It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 yrs since my last ironman (although my legs today are reminding me). There were many bumps (and potholes) along the way, but as they say, everything happens for a reason. I now have a new love for triathlon, and I couldn’t have been happier to be on the start line at Ironman China on Sunday.
The swim for me went as about expected. I did do some extra swimming around the course as the turning buoys were one of many fishing boats about 1000m out from shore…luckily I wasn’t too far off with my first pick.:) I came out of the water in 3rd place, fumbled a bit in the change tent as the Chinese volunteers stuffed my wetsuit in my transition bag on top of my bike helmet and bike gear. Uhhh…I might be needing those?
After a few km’s into the bike, I was passed by Belinda who was riding really strong and looking like a demon. I reminded myself I wasn’t doing sprint tri’s anymore, and put my blinders back on. Just about the halfway point of the bike, I could feel the temperature starting to soar and continued to drink as often as I could…13 bottles in total! I was beginning to think I was maybe a camel in a former lifetime.
I came into run transiton in 3rd place, 8min down on Ute Meukle, 16min down on Belinda with Abigail Bailey 2min back, and Jo King and Belinda Harrison chasing from behind. After about 12km, I passed Ute, but shortly after the effects of running a marathon on concrete started to become evident. Both of my quads were screaming at the top of their lungs for me to stop. I knew I still had 30km to go, but I also knew there were some strong runners behind me and I couldn’t let up. At this point, it really was a mind game. I thought to myself that everyone else was suffering as much as I was, and if I could keep shuffling along and not walk then I had a chance of making it to the podium. I also came armed to the race with some motivating words from my team mates and coach….my secret weapon when the going got tough. I had Bella in my head “wretching with effort” in South Africa, Chrissie in Australia saying, “Oh and my hammy did hurt. I ignored it”, Erika telling me “The race is in your legs already”, and the words from doc, “Endure what can’t be cured”.
The last 2 hrs of the race were the most painful of my life. But, as I said, everything happens for a reason. Not being able to race ironman for the last 5 years due to injury and many starts/stops has given me a whole new appreciation for triathlon. I never take for granted being able to train and race, and when the going gets tough, I know it’s never as tough as where I’ve been.
In the end, I did hang on to second place, and crossed the finish line in 10:37, Abigail 7min back, and Belinda probably already having coffee and her nails done. I was beyond happy coming across the finish line, but the one thought I had in my head was how lucky I am to be a part of this team, training with the best athletes and the best coach in the world.:) The wait was well worth it.:)))