IMWA was my first Ironman, and was very excited to be racing in my home state with all my family there for support. Nerves got me the morning of race day, trying to force down my pre-race gel at T -10mins to go. Gave my family a wave good bye and my fiancé a final kiss and gut wrenching hug and I was on my way. My younger brother (Nathan, also competing in his 2nd IM) and I headed down to the start line.
The 3.8km swim never seemed so daunting leading up to the race, however, Sunday 7th Dec the Busselton Jetty never looked so long! One last nervous glance at Nathan with a quick hug and suddenly the race gun had gone off. The start was nothing less than a washing machine of arms, legs and bodies thrashing around for the next 500m. I had forgotten my goggles when heading down to Busselton, luckily borrowed a spare pair from my brother, and had only had a quick swim the previous day to test them out. During the IM swim I couldn’t get suction or see through the goggles, they were filling with water instantly. I stopped and flipped the goggles the other way which did help, and could now get suction on the left eye only – that would have to do! I continued swimming with one eye until I finally saw the clear aqua water again with schools of fish under me. I knew this meant the shore was near. My energy levels were still high and I felt fresh exiting the water in 1:16, ready for T1 and that 180km bike ride.
After the flurry of T1 I was very happy to see my bike (love my Trek Speed Concept!) and my family was there to see me out of the bike pen. Found my happy place on the bike within the first 5km, and focussed on the overall time showing on my Garmin, rather than speed and distance. I knew that nutrition was the most important part of this next 6 hours and keeping an eye on the clock to know when to eat/drink was my only thought (alternating between 2x gels and 1x vegemite sandwich each hour with alternate water and Gatorade). If I focussed on speed and distance I knew it would send me to a dark place mentally, especially when it starts dropping off later in the ride and seeing those km’s tick off ever so slowly. My fiancé had strategically found a lonely place on the course to bring my siblings along for support – it was the best surprise! Towards the end of the ride I started getting quite bored with the course and tried playing some mental games with myself. Before long, I was entering the town again with the family cheering for me, and was ever so happy to hand my bike over to the lovely volunteer – finishing the bike leg in 6:16.
Running into T2 I started doing mental checks over my legs and trying to judge how they were feeling. “Quads good, calves good, hamstrings good, stomach good” – excellent, everything has gone to plan! Quick lather of sunscreen, visor and drink bottle ready. Running is my preferred discipline, and all I thought running out of T2 was “Right, it is my time to shine, I have got this!” The family was right there waiting for the happy snaps and they got them!
Again, I set my Garmin to only show overall run time and heart rate so I couldn’t get bogged down over pacing, and could also focus on when to take gels, water etc. (sipping 1x gel at 5, 15, 25 and 36km. Alternating sport drink and water at aid stations). My body doesn’t respond well with heat and knew that running with a water bottle to sip between aid stations would help me tremendously – which it did. I ran to feel and the first 15km I felt strong. After the 15km, it was a steady decline in muscle energy but could still run and only walked through aid stations. I was waiting for my body to start hurting and was grateful to get a good 15km out of the way before the real fun started. A good friend from work was also racing and we happened to find each other and run together for almost 16km, which was the last lap and a half for me. This was a HUGE bonus and made those km’s tick by very nicely as we talked about the day, how we were feeling and helped each other start running again after aid stations. Throughout every lap my family was consistently there cheering me on as well as the Tri Club, Break Your Limits in their team marquee.
I was ever so grateful to the guy who gave me my fourth and final wrist band – I asked him to please throw out my drink bottle I had been sipping on during the 42km and was ready for that red carpet. As I was fixing my race number to the front of my body (got to have a good finishers shot), I overheard Pete Murray call my name out and mention that I was third in my AG – I had no idea during the entire race! My pace picked up and the grin drew wider, high fiving everyone I could through the chute I had never felt so elated. Watch saying a run time of 4:36. This was the best feeling in the world, what a huge reward for all the hard work put into training over the previous 6 months.
I crossed the line in 12hrs 20mins 7sec, and could not have been happier with the day. Have already looked at signing up again for IMWA 2015 J
Coaching through Karmea suited me perfectly. All coaching was done by correspondence through Training Peaks and the regular phone calls from Sarah Anne to catch up, with any other questions being sent via email. This way I could train when I wanted to and didn’t have to commit to a time and place with a group, giving me more flexibility to try and have a social life as well as continue working full time. I felt ready for IM in the weeks leading up to the day, which is all due to the great program and support offered by Karmea.