Bad memories, niggling injuries, howling winds and sitting in the gutter vomiting. For some that’s just all part of the day at Ironman really. Here is “Cupcake’s” Ironman tale that contains all of that and more.
This was Ironman #7 for me, my 6th at Port. I had crashed out on Matthew Flinders 2 years ago, so that is always on my mind. This would also to be the first IM race I had done where my husband wasn't racing as well....strange feeling. My goal was anything better than last year (15:10). I had a knee injury for several weeks, from about Christmas to the end of February, so my program was a bit shortened and certainly not coming off a base I would have liked.
Panic started to set in as I watched the weather forecast and then panic moved in to stay when the RD gave us warnings about the strong wind at race briefing. :( Well that can't be good!!
I seeded myself in the 1:14-1:22 group and really enjoyed the swim, finishing in 1:18. There was some pretty poor self seeding on the day and trying to swim around 3 large men swimming side by side was a challenge and a time waster. I managed to sneak around them eventually when they stopped to talk. I loved the weir and came out of the swim relaxed. Hmmmm.....wind?? What wind??
Ummm....found it!! As I came out on the other side of Lake Cathie the wind hit me like a freight train. It was swirling everywhere and the gusts were absolutely ferocious. I still felt good though and coasted happily back into town. That was to be my last "happy" feeling on the bike until I handed it over to the vollies!! I had a really fierce gust hit me coming down windmill hill back into town and almost came off. I had to stop and calm down a bit before taking off again. Nothing improved. One of the officials at the far turn around said they registered gusts of 80kph down there and it certainly felt like it! There were very large branches (and other debris) being blown all over the road and I lost count of the number of times the ambulance passed me. At the top of Bonnie Hills headland on the way back in one woman was unconscious on the road with two ambulances and a number of officials...I found that really upsetting.
I got off the bike in 7:30 absolutely shattered. I even had hand cramps from hanging on so tightly.
I have always loved running. I've never been quick, but I love it. I feel free when I run.
So yay!, off on my run.
No yay!! I started vomiting in the first lap.
I have felt sick before, but never had vomiting on the run. Even water was shooting back up. Another athlete (thank you to this total stranger) went and got someone to come and help me as I was throwing up in the gutter.
Their suggestion was that I come off course. NO WAY!! I survived that bike and I am going to finish. We agreed that she would walk with me for 15 minutes and if I didn't vomit again she would leave me alone. :)
So off I went and decided to have nothing more to eat or drink. On the third lap of the run (I was literally running on empty) I tried a few sips of warm tomato soup and kept this down. My wonderful husband, who was dressed up as Batman, was waiting for me out in the dark on the break wall each lap, so that was a lovely lift.
I finished the run in 5:15.
So overall I finished in 14:17 which completely smashed my goal of finishing under 15:10. I was soooooo happy, so relieved and so proud to have stuck it out in tough conditions.
Thoughts on my day....
* Loved the new swim format. I didn't get beaten up at all on the swim and felt very relaxed. Usually I come out of the swim feeling like a drowned rat.
* Always check before you walk into the designated warm-up area. Got a nasty cut under my foot when I stepped on an oyster covered rock in the warm up area. The thought of bleeding during the swim was not very comforting!!
* Said cut makes cycling and running a tad uncomfortable.
* Strength sessions on the bike pay off.
* Finishing every session even when you don't feel like it improves mental toughness (for me anyway) and that is great to draw on when things turn to poo.
* Supporters at Port are awesomely awesome!! Pinocchio (complete with a long nose and red underpants) helped me through some tough moments.
* Having a husband willing to dress up as Batman and stand in the cold and dark for hours cheering everybody on makes me an amazingly lucky girl.
* Having Pam Green greet me at the end of every IM race I have done in Port has been an honour.
* Everyone brings their own issues to the race...both physically and mentally. Never diminish or denigrate others efforts in IM. You don't know their life, their story or their challenges.
* True courage is a blind man pedalling furiously on the bike and being hit by the same gusts as me, yet continuing on!
* That getting a 5 year medal, even though it is just for finishing, makes me very proud. :)
Anyway, done and dusted and now I get to be the support crew for my husband who is doing Cairns. I hope I can do half as good a job as he did for me.