Sarah & Daniel Howitt are not new to Ironman racing, infact Daniel's dad, Rob, competes in Ironman triathlons too. Now they have a one year old daughter Emma and like parents often do, they thought they would add to the chaos of life with a baby and decided to train for an Ironman (or two) together! We asked them to both talk about their Ironman Melbourne 2015 experience.
WTC Members 5 & 19 years
Raced: Ironman Distance
Age Group: 30-34 (both)
Why triathlon? We absolutely love the sport. It is a way of life for us.
Triathlon goal for 2015: To finish 2 Ironmans - one down and one to go…. Ironman Canada Here we come!!!
Why this race? Seemed like a good idea a year ago. 1 year ago we welcomed our beautiful daughter into the world and this Ironman seemed like the perfect way for us to get back into Ironman racing. The point to point run intrigued us and riding out on the freeway was something we were both really keen to experience. Plus Melbourne is a great place for our support crew (parents) to visit as well.
SUMMARISE THE COURSE:
Swim: Was actually beautiful (wasn’t expecting it to be like this). Watching previous coverage of this race we weren’t sure what the swim was going to bring but this year it was quite flat, clear and the rolling start ensured a less crowded experience.
Bike: Beautiful smooth road surface but it wasn’t a very picturesque. Cycling on the Eastlink freeway was definitely an experience. Battling into the wind in one direction was character building but then having the wind behind you in the other direction was fantastic. Overall the course is a fast bike course. Great place to do a PB.
Run: Point to point run from Frankston to St Kilda. It was good in some respects as you feel like you are running with a purpose from one place to another however I think it is also quite lonely and very challenging for spectators. I (Sarah) only saw my family twice on the run – at about 2km and then at 41km. That is a lot of time without really seeing anyone. It is mentally tough not seeing family members regularly. Not knowing when you are going to see people you know can be difficult to get your head around especially when you are going through a rough patch.
Favourite part of the race: Both of us found the last 45km of the bike great (nice big tail wind). Also Last 1km of the run – there is no greater feeling than running down the M-dot carpet in the finishing chute of an Ironman.
How did your race pan out? All things considered we both had quite good races. We had a very different Ironman prep this time around. Trying to both train, work and look after our new daughter was challenging. We certainly weren’t able to get in as much training as we have for past Ironmans but were able to get most of our key training sessions done with the help of our amazing families i.e. 4am baby sitters.
Sarah: My race started pretty well – my swim was OK but most importantly I enjoyed it and managed to conserve lots of energy by swimming within myself. I was really pleased with my bike. Heading out on the second lap was really challenging as we were heading into a strong headwind. I just tried to keep calm and be patient and was looking forward to the assistance I was going to get as soon as I made the turn. The last 45km of the bike was fantastic. Having the tailwind was amazing. My run started off really well. I felt great for the first 25km then things started to get difficult. I was super proud of myself for holding things together to finish the race off. I was overall extremely happy with my race.
Daniel: It was a stress free morning arriving at transition before it opened and found myself near the front for the rolling start swim. It was a tough swim start with a long wade before I found feet to sit on for the next 50-odd minutes. I felt good at coming out of the water and had a smooth transition. Out on the bike I felt like I was off course, no one in front of me and no one behind me. I conserved early knowing there’d be a headwind next time out. I enjoyed the bike until getting chicked by a very quick WTC member. The relief of getting a bike seat out from between your legs is countered by the realisation of a 42km run. Felt great on the run and was motivated knowing there were WTC athletes up ahead. Hitting halfway was where things got tough and I begun walking aid stations. They seemed to get further and further apart. Set myself a goal of not walking from 36km and while its wasn’t fast, I was still catching plenty which gave me motivation. The final km took an eternity but once rounding the bend into the chute I couldn’t feel anything. Not ashamed to say there were tears, it had be a long challenging preparation but I was so stoked to get to the line in under 10hrs. It was the goal at the start of the day and I’d made it with a few minutes to spare!
Lowlight from the day: Not seeing my family throughout the run. (Sarah)
What I learnt: Patience is key in Ironman. Have a race plan and try to stick to it. (Sarah)
How long to get there? Pretty easy journey. Took a couple of hours. Actually flew into Avalon Airport – which was really easy (no lines etc when we arrived). Hired a car and then drove to St Kilda.
Where did you stay and what was it like? We stayed at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Great location – walking distance to Ironman expo etc and close to all the cafes in St Kilda.
Would you return or what other accommodation options would you recommend? Yes I think we would return.
Favourite place to eat? Abbey Road and Rococo
Other things to do in this location (apart from the race)? What!!! There are other things to do other than race??? Seriously… exploring the Coffee culture in Melbourne is great. Shopping, Shopping, Shopping. I didn’t really get a chance to do much of this but would definitely do more of this next time!
Highlight of the race and the event overall? Highlight of the race was finally seeing our daughter when we started the run. And seeing her and our families post race!
Would you return? Yes