Archive | February, 2017

Tweed Enduro Race Recap – 1.9/90/21.1 (70.3)

26 Feb

Perhaps best summed up by spectator sign “This seemed like a good idea 4 months ago”…

I came into Potty a mix of excitement and a fear… while I knew I am at my fittest ever, I also knew I had never attempted to do anything like this before (obviously…).  While I was confident I could make each of the disciplines individually, I just had no idea how I would go combining them.  Potty is touted as a great first-timers 70.3 (that’s the number of miles of a half ironman).  It has a wave for first-timers (which I signed up to), claims to have a downhill swim (ie tide assisted), a flat bike and a flat run.  So with this all in mind, I signed up, trained hard and showed up at the start line.

Pre-race I wasn’t feeling too bad. While I definitely had moments where I seriously thought I might vomit, on the whole I was fairly calm as I hit the start line.  Having friends and family around to chat normally also helped (and I could pretend I wasn’t just about to embark on some crazy distance event)!

My start was scheduled 8.32am.  I told Dave I hoped to see him at the other end in about swim40mins – the time I anticipated doing the swim in. As we had our final briefing and went into the water we had a little chat to the lifeguard there.  He informed us that sadly the tide hadn’t actually quite turned and it was going to be a bit of a hard slog into the current. D’oh! He suggested that the tide would be turning a few hundred metres into the swim, and that we would then be met with calm water before finishing with a bit of tide assistance… I’m not convinced. Still, as the hooter sounded we were on our way. I was really happy with how I was swimming, though noticed everything flowing under me suggesting I was definitely swimming into the current. There were plenty of fish to see and the water was a nice temperature. Being a creek/river swim there were no waves to worry about so this was a huge bonus for me! I do admit though that I did feel that the swim was going forever!! My new tri-suit was rubbing on my neck, so I was trying to shift my breathing from 2 to 4 strokes to try and limit the friction.  I then found my goggles started to become a little full of water. Mid stroke I tried to empty them to no avail so decided just to carry on.  As a result I swum a little of my swim with my eyes shut – sighting occasionally but mostly trying to keep the stinging salt water out!  As I swum under the bridge I knew there was not far to go.  1.9km – 47:25 was slower than I wanted to do – but I was still happy with it (and especially happy later to hear so many others found it a tough gig and did much slower times than the exact same swim last year – what a relief it wasn’t just me!).

From the swim to the ride the transition didn’t seem as far as I thought it was (bonus!).  I took a moment to rinse off my feet, popped on my shoes and headed out with my bike. Just over a 4 min transition for me here.

Out on the bike – I was actually pleased to hit this leg. Last year I rode in a team so I knew roughly what to expect from the course. It was 4x 22.5km laps in an L shape. As I set off I noticed we had pretty solid head winds…. At least I hoped it was a headwind and I wasn’t just tired…  I had seen the forecast for some wind so I had mentally prepared myself for this happening. As a result, I decided I just had to tuck in, use the aerobars (thanks family) and just tough it out.  At about the point where I was wondering if I really could keep toughing it out I saw the corner – and for the first time, found some smooth road! As I rounded bikethe corner I was relieved to find that some of the wind abated – relieved because it meant that I wasn’t as tired as I feared – there were indeed winds to contend with. Now that I was out of the wind I took on some nutrition and headed for the couple of smaller hills and the turn around. While the hill wasn’t steep I got up out of the saddle to crest it just to stretch the legs out a bit.  I noted some cross winds just before and after the turn around but they weren’t too bad.  I knew given I had a headwind out, it was a tail wind home, so I started to look forward to that.  As I turned the corner for the stretch into the end of lap one I wondered if sitting up off the aerobars would help… I pondered if it was like putting up a sail to catch the wind… I did it anyway, deciding to use it as a bit of a chance to stretch out a bit.  I had seen my mate Ki not far ahead of me at the turn, and I was amazed to find that I caught up to her on this back straight.  After a quick chat about how horrendous the wind was I passed her… which didn’t last for long, she passed me right back and I was unable to catch her again. The second lap was much as the first, fairly unremarkable.  The third lap I had to swap out my empty bottle and grab a full one… I’d never tried to do this and was a little concerned that I’d drop the bottle. I threw mine away in designated area, then slowed to get ready to collect a bottle. Thankfully I was successful! Bottle swap one was a complete success and I was very relieved!  The third lap out the headwind didn’t quite seem as severe, however I began to notice that the wind across the back had picked up – the cross winds were increasing.  Still, I decided I could tough it out. The ride out was always tougher than the ride back so I just had to keep hanging in there. I had occasionally glanced at my speed and I was pretty happy with how I was going.  As I headed out on my final lap I was ready to finish this off.  I had to do another bottle swap – this time my first attempt was unsuccessful but thankfully there were still other opportunity and I was able to grab a bottle before the aid station finished.  The cross winds on this last lap were significant.  I did not go down on my bars at all, as I felt I needed the stability of the actual bike handles.  I was literally blown sideways a couple of times, and given the road was rough as well I found those kms really tough.  However, I knew that once I got passed those cross winds there would be some wind assistance to transition – sure, not as much as the first lap, but certainly not a headwind, so I could work with that!  On looking at the observations afterwards winds were between 25-35km/hr with gusts up to 50km/hr….  Elle had suggested on the last turn around that I should be able to pass her before the end… I only just got there – she had a solid bike leg out there!  Overall, I made it back to transition and amazingly made it back 1st in my category.  I had come out of the swim in 4th position, but during the ride had made up the places! 90km in 31:15:02 – 27.5km/hr (FYI last year I did the same ride in 3:50 – 23.3km/hr).

Bike to run transition was a 5 minute transition were I did everything but make myself a cup of tea. Dave was near my bike cheering me on (and encouraging me to hurry up) I was surprised on coming back into transition that there were not many bikes around mine, so I hoped I wasn’t the last in my category (turns out I was first!). I found when I got off the bike I really felt my legs and I took a moment to try and encourage them to move.  This time in transition I reapplied the sunscreen, ensured I took some more nutrition on and then set off.

I’ve done quite a lot of bike to run sessions so I knew what to expect running on dead legs, however I really struggled here.  I was still confident that I would finish the distance, but I started to notice ALL my aches and pains. Pretty quickly I found I developed a blister right in the middle of my forefoot which really made every step painful.  For some reason I also seemed to cramp/have pain in my little toe – of course on the opposite foot… run(Incidentally, I now can’t actually feel my baby toe on my right foot….I’m sure it will come good). I did a fair bit of shuffling/walking… by now the winds had picked up even more. The headwind going out to the turn-around was significant (winds while I was on the run were 39km/hr with gusts up to 59km/hr… no wonder I felt them)! Temps were up around 30 degrees and I was putting ice into my sports bra every couple of aid stations in an effort to keep cool! I followed my nutrition plan and plodded along. The only time I became really worried was when I accidentally downed what I thought was water but was really electrolyte…I quickly chased it down with a cup of water and hoped that it wouldn’t adversely affect me (never do anything race day you haven’t done in practice!!). Thankfully it was fine. Shout out on the run to a couple of running buddies – Kim and Elle both joined me at various points – company is a wonderful thing!!  On my final lap Dave ran alongside me for about a kilometre too… it sounds like he was a bit worried about the head space I was in, but when he realised that I was all okay he sent me on my way and told me he’d see me at the end. I have previously done half marathons that were laps and I struggled mentally to keep going. I did not have this trouble at all yesterday – in actual fact I found counting down the laps and the turn arounds to be great motivators – one lap down, half way there, only a lap to go…. It was so good to see familiar faces out on course – particularly on the run (but also on the bike).  Thanks to Kim, Ki, Stacy, Elle, Beni, Leah, Nikki, Courtney, Judi, Melinda – seeing you all on each lap gave me something to look forward to.  I think my run can best be summed up by a cheerful spectator who encouraged me that – each step forward was a step closer to the finish and no matter how big the step I was still going in the right direction!

As I came into the final part of the run I knew I was so close to home. I was disappointed finishthat I was going to miss my sub 7hr goal – however that was mixed with a feeling of – who really cares Jen, you’ve just about done a HALF IRONMAN!  As I came down the last stretch before all the tents the cheer squad really stepped it up a notch – I could hear my name screamed before I could even see the faces of those screaming (though I could recognise their voices).  At this point I have to admit I had a bit of a tear in my eye. I’m so thankful for the support and encouragement.  Crossing the line was a wonderful feeling! My half marathon time was 3:00:02 – just missed a sub 3hr half.  This took my overall time to 7:12:03. When I think about it that’s quite a decent amount of time to be exercising (with no coffee break stops – just solid moving forwards!).

Dave greeted me with my chocolate milk, and half a hug (I was pretty feral at this point so I sure don’t blame him!).  Once I got my phone and turned it back on the messages came in waves – so many people were thinking of me and sending me messages and it was so greatly appreciated.  The one that really surprised me was from my coach – Em had already seen my results, congratulated me and noted that I was 4th in my category!!! This truly did amaze me.  10 started with me, 8 finished, and I was pretty much bang in the middle of them.

A special thanks to those who were spectating yesterday and cheering me at bike turns, run turns, transition points and wherever else they happened to see me! Thanks of course Dave, Team Berty (Mark, Kez and Zoe), Lisa, Karlee, Jacob and Nat (I know you were there to see Elle but thank you SOOO much for cheering for me too!).  And of course to Kim, Beni, Ki and Stacy who were all there to cheer me over the line because they had already finished! As per my previous blog – thanks to all those who got me to the start line, and to the finish line – I sure couldn’t have done it without you!

As I sit here, just 24hrs from having crossed the finish line everything hurts… my back, shoulders, legs, and of course feet are all suggesting I did a bit of exercise yesterday.  I’ve soaked, stretched, re-hydrated and I’m generally feeling pretty weary, but that was expected. PS Although I used practically a tin of trislide I still ended with some pretty good chaffing… D’oh! No pain no gain…

So just like that my first half ironman is complete. Will it be my last? Probably not (God willing). I now have some unfinished business with the run leg… and a sub 7 hour time to beat!


Getting to the start line

24 Feb

This time tomorrow I’ll be out on my bike, I will have completed the 1.9km swim, will be mid-way through the 90km ride, and will be mentally preparing myself for the 21.1km run.  I’ve trained hard, I’ve prepared well, I’m physically in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I’m ready to give this a good hot go.  But before I do, I want to thank a few people for getting me to the start line…

Firstly Dave… this guy puts up with a lot! His support is constant. Whether it be scheduling weekend activities around whatever my training is, to knowing I’ll want an early night when it’s been a big training day (or most days for that matter).  He is always encouraging me to keep on keeping on, and is mostly track side on race day.  He gets up at ridiculous hours of the morning (provided he’s got a coffee) and is happy to be my number one cheer squad.  He’s done a few of my training runs and rides with me, and I always appreciate the company.  This weekend will be his longest stint spectating (as it’s my longest event) – it’s a long time to be sitting on the sidelines so hopefully it doesn’t get too boring for him! Thanks for being my number one Dave xo

Em… Just under 12 months ago I asked for Emma’s help. As a coach with T-Zero Multisport, Emma Quinn has been instrumental in helping me get to the start line tomorrow, fitter than I’ve ever been, and in such a position where I am almost looking forward to this!  Em structures a training program around my shift work and is always a phone call, message or chat away. Her encouragement has been wonderful, and she has such a confidence in me that I really appreciate.  The variety in my training over the last 12 months has been great. I’ve been really enjoying the sessions and without the plan I know I wouldn’t be where I am today.  It takes so much of the guess work out of my training, and means even when my brain has shut down (like after a night shift), I can simply look at what I need to do and get out and do it – no excuses.  Thankfully I’ve been healthy lately and can therefore say that since my last big race (Noosa) I have only missed 2 training sessions (both with REALLY good reasons), but otherwise have consistently been ticking off the sessions she sets out.  This has, without a doubt made me fitter and stronger, and given me so much more confidence in each of the disciplines. So here goes Em – in one more sleep I’ll be doing my first half ironman… we can talk about what’s next once I’ve done one, okay?? 😉 Seriously though, thank you times a million!

Fi… After Noosa I sought the help of a sports dietician. I hit a wall in the run in Noosa and knew that having committed to the half ironman distance this was not something I could afford to do in a long course event.  Enter Fiona Mann from Apple to Zucchini. She’s been instrumental in getting me onto a plan that works for me.  Now I am properly fuelling my body both in life and in races to ensure that I can keep on keeping on. Being correctly fuelled has resulted in advances during training and races, and helped me do away with 12.6kg that I really didn’t need (not bad for about 15 weeks). I also know this will help me be faster and generally make it just that bit easier to participate. So thanks Fi – I look forward to reporting back just how well the race nutrition works tomorrow. Watch this space, and thanks again for all your help!

Physio and Remedial Massage…. Gena Wallis and Julie Uebel have put me back together these last few weeks as I have been trying hard to ignore, I mean working at fixing, some bursitis and tendonitis in my right shoulder, and a really tight right hamstring.  I’m thankful to both of them for showing me exercises to strengthen and stretch, and for massaging out tight areas.  Appreciate your help so much guys. Without you I’d be feeling slightly different as I line up tomorrow.

Swim Ride Run Faster at Zillmere have always ensured my bike is in top shape ready to ride. Thanks so much guys for all your help mechanically (and with the odds and ends I always seem to “need” when I’m in store), but also your encouragement.

My training buddies… where do I even begin… some people see the best of you, others see the worst…. In particular – Kim, Kiara, Jane, Elle, Stacy…. These guys have encouraged me to climb mountains (or sung me up them even, right Ki??), groaned with me on hill repeats, hung tough on runs off the bike, put in serious kilometres with me on rides, tackled pools and oceans in swim training and generally have been just all around great sports. They have definitely seen me at my worst, doubled over exhausted, puffing hard, or moaning during a session…  While triathlon is an individual sport, and my shift work makes it difficult to get to some group sessions, when a shout out goes out for some company invariably someone puts up their hand to make a tough session so much more achievable.  Thank you guys – I can’t thank you enough.  Your encouragement has meant the world to me and I know I’m stronger for having done sessions with you. Thank you for your help getting me to the start line tomorrow. I know without you guys I’d be at the start line feeling very different.  I look forward to racing with many of you tomorrow, seeing your faces out on course, and encouraging you just as you encourage me. Thank you to the moon and back!

Family and friends (this includes my fantastic co-workers!)… far too many of you to name! Thank you for your encouragement, putting up with my posts, and for cheering me on and believing in me.  I appreciate it so much, and when the going gets tough tomorrow (and I know it will) I’ll be able to reflect on some of your words to me.  Thanks for encouraging me on Facebook, Instagram or Strava… thanks for cheering me on.

Gosh I hope I haven’t missed an important group!! If I have I apologise – I’m claiming tapering brain!!

Lastly though, I am super thankful to my God.  While it may seem like a strange thing to say, I feel privileged to be able to race tomorrow. Life is not guaranteed. Health is not guaranteed. Just on 12 months ago I was recovering from 6 weeks of complete rest after my bowel resection. This was a huge reminder to me about how much I take my health for granted.  For now, God has blessed me with a body that is able to participate in events such as this, and as a result, I feel it is important to get out there and do it.  At work I see those who require machines to keep them alive, those who are struggling to take their next breath and those who are on the road to recovery but can’t walk 10m before tiring… I think of you when I’m out there. I also think of family and friends who are currently fighting some pretty significant health battles – this is for you too – trust me when I say I think of you out there. You are far braver than I. There but for the grace of God go I. God’s plan for each of us is different. For now, this is what I can do, so this is what I will do.

Every day this week a beautiful friend has been sending me a text message, reminding me of various bible verses. To thank her for that, and to help recommit these to memory I’m including them here. If you’re racing tomorrow with me, maybe they’ll be useful reminders for you too.

Otherwise, see you on the flip side! The next blog will be the race report, I’ll be sure to let you know how I go!

  • So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10)
  • He wont let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep (Psalm 121:3)
  • God has not given you a spirit of fear but a spirit of power (2 Tim 1:7)
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov 3:5-6)
  • I keep my eyes on the Lord with him at my right hand I will not be shaken (Psalm 16:8)



You’re amazing

17 Feb

I was going to clean the house today… instead I feel like writing a blog… let’s face it, I’ll pretty much do anything before I’ll clean the house (sorry Dave)…

I’ve been thinking a lot about peoples roles in life.  Mostly I’m just super thankful that everyone has a place in this life – skills, gifts, talents and passions that together make a really important contribution to the world we live in…let me be a little more specific…

Do you work in education?? Thank you!! You are training our future leaders and giving people the skills, confidence and belief in themselves to take on whatever the future may present to them.  Thank you for investing your time and energy into improving others. Thank you for teaching pre-schoolers, children, adolescents, and adults. I know in my life, there have been many teachers who have made an incredible difference into shaping me into who I am today, and I wouldn’t be where I am without their care and guidance. On days when it is tough, please remember that you make a difference. You’re amazing.

Do you work in business?? Thank you!! Without you this world would be a different place. No matter what it is you specifically do, you are contributing to ensuring this region, state, nation, or world continues to function.  Thank you for attending yet another meeting, for adhering to budgets as best you can, and for running your business ethically and sustainably.  Whether your business be in the heart of a major city, or a sole trader farmer/primary industry – thank you for providing a service, resource, or a mission that assists in the continued improvement of our society. Thank you for using your skills in profit and not-for-profit organisations, no matter what your role whether you are the CEO or the newest employee – thank you for doing your best in this industry. You’re amazing.

Are you a stay at home parent?? Thank you!! You are investing in the life of your children and teaching them how to become responsible citizens. You get the incredible opportunity to love, support, care and guide the future generation. I know not every day is going to be easy, and you face all kinds of challenges that I could not even possibly imagine, but thank you for all you do with this incredibly important 24/7 role. You’re amazing.

Do you work in healthcare?? Thank you!! Thank you for looking after others when they are at their most vulnerable. Thank you for ensuring their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met, in whatever discipline it is you work in. Thank you for considering that illness doesn’t just affect one person, but that their family and friends also need support. Thank you for staying up to date with education to ensure you are providing the best possible care. Thank you for taking the time to go the extra mile whenever you can to relieve an already stressful situation. And thank you to those who are doing the hard yards researching into future treatments and cures. I feel privileged to work alongside you in this industry.  You’re amazing.

Do you work in hospitality?? Thank you!! While you are working hard, I am enjoying the fruits of your labour. On days when I’m tired from doing my job in life, I appreciate that you are there to cook, serve, and clean up. I appreciate that I can have a stress free experience because you took the time to care for me. Your service means that I can sit down for a breakfast, lunch, dinner or a coffee with a loved one and take time to catch up with each other without having had the hassle of preparing and cleaning up. I REALLY appreciate this. Thank you for serving others. You’re amazing.

Are you a cleaner?? Thank you!! I could do with you right now at my place (it would be a little secret between you and me)… But seriously, thank you for ensuring that others are able to enjoy a tidy, clean environment. Our roads, parks, houses, workplaces, environment etc would be such a different place if you didn’t take the time to ensure it was presentable.  Thank you for doing your best to make sure that the environment we live and work in is safe. Thank you for taking pride in all the little things, and for serving others in this way. You’re amazing.

Are you a politician, member of parliament, or someone else tasked with guiding the state and/or nation?? Thank you!! Thank you for representing us as best you can. Thank you for carefully considering all the information presented to you when you make decisions so that they are as informed as they can be. Thank you for making the hard decisions and for pressing on when the going is tough. Thank you for adhering to legislation and thank you for doing all you can do to be ethical and responsible with the area under your influence. You’re amazing.

Do you work in the service industry?? Thank you!! Thank you for providing utilities, retail products, finances, fitness, leisure activities, trade, transport, information, military support, policing and anything else I may have overlooked!!  Thank you for serving others! Thank you for ensuring others are dressed, fit, relaxed and arriving at their destination safely and on time. Thank you for your smile, your assistance, your helpfulness and your patience as you go about your job. You’re amazing.

Do you work in a church?? Thank you!! Thank you for taking the time to pray for me, others, and our nation. Thank you for encouraging us. Thank you for equipping us to carry out our days by investing in our spiritual development. Thank you for being available to counsel and guide. Thank you for your wisdom and grace. Thank you that you see the best in each of us. Thank you for the kind support and care. You’re amazing.

You see there is no job more important than any other. There is no person more important than any other. Each of us are unique and each of us have an important role to play to ensure that we can each carry out our purpose in life.

For example, I would not be able to complete my job as a nurse without:

  • running water in my shower as I get ready – thank you plumbers, utilities providers…
  • electricity for my home – thank you electricians, electricity providers, those working in mining or resources…
  • a home with a bed for adequate rest – thank you builders, furniture makers and sellers…
  • a uniform to wear – thank you seamstresses, laundry staff, shop personnel…
  • a car – thank you mechanics, manufacturers, service station personnel, roadside assistance, car park personnel
  • transport infrastructure – thank you planners, engineers, road crews
  • food – thank you farmers, butchers, bakers, grocers, cafes, food retailers
  • administrative staff providing me with the resources to record my patients care, as well as those taking care of me – thank you ward clerks, clerical staff, managers, HR…
  • a team of interdisciplinary health professionals who all contribute to my patients well-being – thank you physios, dieticians, OTs, psychologists, psychiatrists, speech pathologists, pharmacists, radiology staff, social workers, doctors, fellow nurses, orderlies, etc
  • cleaners who ensure my workplace is safe and clean, that risk of cross infections is reduced and eliminated – thank you
  • my wind-down time – thank you fitness coaches, bike stores and mechanics, pool staff, events coordinators, training buddies…

I could go on… but you get the idea!! We are not in a silo, we all make a contribution to ensuring that others can complete their role in life. I do not have the skills, patience, desire or passion to be a teacher, politician, CEO, chef or a cleaner… especially not a cleaner… so THANK YOU for playing your part!! Thank you for using your gifts, skills and talents to ensure that you carry out the role you have been gifted to the best of your ability. The world would be a different place if you weren’t here. You’re amazing.


Romans 12 4:8 – For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.



Queensland Triathlon Series – Caloundra Feb 5th (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run)

5 Feb

Today I was privileged to be able to take part in the QTS Caloundra Sprint Distance Triathlon – having had not always the best health, I’m always stoked to be able to make it to the start line! The aim of today’s race was to focus on a couple of things –nutrition, feeling strong, and giving it my all.  As I sit here on the couch after the race, I’m feeling absolutely fantastic as I feel like I nailed all three. As Tweed is my focus event, there was no taper in the lead up to this race (in fact yesterday saw me do 55km on the bike – strength work, with a 10min run off the bike…).  However, this was also part of the plan, to see how I go racing on tired legs…

With Tweed Coast Enduro (my half ironman) fast approaching it was time to practice a few things I’m going to need to nail come race day at the end of the month. Firstly nutrition. Thanks to the wonderful Fiona from Apple to Zucchini I’ve been so much better at giving my body what it needs to fuel the exercise I undertake. This has made the world of difference to how I feel both during and after training and racing.  I previously had not given this much focus, and as a result often hit a wall – but with some wonderful advice I’m making this a priority.  So, the aim this weekend was to practice what I will eat the night before the race, practice my pre-race breakfast (3hrs before the race start) and practice what I had during the event.  I’m pleased to say that all of it sat really well with me, and I am confident in what I will do come Tweed.  I can also report that my loved Smiling for Smiddy tri-suit was a little bigger than the last time I put it on… and despite jokes about the amount of tri-slide I may or may not have used (in order to prevent any chaffing) I can thankfully report I did not slide off my bike seat!jd

Now to the actual race… after some big shifts at work, Dave and I made the last minute decision to go up to Caloundra on Saturday afternoon and stay the night, rather than wake well before the dawn to drive the 1.5hrs up the coast the morning of the race (to arrive for 5.15am). For the first time ever we tried Airbnb and found a very reasonably priced, beautiful place (if there are any couples looking for a place to stay near Caloundra I can definitely make a recommendation!).  Going up the day before also meant I had already been able to check-in to the event, and as a result we set the alarm for a very respectable 5am (well just slightly before).

As is usually the case, pre-race nerves had got the better of me and I was feeling slightly anxious. I was confident in my ability to do the distance on all three legs, but I still get a bit scared just before the event.  Having met up with my coach Em, and a few T-Zero crew (Kim, Tina, Rach and Co) – as well as a workmate Hamish, I was able to settle those nerves a little – distraction is a wonderful thing!  Before too long it was time to head down to the start line and get this show on the road.  A few people I knew were in the waves ahead and a couple in the wave behind.

The swim was a deep water start – which is fast becoming one of my favourite ways to start. You have a bit of time to get the legs moving, the heart rate up, and comfortable in the water.  Today’s swim saw us head up stream before essentially doing a u-turn and heading out towards the ocean. The waterway was fairly protected and therefore afforded quite nice swimming conditions. It was already quite warm out (28 degrees) and as a result, the water was beautifully refreshing.  Somehow I managed to start in the middle of the pack – where I normally would start at the back.  This made for some choppy swimming up to and around the u-turn area, however once passed I was able to find some space in the water and I was really happy with my stroke.  As we approached the last left turn around the buoy I noticed some green caps start to pass me… I knew my coach was in the next wave (4 mins behind) and wondered if I had just been overtaken.  Didn’t worry me though – I know she’s a gun, and I also know I was really happy with my swim.  Out of the water in about 13:20 (750m).

It was a fairly short transition of about 300m.  I was fairly happy with my transition – and although I’m sure my times can be better, was about 3:20 to go from swim to bike.

Having driven the cycle route the day before I had noted it to be essentially flat with 3 roundabouts. It was 2.5km out, 2.5km back x 4 laps.  Given that, I decided this would be a really good opportunity to become well acquainted with my tri bars.  I loved them (thanks again family!).  I was passing people!! Yep, you read it here first!! I was actually frequently having to look over my shoulder to see that I could go around people! In the past you’ll find me keeping to the left to let the fast people go past – no more!! …. Well I’ll still keep to the left because there are others still faster than me, but regularly I found myself passing others.  I have been putting in some good training on the bike of late, and doing strength sessions and so on, but to actually feel strong out on the bike was quite a remarkable thing. On the odd occasion I would glance at my watch to find that I was sitting above 30km/hr – which is a speed I’m not all that accustomed to riding.  However, I pushed on deciding this was a race I would give my all (though try not to blow up in). Thanks to the bigger distances I’ve been doing lately, it was far easier to tell myself it is “only 20kms” and to get in and get it done.  I took off speed only at the turn arounds, but otherwise tried to get up some good solid speed, keep my leg cadence up, and get used to sitting down on the tribars.  I also ensured I practiced taking on nutrition on the bike, so even though I really didn’t particularly feel like it, ensured that I continued to eat/drink as per the plan.  I can report it was wonderful success and I managed to smash out the bike leg in 37:41 that is an average speed of 31.7km/hr for 20km. Unheard of!

Bike to run transition was quite short at only about 100m.  Still it took me a little longer than I would have liked as I shuffled the bike next to me up to put my bike in (Noosa repeating itself), and I struggled to get my socks on…. Hahaha… ooops… But, I wanted to run with socks, and ultimately I still managed to get out of transition in 2:44.20170205_093138

The run….. there is nothing like running after you’ve been on the bike. However, my training over the last months has pretty much always had at least one session of bike to run transition.  As a result, I am far more used to this feeling, and far more used to just getting out there and giving it a good go. By now it was 30 degrees and pretty sticky.  I’d had a good drink of water before getting out of transition and decided just to keep running when I passed the first aid station (which felt pretty close to transition).  I found some rhythm and while I sounded like a freight train, felt pretty good as I ran along.  When my watch alarmed for the first 1km I was astounded to see a 5:48 (let’s be clear…. I can count on one hand the number of times I have done sub 6:00min kms…. to do it off the bike this far into a race I was amazed). I chugged along, deciding that if it felt good at this pace I’d just have to keep it up for as long as I can.  The second km was also a sub 6 minute pace…. I was shaking my head, but I kept my legs moving!! It started to get tougher around this point, but I knew my turn around was close. Once I hit that turn around, with only 2.5km to go, I could tell myself that it was only 2.5km.  When 2km came, despite starting to feel a little weary, I was able to remind myself that last week I did a 2km run after a 100km ride so I had absolutely no excuse to not keep going at this point.  Smiddy kit had afforded me a few extra cheers during the course of the race, and the run leg was no different – note to self, always wear Smiddy kit – the encouragement is worth it! I had also donned my T-Zero cap, and this too got me a few extra cheers – so thanks to whoever you were! The last kilometre was a little tough, but I was able to tell myself to just keep moving.  As I rounded the last corner and saw the finish chute I was exceptionally relieved…. Just as I hit a heap of soft sand…. seriously – who put that there!!! Crossing the finish line is always wonderful– no matter what distance you do.  I had to get some breath to be able to bend over and take off the ankle timing chip before heading much further – a task that always seems more challenging than it should be…. Anyway – the 5km run I did in 30:29 – I averaged 6:00min/km and I was absolutely stoked with that.

So overall, my time was 1:27:33 (although my official time says 1:27:25 – perhaps I’ll take that!!).  When compared to my last sprint distance triathlon in September, I have shaved 9 minutes off my time (however, it was a different course and therefore is not directly comparable).  Dave was on the finish line to greet me with a “You Smashed It” – I’m ever so thankful for his support – not just trackside, but also day in day out when my training leaves me tired, or when we delay heading out for the day until “I’ve finished my session”.

As I head into Tweed now, with just 3 weeks to go my confidence is again improved. Today I finished 14th in my age group (out of 26) – a far cry from last or second to last place, which had been my norm 12 months ago.  While I know that the distances for Tweed are obviously a lot larger, I know that I’ve been doing the training, and I know that I will finish the half.

If you’ve made it to here – then congratulations! This has been a long recap – partly because I’m feeling on top of the world right now and thus am sharing it with you all.  Thanks so much for your support – family, friends and training buddies (who are friends too by the way) – I appreciate the electronic cheers and the encouragement.

So, with the last event now checked off before Tweed, I have one more week of intensity before two easier training weeks.  It will be time to continue getting physically ready, but also start getting mentally ready to take on this challenge!