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.