We were greeted by a wet and cold morning in Penrith, certainly not my preferred race conditions. To ensure I didn’t make the same mistake as last year, I made sure to choose my transition spot wisely and spread my bright yellow towel out like a honing beacon. One positive about Covid-19 meant my transition spot was extremely spacious!
Before I knew it, everyone was lining up to get into the water and shivering due to the non-wetsuit swim. My swim started at a frantic pace as I was determined to follow fast feet. This newly adopted strategy did not pay off as I ended up swallowing way too much water while at the same time enduring a number of hefty blows from all sides. I knew I had to get out of the situation so I swam to the side where I had to make a quick vomdrop due to all the water I had swallowed, and ended up getting rid of half my English muffin which exited my body in projectile fashion!
Note to self, “next time try eat your breakfast all at once, instead of trying to combine both of the GPS Guru’s strategies and keep your mouth closed while following fast feet”. After composing myself and continuing the swim with a new wide route strategy, I got into a rhythm and was soon approaching the end of the swim. I finished the swim in a time of 17:32 and felt great as I ran out of the water and up into the transition area. T1 felt like a blur, and all I can remember is that I was suddenly on my bike racing alongside the lake.
Going around the first corner I had to slow down for another vomdrop; this time it was only water and I felt relieved that the last bit of the Nepean lake was out of my body!
The rain was still coming down, making for tricky bike conditions. I enjoyed how the bike course was 3 fast loops as it allowed for a bit of cheering and trying to get in some quick banter along the way! I drank quite a bit of Powerade/water mix on the bike and had one gel. I finished my bike leg in a time of 53:40, an improvement from last year, which I was particularly happy with considering the conditions. All those brick sessions trying my best to hang onto my coach, Nic Ward’s, wheel had paid off. I was feeling extremely grateful for all the time she has spent helping me improve on the bike.
As I entered T2, I knew this was the moment I could finally put last year’s rookie error to bed. With a steel minded focus thinking of all the advice I had received from Nic since last years debacle, I breezed through the transition, achieving a T2 PB, “Whoo hooo!”
The run seemed to fly by and before I knew it, I was on the second lap with the finish line ahead of me, feeling strong and grateful to be doing the sport I love surrounded by some amazing friends. I finished the run in a time of 45:36, which was another improvement from last year and good enough to earn me a podium finish. I owe this improvement to my incredible, supportive and all-round superwoman coach, Nic!
Overall, despite the conditions it was a great morning out and I left the Regatta Centre feeling fully redeemed. Thank you to Ward Coaching and Warringah Triathlon Club for all the help and support along the way. I feel honoured and extremely blessed to be part of such an incredible community.
2:30am start didn’t go down that well, I was on the road just after 3. Returned 5 minutes later to get my licence in case they asked for it (Event Rego, not Police....I drive like Miss Daisy). Halfway stop to hoover up some Overnight Oats and half a bottle of UCan and I arrived in Morpeth at 530.
The swim is in the Hunter and there was a beautiful mist hovering over it as I arrived into transition to get myself prepped. Gotta say I love the COVID rules - only 4 bikes per rack and we could leave all our bags in transition...plus a bucket to put my wetsuit in post-swim. I positioned myself next to the big tree so it’d be easy to find my bike. The pre-race warm-up run got ditched given I didn’t bring spare runners, but the yellow and pink Warringah striped t-shirt was spotted by @Anna Elliot and we had a quick chat instead.
The mist had cleared so I decided to go for the clear goggles rather than tinted as it was looking cloudy. Race error number one: the sun came out just before the start and, as we headed east down the river, I couldn’t see anything and almost swam into a barge on the riverbank. Fortunately I had some feet to follow and even when he did get away, the Swimmer clearly didn’t know which colour buoy to turn at so waited for me anyway. We hit the turn boy and my 10-minute watch alert still hadn’t gone off so I knew the tide must have been running fast. Lost a spot navigating the turn buoy to the guy tapping my feet so back to 3rd. Sat on the Tapper’s feet on the return trip and I arrived at the boat ramp at the back of our small group of 3, leaving the Swimmer and the Tapper to fight for swim line honours. Swim split was 23 minutes something.
Into T1 and it turns out there were 2 big trees. Ran down the wrong aisle, but fortunately it was only one aisle out and I was able to easily duck under the rail thanks to COVID spacing. Shoes clipped on the bike and even without elastic bands, I managed the mount without embarrassing myself too much. The Tapper was out and gone quick and the Swimmer looked like he might be in T1 for a while, so was heading out solo. Got up to speed and then struggled to put my shoes on, doing so in a similar speed to my 7-year old trying to tie her shoe laces. The bike is a 2-lap course with 2x 180 degree turns per lap, half a dozen corners and a few smallish hills. There’s just enough of a tailwind at the start on the way out of town for your to think you’re riding really well, until you hit the 180 turn around the 5k mark and your speed drops 5-10kph. Even having experienced the same thing last year, I was sucked into believing again. Plan was to try and ride around 90% of FTP as long as my heart rate stayed steady. With there being 3 events (Sprint, Olympic and Long) all running concurrently, I started to make my way past a steady stream of everything from disc wheels to mountain bikes. At the turn I saw the Tapper not far ahead and tracked him down over the next 5k. As I went passed, he checked to confirm which race I was doing, and whilst the thought crossed my mind of telling him I was just out for a Sunday coffee ride, I fessed up and it was on! At that point it dawned on me that I was actually leading a race for the first time (Friday Night Aquathon aside) since doing a 1k time trial at Enfield Harriers when I was 12. The Tapper stayed in touch and, as the rain started, we swapped turns on the remaining 15k. For the record, I was closer to 85% than 90% of FTP but it felt about right and my split was 1hr5.
Bit slow getting my socks on (but better than blisters) and out onto the run. 4-lap course on gravel with a few giant puddles to negotiate. Aim was to run 4 flat per k. The Tapper was off again and judging by his early pace, I wasn’t going to be catching him unless he slowed down. First k 4:05. Athlete 190, who was probably 2 decades younger, flew past doing mid 3’s. Assumed he must be in my race given I was 189. So guessing I’m in 3rd now and I won’t be seeing him again til the finish. 2nd k had to stop to get a stone out of my shoe; 4:25. 3rd k 4:20 and my lower back is stiff...maybe that warm-up run would have been a good idea. Settled into 4:10-4:25 over the next two laps as a few speedy Trisuits flew past me as I moved back to Completing rather than Competing. Heart Rate felt relatively easy, but the rest of the body and the mind didn’t want to push on. Saw Anna on my last lap and, after some mutual encouragement, I started calculating what I needed to run to go sub-2:15. Figured I should be sweet unless the course was long. Picked up the pace to 4 flat for the last k just in case. The 10k alert went off on my watch and I’m not home. Crap, it’s long...now I have to sprint and hope!
Squeezed across the line 18 seconds under and glad it was over. Beats me why anyone would enjoy these short-course races. Usually the bike is a weakness and the run is a strength, but definitely the reverse today. I actually really enjoyed pushing on the ride. Anyway, it turns out the Speedy Trisuits were all in the Long course, competing for spots at Worlds, and I got the last spot on the overall podium behind Athlete 190 and the Tapper. In true COVID style, the post-race medal presentation involved going to the registration tent to pick up your commemorative plaque still in it’s cardboard box. I celebrated with an extra large cappuccino and a drive to Woy Woy markets to see Melinda Wheatley and the kids. The kids weren’t particularly impressed with my achievements, but they left plenty of leftovers at lunch, so all-in-all it was a good day. And I can always rely on Strava for some kudos.
Special thanks to Nic and Bern and the team Ward Coaching for their help, expertise and encouragement over the last few months. And to Melinda Wheatley for letting me have nearly half the morning outdoor training slots most weeks, a trainer in the mancave and cooking triathlete-sized meals every night.
A last minute decision to take on the Elite Energy Little Husky Tri, saw me book a dodgy motel in Nowra where I was greeted with a certain herbal smoky smell upon check in and not much sleep due to the paper thin walls and the interesting characters/conversations in the surrounding rooms. I was more than happy for an early morning wakeup, coffee and to get down to the race early.
First post COVID race and what else would 2020 throw up but horrible and testing conditions. Torrential rain, 50 km/h wind gusts and 15 degrees!! A different experience with social distancing, masks, hand sanitiser at check-ins and transitions, no pre-race briefings and a spaced out transition area being a great positive considering the mess that my transition always is. This left me with a huge fear of going the wrong way on the swim course or getting lost somewhere on the bike
Considering the wind, the ocean was relatively calm providing a welcome change. Visibility wasn’t great due to all the rain but that’s probably for the better considering all the shark sightings of late. I came out of the water in a time of 24:48 by far a PB for me, feeling stoked and up the hill into T1 out of the wetsuit and trying all the tricks as shown by Bern and Nicole from Ward Coaching.
On the bike was when we really got to know how great the conditions were. At this point I was regretting my decision to take off my wetsuit and goggles as they would have been pretty handy on the bike in these conditions. The few turns out of town had all riders going extremely slow because of water across the road and into the wind. The road out was completely flooded at some points and on the second lap there were plenty of people whose races were over, walking their bikes back into town with their tail between their legs. Thankfully I made it back with no mechanicals. The course was 2 laps where we travelled through town and out to Falls Creek via Woolamia. I’m unable to comment on the beauty of the course due to pure concentration with head down bum up just trying to stay on the bike. Bike time coming in at 1hr15mins, which I was happy with considering to conditions.
Into T2 I struggled to unclip my helmet and gave myself a good talking to for not having elastic laces as I couldn’t tie my shoelaces due to frozen fingers. In the end we got there and out onto the run course
The run I could imagine on a nice day would be absolutely stunning and even in the rain was still beautiful. Off we went heading south towards Vincentia on an out and back course travelling past some beautiful blue beaches via the coastal path, which in places were completely covered in water, where running through you would be up to your ankles in water. After training for Ironman all year it was tough to get the legs moving fast off the bike. I was quite disappointed with the overall run time however I did manage to negative split for the first time as a positive with run time coming in at 42:25.
My first Husky tri will definitely not be one I forget anytime soon. There is some unfinished business there as I would really like to experience the event with some great weather and enjoy a few post-race cold ones in the pub with my fellow competitors. Overall my main goal was to break 2hr30mins and I clocked in at 2hr 27mins so I could walk away happy. It was so great to be back racing and I already cant wait for the next one… and hopefully a drier one. Thanks to Warringah Triathlon Club and Ward Coaching for all the support.
I was glad to have been given a 7:20am race start for the 20km (1 lap) race (other crazies did the 40km!) so not too early a morning start. With a plan to meet at Terrey Hills shops to ride to the start line, as my sense of direction can't be relied upon (thanks Logan!) it was a good warm-up for what was to come.
Helpful volunteers directed me to sign in and it was lovely to see some familiar faces. Rolling up to the start line, with a few tummy nerves, and a quick look at the electronic sign board with the numbers ticking closer to my start time, and before you knew it Deanna gave me the countdown and 'Go!'. A quick click into my pedals and I was off.
It was lovely riding through the National Park, although my eyes were concentrating mostly on the tarmac in front ... and the hills ... can't recall any mention of those hills in the 'Athlete’s Guide' and the map of the course looked completely flat, very deceiving. But for every ‘up’ there is a ‘down’, the positive of all those hills! Hearing the friendly cheers from cyclists going by encouraging me along gave me that extra motivation to keep going ~ that's Warringah Tri Club for you, surely got to be the friendliest club, not just the best.
Comforting seeing so many cyclists on the road, even if they were passing me by at great speeds, so I knew at least I was headed in the right direction. Reaching the halfway turn around point, was relief but a sense of dread that I had another 10km to go, with legs burning I started to regret having done the crit race at Heffron yesterday. At this point my 2 main thoughts were that everyone else here is probably feeling it and in the same boat, and more importantly, that I better get a job quick smart as this looks like a pricey sport with some of the get-up of my fellow racers.
Finding a steady cruising pace and telling myself to just keep it up to the end became my goal, with a little thanks to my brother for playing ‘The Power’ by Snap! in the car on the way here, as it was stuck in my mind as I hit home down the straight to the finish line.
Thank goodness it’s done … now looking forward to seeing you all at the next one! If you haven’t yet given one a go, sign up and give it a try - I bet you’ll then be back for more. A big thanks to WTC and MWCC for putting this event on and all the volunteers that made it happen.
Race report (Josh amberger style).
Woke up. Early. Why am I doing this again?
Out the house like a ninja, trying not to wake the kids. Parked up. Fixed bike up. Equal mix of nerves, and adrenaline. Oh I’ve missed that pre race feeling.
8km ride to start line with new ‘Tri-friends’. Equal chat about psi, champions league, and if any actors have starred in eastenders and coronation street. To be googled later.
As rode close to start line, looked like a millionaires bike parade. Serious Kit out there. SERIOUS kit. Aero helmets. Disc wheels. Full carbon TT bike. Full cat suits. So many middle aged men with too much money. Hang on. Is that me now? One guy on a turbo trainer on the side of the road. A TURBO TRAINER ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!
30 sec breaks between starters. Started to think about how many I’ll be able to catch.
Rolleed into starting chute. Here we go. Missed this feeling. El presidente counts down from 5 seconds. Here we go!
First 5km feel good. Surely only a matter of time before I catch someone. Front tyre feels a bit flat. Is it? Nah. Carry on. Only 40km. Will have done that in a bit.
Someone over takes me. Yeah, Keep riding, I’ll catch you in a bit sunshine. Didn’t.
I’ll definitely take over someone soon. Surely. Fair few hills in this course isn’t there? Should have put my TT bars on.
Yeah, pretty sure I’m losing more air now. Have I got all my kit? How do you use one of them gas canisters again? Do you have to stop it? Can I blow up the tyre? Can I be bothered? Overtaken again. Yeah, probably should, otherwise will buckle wheel. Let’s get the big hill done first. Do the hill. There’s the photographer. Good spot. Remember that for 2nd lap and get good photo.
Overtaken again. Make it to the turnaround. Feeling tired. Only 9km in. Could do with a rest. Time to change the tyre. Change Over not too bad. Will everyone think I’ve made this up to cover for being so slow?
Back on bike. Plenty of downs. Plenty of people over taking me. Making that stupid vrom vrom noise. Helicopters. Surely I’ll over take someone soon.
Hit next turnaround. Ok. Half way. Come on. Get it done. Feeling horrible. No rhythm. Keeping changing gears. Not a good sign. No power in legs.
Finally get sight of someone. This is it. My first pass. Hang on. Is he finished and warming down? Yes he is. Nice one.
2nd half pretty uneventful. Get passed a lot by the helicopters. I remember when I used to do that. Good times.
Absolutely nothing in the legs. Struggle up the hill again. Remember that there’s a photographer at the top. At least I can get a good photo for my mum. Zip up Yorkshire top. Ready for it. Here he is. Should I smile? Should I look in the zone? Should I pretend he’s not there? He doesn’t even take my photo. I call out. Common man? He says sorry. “Didn’t think you were racing”. Ultimate insult.
Onto the final leg home. 10km.
Having a friendly battle with the speed machine Mathilde. She passes me again. I gamble and shout ‘Allez allez’. Turns out she’s French. Well received. I eat her dust.
Why did I do this again? Ah yes. I wanted to see how unfit I was. Nice one. Wonder what I should call my ride on strava?
Struggle over the line at a crawl. Thank f%^€ that’s over. Think about hanging my punctured inner tube around my neck. Just to prove to new triathlon friends what happened. Didn’t.
See that guy on the indoor trainer on the side of the road again. Doing his cool down. Did he actually race? Or just stay there the whole time?
Quick sausage roll and chai latte at the end.
Home. Plenty of work to do on the turbo. Fun times ahead.
I’ve only recently joined Warringah Triathlon Club, having moved to Sydney in September last year. So I have been using the Manly triathlons as starting point to encourage me to get fitter and try to meet more people.
At my first Triathlon in November, I was so nervous and arrived 30mins before registration, I was confused at the format (with the killer 1.6km hill run after the swim), so I was just happy to finish it. What I loved most about it were the friendly people and the beautiful setting. Manly North Head is a special place for me as my Mother grew up living in the Quarantine station.
In December, I didn’t get the message about the fancy dress but would have definitely embraced it. I was even considering an Easter theme for the April tri! I felt like I was improving in my performance and didn’t even stop to walk during the hill run (a sign of my poor fitness).
Then for the February triathlon I awoke ready to go but saw the storm and presumed it was cancelled so disappointingly i went back to bed, and didn’t realise the competition was still on! I had been increasing my runs and was trying to cycle to work a couple of times a week so by the time March triathlon came around I felt excited.
The swim went well (I do love the shallow water which means that you can often cut the swimming short and wade) . I ran up the hill with (relative) ease and felt good by the time I got to the bike leg. I was focusing on using my shoes and push/pull method to pedal, and I was chasing another female competitor who really pushed me. I was so focussed by the time I made it to transition I’d completely forgotten there was a run leg!
At the point that I was running I realised that I might be able to place so I was focussed at trying to run as fast as I could, knowing that it is my weakest link. Then as I crossed the finishing line I was elated to know that I was the first over the line in my race, I was completely exhausted! Thank you to the lovely Club Captain (?) who not only lent me his bike pump but pumped up my tires, and for all the friendly people who have made me feel so welcome at Warringah, and Mona Vale Dental for the $50 voucher.dit.
The All Schools Triathlon out at Penrith on Wednesday was a great event that I feel privileged to compete in. It started as many often do, an alarm going off at a ludicrous hour of the morning, but the early morning and long drive was definitely worth it.
My event ran smoothly, although alterations in the swim course caused a bit of chaos. As usual I found myself lagging well behind out of the swim leg (About 40th) , but after increased training on the bike this year, I passed a few guys and was then able to split the fastest run time to scrape just inside the top ten (9th Overall). I was only aiming for the top 20 so I was definitely happy with the result.
Transition went smoother than last year, for a start the bike remained upright (I pride myself on this accomplishment). It was bloody hot out there.
After my race a heat related injury (not sure on the details) immediately suspended all racing, resulting in a chopper being called in, causing chaos for the junior athletes. The officials were definitely tested trying to get the races back under way, but the restart worked well and everyone was happy.
It was a great day full of racing, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope to get up to north head for the next club race.
My first Ironman 70.3 - I loved every single second of the whole experience and it couldn't have gone better.
Ironman really know how to do races, they make you feel like a queen from the minute you register, with the first timers bell (I screamed with excitement and HAD to get a selfie) to your personalised race pack and transition spot.
After several more selfies at the finish line and a small fortune spent in the gift shop, it was time to pack my transition bag, eat lots of carbs and get an early night.
It was a cool 13c on race morning and the water was so flat you could have walked on it. Thank goodness as my biggest fear that day was the swim. I'd only learned to swim a year ago and I'd had a rough swim at Cole Classic a few weeks ago that was haunting me. It was a rolling start due to mass amounts of sea urchins apparently - glad I found this out later! I placed myself at the end of group 3 as I didn't wanna go too slow and definitely not in with the speedies. This was a good call and I had a perfect swim. Spotted a lot of said sea urchins along the way and didn't even freak out, I just marvelled at how amazing it was that I got to swim with such creatures. My game plan for the swim was just to relax and keep it steady. Bubble, bubble, breathe. It was only a bit further than B&B, easy. I came out feeling amazing and looked at my watch- 40 mins!! I was so stunned, I even stopped to look at it again. I've never swum that fast.
Running into transition feeling like an absolute champ and a big smile on my face, I was ready for the bike. It was a decent 2 lap course with one real climb. I settled onto my bars and enjoyed the ride. All I had to do was 3 Thursday morning rides. Again, I could do that. Totally fan girled when Hannah Wells the female winner and Tim Reed and Crowie pasted me. How cool is triathlon, you get to race the same course at the same time as the pros. Started to hurt at 65km and the heat of the day was really starting to settle in. A coach once told me to always smile, even if it's only on the inside. I took this advice and smiled at every volunteer I passed and pushed through. The course was pretty empty at this point so I was happy to come to the end and back into town. I was definitely getting lonely! My amazing support crew were waiting for me the second I got back into town and gave me a much needed boost. Even shouting at me as I tried to walk my bike into transition 😂 "come on Caroline, jog it through"!
Now onto the run, which is my strongest leg, but I wasn't looking forward to a half marathon in the midday sun. I started off strong and tried to maintain that throughout, slowing to a walk a few times. Almost caved at 10km, I just didn't wanna do it anymore. Remembered my brother telling me I had to finish, I'd bought all the merchandise so I'd look silly with it if I didn't do it. Again that wise coach came into my head, telling me to smile (hope you read this Carm)! I spoke to the people around me, I ran through the aid stations, professing my love to them all. They returned the positive vibes which helped massively. Ice down my tri suit and buckets of water thrown at me in the splash zone also helped. I took it 1km at a time. Suddenly I was at 18km and the rest was downhill and through town, then 19km, then 20km where my cheer squad were waiting for me. It was then my turn to take that left and down the finishers chute. That tiny bit of juice that I kept in reserve for a fast and strong finish was released and I enjoyed every second of that red carpet. I hope I never forget that moment. I didn't have a target time but I did want to do around 7 hours. I dreamed I could get 6.30hrs and I did 6.29!! I definitely won my own race.
WTC proved we are a hearty bunch at the Square One Physio Triathlon in February. Cyclonic conditions didn’t deter 25 die-hard racers battling it out in a 3km, 6km and 9km run at North Head.
Slippery and boggy conditions on the track to Collins Beach ruled out the swim component of the race and as the Race Committee met on site to set up for a duathlon the wind continued to pick up, ruling out the cycle leg of the race as well.
Spirits were still high and some fancy dress gave the awesome volunteers plenty of giggles. Despite the solid rain, there were still plenty of smiles from competitors who claim it to be one of the most fun events they’ve competed in.
In the 3km race Alex Grell took the win while in the 6km race young gun Logan Campbell took the win from Pete Walker and physio Mitch Lockley. The women’s race had Laura Higgins a clear winner from Lauren Mason and Chloe Ovenstone. Chris Wallace was too dominant in the men’s 9km race taking the win from Brian Black and Sean Andrews while Mathilde Batailler took the win from Bonnie and Shannon.
Luke and Mathilde took out our club champs reimbursement while Shannon and Pete Walker won a 1hour massage from SquareOne Physio and Chris Harmer and Campbell Harrison won a $50 voucher from 99 bikes.
Our next race is the Mona Vale Dental Triathlon on March 9 – here’s hoping the weather gods are shining on us for another spectacular race.
Photos from Freshie Photography
The most stunning of locations and we were greeted on race morning with the most neutral of conditions. In a place that can blow a good wind there was no wind and it was about 10 degrees air temperature at race start. The lake was calm and the water temperature about 17 deg. Perfect conditions to race and suffer on a tough course.
For this race prep I had used Grant Giles from AeorMaxTeam as my coach as I felt I had stagnated as an athlete. Using Gilesy as my coach had been amazing not only physically but very importantly mentally. Gilesy and I go back many years are very much aligned when it comes to mind and vibe and I know I have progressed immensely under his coaching.
My mantra or mind set for the race was set for me to relax, reflect and appreciate the opportunity to race Wanaka. Specifically to keep the mind quite when it’s screaming or looking for self pity, force myself to concentrate on form and focus and generally give it to myself while smiling. I had done the work and had faith in the journey Gilesy had put me through to get here. Time to execute.
Swim - I’ve been doing a lot of swimming (compared to my usual) and Gilesy has kept me very honest with not just swimming but having a purpose in my sessions. For this race I was going to swim like I was a swimmer. Have confidence in the work I had done and give it some stick. I took off and felt great. Fast stroke rate and then into a nice rhyme for the rest of the swim. At no stage did I feel out of breath or uncomfortable. Got out of the water in 32 minutes which I was very happy with BUT the most amazing feeling was in that I was not dizzy or fatigued from my effort. I knew this was the result of the many K’s I had done in the pool and set me up perfectly for a great day ahead.
Bike - I got into T1 and pulled the wetsuit off and tried to lower the heart rate from the 400m run from the swim exit to T1. I always cycle with socks and as I attempted to put my socks on I realised I only had 1 sock. The other was missing. Typically this would have been a crisis or a possible distraction. Fortunately I always have 2 sets of socks in T1 in case of a mishap or mood change to the alternate set. I quickly put on my spare pair and off I went with some relief. Leaving T1 in Wanaka there is an out and back. This out and back section is extremely lumpy and on very hard coarse roads. There is no hot mix and you have to work very hard to keep any momentum. I got comfortable and started sipping my Infinit and let the cyclists around me push the huge watts leaving town. I had been instructed in my rides to be smart and control the watts on the climbs. This is exactly what I did. Was not long before my first technical mishap. My Garmin powered itself off and would not come back on. Again, reminding myself of the moment and to stay cool I did not flinch and just left it off. I was ready to race the remaining 75K on feel. I had done so much riding that this was not a problem. For the remainder of the ride I rode on soul and appreciation. I smiled as I got ridden past by faster riders and encouraged those I went past. Positive energy is reflective and I absorb a tone of it when I race. : ) The Haweai flats were fast and open as usual and it was around here that I planned to turn on the pace. It’s about 55K into the race and about the time you should be ready to take advantage if you have paced well. I ripped in and was amazed at how awesome I felt. Back to easy on the climbs and then faster and harder on the flats and down hills. The course has changed from the last couple of years. They have introduced a new out of town section and also a longer harsh road section on the way back. It’s now also 91.5 K of honest riding. Anyway, I had a massive smile as I approached T2 and had a feeling I could be in for a special day.
Run - I no longer use elastic laces and am also a new user of Hoka shoes. It’s something new for me and the feel of the new shoes. This was my first time racing in them. Anyway, I got off the bike and my legs were great. Racked the bike, put the shoes on, fuel belt with my Napalm nutrition, cap on and off I went. Saw Anna as I left T2 and her smile put me in an even better place. I’m not a fast starter so moved aside as we left Wanaka centre and ran out towards the marina. Felt amazing and looked at my watch and saw 4m45sec pace and was hoping my current feelings and pace would hold. About 1 K into the run a guy who looked about my age caught up to me and we ran next to each other for 4-5K. He would stop at each aid station and I would keep going after picking up water. He would quickly catch up and run past me. Every time he ran past me I would keep him just in front of me as a prompt or perhaps a reminder of running my own race and not giving in to a better runner. The run in Wanaka is stunning and brutal. Many many ups and downs and the way you feel now could be very different to the way you feel in 10-15mins. I had faith in my training and preparation so I kept chipping away. I overtook many runners whose day was perhaps not like mine. I shared a few taps on the arse and words of encouragement to these runners but nobody came with me. Anyway, we left the trail and approached the infamous Gunn Road. This hill is insane. As you come out of the trail section there is a false flat and then the mother of all hills on bitumen. It climbs for about 1K from bottom to top. Every time I race here I make a point of running Gunn Road. A sense of beating it per say. It’s also about the 11K mark in the run. The guy who had been in front of me was still in front but he was now walk/running the hill. I ran past him on the hill as we got to the top and we exchanged words of encouragement. From the top there is another section of 3-4K on gravel that is false flat and exposed to wind and sun. He again pulled away from me but I stayed close by. At the 15K mark I pulled up right behind him and actually questioned myself about how amazing I was feeling. In the past I would have probably sat behind him or even self doubted myself but not today. It was here that I got quite emotional in how awesome I was feeling. It’s GAME time in a Long Course triathlon and where races can turn bad for you or perhaps you shine like a star and get the race you deserve. I had to remind myself that I deserved to feel this good and quickly regathered myself to refocus on my form and the remaining 4K. The last 4K hurt as I expected but I held on and finished with nothing left.
1. Mind preparation is key. If using a coach you have to trust and then trust again the journey you are on. In previous races my race week was basically a week of doing no physcial activity. With Gilesy I kept training right up to the day before the race. The right intensity and the right pace. A good coach will know how to NOT fatigue you before a race but rather keep you engaged and your body activated
2. Be prepared for the unexpected. Don’t ruin your race by not being prepared for a curve ball. My Garmin failed. No problem. Keep going and have faith. My sock was missing, no problem as I’ve got a spare pair. I attribute being able to being able to cope to being mentally prepared to race and embracing the journey and not looking at the result. The eventual result is a by product of the journey and in getting to the race and executing according to situation/weather and state of mind.
3. Overcoming injury. Four weeks before race day I injured my calf doing speed work. Yep, I was concerned when it seemed to not get better. I had it treated with needling and together with Gilesy removed speed work from my program. The aim had changed to now starting the race and not doing the aquabike. Up till the week before the race I was contemplating changing over as I could not run as I wanted. I could run 8-10K but the calf was sore. I held faith in my recovery and training and committed to Long Course on the 8th Feb. The lesson learnt here is to not beat yourself up mentally. Stress etc. does NOT help recovery or the injury. Stay calm and take it as it comes. I was fortunate as my calf held out during the run and I appreciate my good fortune.
4. Never give up when racing. Plan your race and execute. Let nothing distract you from your execution. Leave your ego at your hotel. If your race plan is sound and you have faith in your journey it will come together. At no stage did I chase anybody or feel angry if anybody overtook me. I had my plan and I was sticking to it. Cyclists and runners went past me but NEVER did I give up hope on me catching up when the time was right. I had complete and utter faith in my journey and plan.
5. Have faith in your nutrition. Like a high performance car you need to fuel right. Regardless of the weather you got to keep drinking or eating. I have complete and utter faith in my Infinit nutrition. At no stage throughout the race did I have anything else apart from water. I had planned this perfectly and the only consumed water to wash out my mouth or clean myself on the bike.
6. Thank the volunteers. As I say, positive energy is reflective. When it comes back at you grab it and don’t let it go. It helps when it really starts hurting.
7. Stay strong mentally from 60K on the bike and 12K on the run. These are the zones whereby mental and physical fatigue takes hold. If you have done the work and have fed well it’s time to party. At Wanaka it’s where I planned to execute my strengths and it worked. I ripped in and felt amazing.
Swim: 32m 11 sec
T1 4m 47 sec
Bike 2hr 45m 09 sec
T2 2m 53 sec
Run 1hr 44m 17 sec
Total Time 5hr 09min 19sec
2nd in Age Group 50-54