motivation going on in my head. This was also a no feed zone so my support crew were not allowed to stop anywhere along this section of road. The plan was for them to meet me at the other end for a quick refresh and refuel. It took a little bit longer than expected for us to regroup but the end the timing was good. I took a quick stop, reloaded my bottles, more sun cream, more calories, Jeff checked my bike over and I was good to go again.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 9.30.56 PM

At this stage Dustin was cresting the last hill. Awesome, someone to ride again with! He was riding strong. It was heating up, I had ice down my cycle top and drinking constantly. We continued through Yellow Lake and began the gradual descent into Keremeos. Unfortunately just before that time Dustin got a flat and was waiting for his support crew.

Once in Keremeos I was 150km into the ride.  It was a right hand turn into a head wind, slightly uphill for the next 60km! At this stage I just put my head down, stayed aero and kept pushing. But it was getting dark in my little world! Dustin has his flat fixed and came flying past! He was riding strong and looking great! I watched him fade into the distance. Just get to Princeton then you are nearly there! Keep peddling, keep peddling, keep eating, keep drinking. 5km at a time! What ever I could think of to keep me going!

At 214km I made the turn in Princeton to begin the out and back. Just over 60km to go! Come on you can do this, you just have to make it to the turn around then it is all down hill from there. But I was struggling! There was a nasty head wind, again it was slightly uphill and rolling. My crew could tell and were stopping more frequently, caffeine, gels, electrolyte and so much positive reinforcement! They were amazing! It had been a long day for them as well but they were still doing everything they could for me. I was passed again just after the turn around, but at that stage all I was thinking about was staying focused and getting to the finish.

I began the ride home, I could feel the tail wind and it was a nice change. As my speed increased I went to change into my big chain ring and nothing happened. Oh well…I will just try again….no luck! Oh no! It appeared that my Di2 and died!! Even though I was certain I had fully charged it just a week before, obviously I had done something wrong and now I was spinning out of control trying to take advantage of the downhills and tail wind! I rode past the mini van at the next stop and gave them the great news “My Di2 is flat, can’t change into the Big Chain ring!” and kept riding! I think I then created chaos as they tried to work out what they could do! If anything!

But I said before and will say it again….my crew were AMAZING! They stopped me up the road, Ruth had a Power source, my Di2 charger was in the mini van, they quickly charged it enough to change it into the Big Chain ring then sent me on the way with important instructions “don’t change gears!”

I took a deep breath, got in the aero position and rode. I was on my way! I didn’t hammer it and push hard to the end, I kept it steady, relaxed and reminded myself there was still another long day coming tomorrow. I kept drinking and eating, I yelled encouragement to athletes riding in the other direction. I reminded myself of where I was and what I was doing!

I crested the final hill and there was Mazzy, directing me to the finish line! Thank god! I was there! It was done! And so was I! Another athlete came flying by me in the last few metres, but I didn’t care. This was about 3 days of racing and now I was more than a little scared about what lay in front of me Day 3.

My incredible crew were all there waiting, they took my bike. I was straight into the Ice bath, GU Recovery drink in my hard. I closed my eyes and put my head back. Wow….that was a tough day!

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 9.24.45 PM

From there it was a massage. Into the mini van, pick up Pizza and Icecream and on to the hotel. I lay in the front seat of the car and didn’t move! Once we had our rooms, I was instructed by Jeff to do nothing and eat! I was straight on the bed, in the recovery boots and eating pizza. I felt so bad as I watched Ruth, Mazzy, Jeff and Guy work away, emptying the mini van, wash bottles, refill bottles, repack car and get everything ready for day 3. Meanwhile I just lay there!!

Everyone was exhausted so an early night was welcome! By just after 8pm Guy and I were laying in bed and he could see the emotion and exhaustion in my eyes. We had a little chat and he reminded me of how hard I had trained and that this was something I had always wanted to do. To get out there and enjoy it, that he was proud no matter what happened. I went to sleep with a smile on my face, tomorrow was a new day and anything was possible!

 

ULTRA520K CANADA DAY 1

Posted on: August 11th, 2015 by admin No Comments

I am used to only writing a race report for an event that lasts 1 day!! But there is so much to say about my amazing experience in Canada that I am going to have to do this day by day!

So here is Day One:    10km Swim / 150km Bike

Surprisingly I was able to sleep fine the night before. I think knowing that I was going to be doing this for 3 days in a strange way made me feel relaxed! I was wide awake and up at 5am and ready to begin the adventure ahead.

Ruth, Mazzy, Jeff, Guy and I all crammed into the minivan and we were on our way to Skaha Lake. It was quite surreal! It had been nearly 5 years of talking to my close friends and family about wanting to do an Ultraman. I could not believe the day had arrived! This was it! The time was now. It bought a smile to my face and also a tear to my eye. The lake looked amazing! So flat, like glass and clear as far as the eye could see. Lucky Guy had his binoculars with him because the first buoy was about 8km away!!

I had a bit of time before the start to give everyone a hug, take a deep breath and make my way into the water. Chatting and smiling with the other athletes I didn’t even realise the gun had gone! We were off!

Ultra Swim Day 1

Very rarely during the entire swim did I think to myself…I have to swim 10km! In the beginning all I was thinking about was 2km! At that point Guy was going to stop me for a drink of my GU Roctane. It was going to be a long 3 days! Getting behind in my nutrition on day 1 would not be ideal! He continued to stop me every 2km alternating with GU Electrolyte and a GU Gel. Guy was paddling to the right of me and providing plenty of entertainment with singing or funny faces. To the left of me the sun was slowly rising over the mountains and it was gorgeous! Every now and then I had a giggle to myself wondering if anything weird was going on knowing that Guy was wearing the infamous Nappy!!

The Nappy

With a few km’s to go I stopped a little more frequently just quickly for a drink as it was starting to heat up and there was still 150km on the bike to go! I needed to stay well hydrated!

Swim Day 1

I can see the shore…and Ruth, Mazzy and Jeff were getting closer! I was excited! It was a fun swim and Guy had been AWESOME!! 2.37 hrs was a new female course record. I won’t lie I was hoping to go a little faster than that, but felt better when Guy told me his Garmin read 10.5km.

Into the change tent, Ruth had my clothes ready to go, sun cream on, food in the back pocket, out the door to Mazzy who was waiting with my bike and I was off!

The Day 1 Bike course was 150km including most of the Ironman Canada course. Relatively flat and fast to begin with. Then rolling and windy for the remainder of the ride….before a nice 5 – 6km descent back into Okanagan Falls.

My crew were amazing and I would see them every 10km or less. I am used to being self sufficient during an Ironman so had plenty of nutrition with me to begin with. But soon found out with the temperatures rising into the high 90’s (36 – 37 degrees celsius) it was a much better option to be able to grab cold bottles of GU from them rather than drinking warm ones.

There was A LOT of climbing which I enjoyed….most of the time! But didn’t get to see anyone else until over 100km into the ride. There was a long out and back section and it was the first chance I had to see what was going on behind me. Dustin had been riding extremely well and was closing fast. There was some more rolling hills to come and it was getting hotter and and hotter. My crew continued to place themselves at the top of each climb so I could refuel and encourage me for the next effort. And then there it was….the sign for home and the 5km descent. YAH!!

Day 1 - Finish

I was able to hold onto my lead after the swim, just! And finish day 1 in the lead! How exciting! It was straight to medical for testing, ice bath, massage, GU Recovery Drink then back to the apartment. The recovery continued with more food, recovery boots, another rub down and stretch from Super Ruth while the crew was unpacking and repacking the mini van for the next 2 days!! We were riding from point to point tomorrow so needed everything for Day 2 and 3! Mazzy had the incredible task of calculating all the calories I had consumed and expended during the day and worked out the deficit. My goal at minimum was to replace what I had used. Which was a lot more difficult than I had realised. Ideally it would be nice to load up again in preparation for what was coming the next day. But I learnt that was a lot easier said than done! I still went to bed with a full stomach after chicken, pesto pasta and a massive bowl of ice cream! I was ready for a long day in the saddle!!

Thanks Rick Kent for the incredible photo’s!