It has been a whirlwind of adventures over the last 2 weeks! It all began when my parents arrived in a Boise for a few days. I love it when they come to visit and I can share with them all the fantastic places and people that make it my second home. It was a quick stay as a few days later we were all on a plane for North Carolina and Winston Salem for the wedding of good friends John and Heather. Although we were expecting it to be extremely hot and humid, instead it rained and was particularly cool. Something we hadn’t experience for a long time.
The wedding was a gorgeous affair and and everyone had a blast! There was a bit of sleep lacking and our bikes had been missing although we had sent them nearly a week earlier! But eventually by day 5 we were back on them! (Thankfully!! My butt was not loving the gym bike!)
We spent a night at the historic Graylyn before mum and dad returned to Australia and Guy and I were gratefully hosted by Jeff and Kim for one more night in North Carolina before the drive to Louisville!
By Tuesday night we had made it! Met our amazing home stay Jacque and her 5 year old Labrador Lucy and settled it!
Leading up to race day Guy and I had the opportunity to relax, check out the bike and run course and get some good training in with Chris McDonald.
The day before I was surprisingly relaxed. There were some nutritional issues I needed to sort out with my Ironman racing and that was why I was in Louisville. The focus was totally on me and my goals and where ever I ended up so be it. If I could get that right it would be a victory and give me more confidence for future races.
I have been having a lot of trouble with falling asleep before big races and would be lucky to get maybe 2 – 3 hours sleep. This used to totally stress me out…but now I have accepted it, I seem to be able to relax more.Plus sticking to my normal routine includes a nice glass of red wine with dinner! I think I cracked over 5 hours and felt surprisingly fresh and ready to go when the alarm went off at 4am!
Jacque kindly drove us to transition, where there wasn’t much to do but pump up the tyres and make sure my nutrition was ready to go. Guy and I then walked the mile to the swim start with nearly 3000 athletes and could feel the tension and nervous energy build as we got closer!
6.50am and we were off! Non wetsuit swim, 1300m into the current but then after the left hand turn it was going to be a quick swim to T1. I knew I needed a good start and had to work hard to find some fast feet. I got smashed around a bit, pushed under, but was determined to hang on. Unfortunately I dropped off a bit, then the self talk started “you have to hang on!! Get back on!! Otherwise it is going to be a long solo 3.8km!” Thankfully, I was able to get back on after 1500m but had to work to stay there. In the end it totally paid off! Yes, it was current assisted so the time is irrelevant, but where it positioned me coming out of the water was much better than I expected and with in the first few miles of the bike I had come up on Nina Kraft who was the lead woman.
Unfortunately shortly after that I hit the railway line pretty hard and for some reason from then on I was unable to change down into the small chain ring! This was going to get interesting! Most of the hills are quite rolling so I would be able to use the momentum, but there were a couple where it was going to be a bit of a grind!
The first lap I focused on my nutrition and hydration. Setting myself up for the rest of the day as Nina and I exchanged places. Sometimes I would be at the front but when we hit a steep climb she was able to fly past as I continued with the grind in the big chain ring!
Just before heading onto the second lap is a long section of rolling hills and it was the perfect chance for me to get aero and go for it! So I did! The second lap was pretty crowded and the thought crossed my mind of skipping my special needs as it was going to be a challenge to get it. But I reminded myself, this was the goal for today, focusing on my nutrition! So I slowed down and the volunteers were fantastic. I was able to get it and continue on my way!
It was definitely the right decision!
I had no idea what was going on behind me through out the bike and during the ride back into town just kept my focus on my power (Thanks to my QUARQ) and nutrition.
Coming into T2 was pretty exciting and the first thing that comes to mind once I got there was “oh no…how will the legs feel!” running to pick up my transition bag I was pleasantly surprised, they actually felt okay. I took a bit longer in T2 than normal as I seemed to be having trouble putting my socks on, but eventually I was on my way to the massive cheers from the crowd and the adrenalin pumping!
As I was leaving 2nd place was entering! It was close! But I completely shut that out and kept my focus internal, get into a good rythym and take it one step at a time! A Marathon is a long way!
I felt quite good and was drinking at every aid station and getting a GU Gel in at every other! The road was pretty lonely on the first lap. Just me and my thoughts but every aid station was a party and they were all so encouraging!
At nearly 7 miles was the first chance I had to see what was going on behind me and by my calculations I had established a gap of 6mins. A Good start! Now to keep it going!
Heading back into town was amazing with the crowd cheering, although it was mentally tough running past the finish line. Seeing it, but knowing I still had another 21km to go before I could run down there.
Hitting 14 miles I knew this is where it all happens. This is where races are won and lost, in the next 10 miles. It would all come down to what is going on in between my ears…and my nutrition. I had slowed down to nearly a walk at the aid stations to get in everything I could, but continued to run well in between them. I just had to get to that last turn around…!!
At mile 20 I had seen I’d been able to maintain the gap to chasers. They were all close together though!! There was a tough battle going on! I started thinking to myself…6 miles to go….take take it 1 mile at a time! There were so many more people out on the course now, other athletes yelling out encouragement, it was so motivating!
The last few miles seemed to take forever!! I couldn’t look up because it seemed so long! I was looking slightly down and concentrating on my technique! The crowds begin to thicker, the cheers louder and finally when I made the last left hand turn before hitting the finish chute, I allowed myself to smile! YES!!
Guy was at the beginning of the finish chute cheering for me, I slowed down, and took it all in!
This is what it is all about!
This is what you train so hard for and dream about in every session!
There are so many Thank you’s and people I could not have achieved this with out there on going support. I have an amazing team behind me…..this is for you!
Guy, Mum and Dad…love you so much!
My sponsors and supporters it has been an incredible year so far! Thank you for making this all possible! CEEPO, Rolf Prima Wheels, and Challenge Tyres! SRAM, Quarq, Profile Design, ISM and Tri Town Boise completed the speed machine! BlueSeventy, Novatron, Ryders Eveywear, GU, %110 Play Harder, Super Ruth Chang, Computrainer, Rock Tape, Churchill Cycles Perth and Swish Design.
Triathlon and Ironman is all about being part of the family! 9 hours or 17 hours we are all out there together going through the same pain (some just longer than others!) Volunteers, race organises, family friends and supporters!
A special mention to my home stay Jacque. Before Ironman she was a home stay. Now she is a friend and it was very special sharing the finish line with you!!