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!


One Response to “Tweed Enduro Race Recap – 1.9/90/21.1 (70.3)”


  1. This is life... - December 31, 2017

    […] 30 minutes off my Olympic Distance Triathlon at Noosa, and after finishing my first half Ironman in February, did the second half Ironman 30 minutes quicker in September.  All of this made possible with the […]

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