As of Sunday, I am officially a triathlete! I have always shyed away from this term leaving it for people much fitter and better looking in lycra than me! However, after Sundays effort I feel like I have now earned this title!
We headed into Port Macquarie on Saturday morning to scope out the bike course as I had read the roads were rubbish and the course quite hilly. On the drive in I kept saying to Nate it can’t be THAT bad, I mean we have ridden around Mudgee – how bad could it be?
There was one section of hot mix that lasted around 300m and the rest was dead road with a spattering of pot holes that had been filled and refilled.
It was going to be a bumpy ride.
My main goal was to try and stay down on my bars for as much of the ride as possible – I have never felt really confident on them so this was going to be a bit of a test. I knew the best way to approach it was to just not think about it.
We headed to registration and off we went to rack our bikes in transition – with me stopping at the Shimano mechanics to get them to check my tyre pressure. LUCKY – apparently my front wheel wasn’t done up properly and it would have most probably fallen off mid ride… I will ALWAYS stop at the Shimano tent.
Afterwards we jumped in the swim entrance and had a quick swim to get a feel for the water before heading home – sunburnt. Not exactly ideal but there was nothing I could do about it now!
I slept terribly on Saturday night, after tossing and turning for a few hours I bit the bullet and set myself up on the lounge so at least poor Nate could have a peaceful sleep!
I flicked on the TV, watched The Hangover and fell asleep about 12ish.
My alarm went off at 4am (VOM) and I jumped straight up. Coffee, breakfast, quick check of the bag and off we went.
Swim Leg (33:31 – 15th AG):
Nate headed off in the wave before me, as soon as the horn sounded we were hearded to the start line.
One girl yelled out “Goodluck Girls” then we all wished each other good luck. It was a nice way to start the race as we all encouraged each other.
Horn sounded and away we went.
It was a relatively uneventful swim. I found some space and just swam. Nothing flash (my swim is nothing flash!) focussing on controlled breathing and long smooth strokes. I have realised that I am better off swimming slightly slower for a lot less energy than expending a significant amount more for probably 1minute or so gain. I am putting this down to
no poor technique.
I exited the swim feeling fresh and relaxed.
I spotted The Meat Trays and my family and gave them a wave… downed half a gel, quick sip of water then Sirius and I headed on our way.
Bike Leg (03:07:03 – 3rd AG):
As soon as I jumped on Sirius, 1 of my water bottles came loose and spilled all over my foot before eventually falling out completely. Not ideal!
My aim for the bike was to stick around 30km per hour. I knew I was strong on the bike but I had no idea how I would fair for 90km on a hilly course. I didn’t want to go too hard on the bike so I thought this pace was achievable while still leaving enough in the tank for the run (ha!)…
I was overtaking people on the hills and took a lot of confidence from this. I was being over taken on the downhills however, so I decided on the 2nd lap to not think about falling off unless it happened! I couldn’t afford to overtake people on the uphills just to have them come flying past on the downhills!
I hit the first turn around feeling good, keeping a nice high cadence and settling into a rhthym. I took my first gel here – well about 3/4 of it. I just can’t stand them. As soon I had it I felt quesy.
Heading back into town on to Matthew Flinders Drive AKA hill of death, where they lay out carpet so people can clip out and walk up. The first time up it took me by surprise – I had really underestimated just how steep it was. I grit my teeth and got through it though telling myself I only had to do it one more time.
2nd lap – relatively uneventful, at the turn around we came into a headwind that made the ride a little tougher! I was still feeling good however, I had a feeling I hadn’t eaten enough… at about the 75km mark I started to tire and knew I had left it too late to get enough food in before the run. I told myself it was too late, if I ate now I would be sick on the run (oh Brooke – you have no idea!).
Climbed the hill of death 1 more time and made my way back into town.
Scored some bindies in my feet as I ran through transition and lost my bike rack… ugh! After a minute if searching I found where I was supposed to be. I had even taken note as I ran INTO T2 but for some reason I ran away from my transition area?!
I thought about popping a gel here but thought it would sit funny in my belly and hurt my run (oh Brooke – you have no idea!).
Out of T2 and into the run…
Run Leg (02:16:48 – 12th AG):
I knew coming off the bike I hadn’t gotten my nutrition right but I really underestimated how much this would affect me! I had underestimated just how much this leg would hurt too!
I started with a 5:08/km pace and very quickly that dropped to 5:45/km which very quickly hit about 6:02/km and walking through every aid station.
Nate passed me just after the first aid station – I told him I was struggling as he zoomed past. I thought he must’ve been on his 2nd and final lap and felt really deflated. Little did I know he actually got a flat at the bottom of the hill at Matthew Flinders Drive and I had beaten him home on the bike leg!
After this I knew I had to get fuel in – whichever way possible.
So I scoffed watermelon, electrolyte drink, water, banana anything I could get my hands on!
The irony is that I couldn’t stomach gels and I hadn’t wanted to eat solid food towards the latter half of the bike because I thought I would struggle to run with food in my belly – and here I am on the run course having a bloody sit down meal!
I really struggled through the first lap. I passed a guy who was being helped by an ambulance and thought, I could just stop here and they would help me too. I had doubts I would make it, but I also knew I didn’t want to give in!
A little girl handed me Vegemite on a stick – life saver! As gross as it sounds, after so much sugar it was exactly what I wanted.
2nd lap – still struggling and walking through every aid station. I stopped to walk a bit further down the road and an older guy ran up beside me and told me we were going to run to the finish, we probably had about 4km to go. This was exactly the kick up the bum I needed! We ran together for a while until he pulled away as I just had nothing in the tank.
We hit the final hill and I caught up to Jan (the guy who told me to run) and he was walking. C’mon I said – you told me we were running until the end so that’s we’re doing!
I think the Coke must have kicked in at this stage, as I managed to run the last 2km (downhill) in a much more respectable pace of 5:33/km.
As I hit the red carpet I saw my family – gave them all high-5’s and shuffled over the finish line!
That’s when I saw Nate waiting for me – I gave him the biggest hug and cried tears of joy. Which I have never actually experienced before! It’s a weird sensation but kind of cool!
Finish Time: 06:02:59 – 8th AG
Not quite the time I had hoped for but for my first long distance triathlon I am still stoked.
I had a great, relaxed swim, crushed the bike and fell apart in the run.
I know that my nutrition (or lack of) had a big role to play in my awful run. After the race I realised I only had 1 bottle of sports drink, 1/3 banana and 2 gels on the bike and I know this wasn’t enough.
Aside from this I also need to get used to running on tired legs, I know this is as much mental as it is physical.
Overall I am stoked with mine and Nates effort and I can’t wait to see how much I can improve next race.
FYI Nate crushed it:
Overall Time: 05:34:45 – 31st AG
Swim: 00:32:26 – 40th AG
Bike: 03:16:45 (with a flat!) – 52nd AG
Run (SMOKIN’!): 01:40:37 – 14th (!!!) AG
I promise I will have more recipes soon too!
I would also like to say a MASSIVE thank you to my family and friends for making the effort to come and stand in the sun just to watch us come past every hour or so! You guys made the day that much more special! THANK YOU!