Archive | November, 2015

Noosa Triathlon – Smiling for Smiddy

1 Nov

Two weeks ago a friend got her biopsy results back – breast cancer. This week she had a mastectomy.

Friday… yes, just a couple of days ago, my Uncle had his kidney removed due to a tumour that had decided to make its home there.

I remember Tiff, wife to Pete and mum to 2 gorgeous little children (Sofia and Paddy), taken far too soon from bowel cancer.

These are just three of many…

This is why I participate in fundraising events to continue to support those who have an unfortunate meeting with this disease, and to help provide finances to those smart people finding treatment and cures. I participate because not everyone can. I participate to show those who think they might be able to – that if I can, they can. I’m not fast, but I am determined. The pain I feel during an event is nothing compared to what those who have cancer go through – only they don’t have a choice.

So how did it go?

My cheer squad - Dave, Dad and Mum

My cheer squad – Dave, Dad and Mum

Well, it all kicked off after well wishes from the cheer squad – Dave of course, but also Mum and Dad had flown up from Adelaide to see the event this year – what a treat!

For the first time in race history, the swim was an ocean swim from Noosa Main Beach. I was a little anxious about an

ocean swim but two practice ocean swims helped ease this anxiety (in addition to all my pool training that is). I have to say it was an absolutely beautiful swim. The water was crystal clear. There were even some cool fish to see. I had done a short practice swim before the race start with Kim and as the starter’s hooter went off (thanks Dawn Fraser) I hit the water feeling pretty confident. I didn’t even mind getting kicked a bit. I refused to check my time during the swim – I just continued at a pace that I was happy and comfortable with. In the latter part of the swim I even found myself catching up with a few from the wave before, and finished in my wave pack, securing a PB in the swim leg. I do however need to practice my Baywatch type water entry and exit…

At the start with Kim

At the start with Kim

From the swim it was a longer transition than last year as we had to get from the ocean through Noosa’s main strip and into our bike racking area. It was 500m in total – the first 100m or so was up the sandy beach (which looks lovely but is pretty hard going running in).  I saw Kim briefly as I approached transition and she left – heading out on her bike already – amazing lady! I rinsed the salt and sand off, grabbed my bike gear and headed for the bike exit.

On the bike – woo hoo! Mum, Dad and Dave found me in the sea of Smiddy and cheered me on. Then the first time past the Smiddy tent – always plenty of encouragement to be found there (thank you especially Bertwistles!). A matter of seconds later I had to quickly swerve to avoid running into a cyclist who unfortunately met a fence a little too close up (he went over the fence and his bike didn’t!) – it was a horrible feeling to keep riding when all I wanted to do was stop and help.  As I started my ride I noted I was sitting around the 30km/hr mark which is really good for me. I was a little concerned that I wasn’t going to have legs for the infamous Noosa Hill but I carried on, hoping for the best. As I approached the bottom of Noosa Hill the first pain hit… like a knife slicing right through my right hand side and then going back in again. This was the first “uh-oh” moment. Physically I was feeling good – my legs were good, my heart rate was fine, I was feeling confident… but suddenly I couldn’t draw a full breath from the pain.  I kept pedalling and made it to the top of the hill. The turn-around point (20km) seemed to take forever to come. I was still able to maintain a solid speed, but the pain in my side was getting worse.  I rode past three ambulances and was sorely tempted at each time to stop and ask for assistance (The last time I felt pain similar to what I was feeling was when I ruptured an ovarian cyst…) Eventually, I decided that if the pain caused me to vomit I would stop, but without vomiting I would continue. I would just try and ride out the pain – literally… So I continued. I was so pleased to see the end of the ride, however dismounting the bike caused me even more pain. I walked my bike into transition. I did however, manage to still achieve a PB on the bike – something that amazes me.

The bike to run transition is much easier – a change of shoes and a change of hat and it was time to head off. Pain simddybecame extremely limiting on being completely vertical. The semi-hunched position on the bike was far better for managing my symptoms. By now though I had decided I was definitely not quitting and commenced what would become a 10km walk.  I saw Mum, Dad and Dave and told them that I could be a while… Walking past the Smiddy tent I was bawling – they were so encouraging but I felt completely defeated. I had come into this event better prepared than last year and was therefore so keen to do a PB. However, I felt that dream come crashing down and I was devastated. People on the run route are so very encouraging – having your name on your bib helps with that.  I was cheered along by fellow Smiddy competitors, my co-worker Hamish, and the general public as I tried to keep moving as fast as I could, slightly hunched and guarding my right side, but walking.  It felt like the longest 10km I’ve ever done. At about the 8.5km mark Mum and Dad found me and walked along side me for about a kilometre (before the crowd got too thick) and I greatly appreciated their company and support. They have travelled such a long way to see this event and I felt like I’d failed by not running the 10km, but to have their company in the final stretch was invaluable. My slightly altered gait (again due to pain) had resulted in numerous blisters so pain had started to attack me from another side. It was in the “run” leg that I really started to think about those affected by cancer – and the pain and other symptoms they have to deal with regularly. If they can do it, there is no way that I was stopping now. In the last 500m some fellow Smiddy competitors caught up to me and encouraged me to run to the end with them. Every step was painful, but the finish line was so close, so the final 500m became the only running of the 10km for me. But, I had finished. I was done.

More of a grimace than a smile but finished!

More of a grimace than a smile but finished!

Official results are pending but by my Garmin I did it in 3:51 (last year was 3:36).  In the scheme of things being only 15mins slower despite walking the whole run leg isn’t too bad.  Additionally, I completed my second Olympic Distance Triathlon.  Not everyone can say that. There are far more important things to get upset about in life than not doing a PB on an event (even though it does hurt a little) – and it is for this reason that I now dust myself off, pick up the pieces… oh and get a little more pain relief on board…

In closing…

Chris – this event was for you. I’m praying for you and your beautiful family. May you recover completely and may your return to full health come soon!

Uncle Brian – you didn’t need that kidney anyway… Love you. Praying you too heal quickly.

Remembering Tiff and the Cooper and Coco families – often in my thoughts and prayers.

I also remember all those who I’ve looked after with cancer and their families and of course, the Smiddy family who have lost Adam, and now Maria.

May we continue to make inroads into treatment and cures for this disease!

When the going got tough the praying got more intense. You guys were in my thoughts from the start to the finish. To all those who have supported me financially or emotionally, I so greatly appreciate it.