ronman 70.3 World Championships Mooloolaba
The road to Sunny Coast was a bit of a tough ride due to losing my mental toughness and belief in myself. I struggled through most of the season however a massive thanks goes to Natalie whole massively helped me overcome my negativity towards training and racing. It was really good to have her come and join the squad and understand how I was feeling and where I was coming from as she had been in my position before. Training with her and talking was definitely the turning point of the seasons for me, I picked my game up and got back into productive training. My training over winter went really well, the new program that Nathan had us doing was excellent and using the wahoo had put me in really good shape for the race. Leading in I felt really good probably the strongest I have ever felt.
As usual the days leading up to race I was very nervous although I had always said a top 50 I would be happy with and a good run.
Race day came and it was perfect conditions, although I had hoped for big surf. My wave start was one of the last to start so I spent a lot of the morning sitting watching the male waves exit with water and watching how they were swimming to the buoys. Finally, it was my turn to get into the water and swim out to the start. I made sure that I got a front position close to but not right next to the Oceanside buoy with all the other competitive swimmers. Once the siren sounded everyone was off and at a fast pace, I had room to swim and found some feet and just followed along. I settled into a good rhythm quickly and swam hard although somehow got caught in a group and was pulled back and attacked but I just kept swimming. Once I was clear of the group I keep a good pace and keep going taking the shortest line to each of the sight buoys. When I looked up there was a group to my right and left and me swimming in the middle in my own space. It was good but I wasn’t sure if I was missing something as I was alone. The rest of the swim was as usual by the far turn around I was catching a lot of people in my wave who had gone out hard. Swimming back up to the final turn buoy the water was a little choppy but nothing to worry about and dodging the two slower waves in front made it a little more challenging but I only got kicked in the face once so it wasn’t not too bad. Exiting the water, I had no idea where I was in positions but I knew there were a fair few girls in front.
The run up the beach was fine, I found my helmet bag easily and got my wetsuit off quickly. The transition swim to bike was long and my bike was one of the last ones on the rack so made a run for the end of transition and was happy to see that not many bike had left yet.
Once on the bike there were a few men around me but that was it. I made my way through the first set of rolling hills and onto the freeway. The freeway was mostly flat and fast. I felt good and was doing as Nathan had said ‘settle in for the freeway, eat and drink’. The first 20 plus kms I was on my own passing people in the waves before but no one catching me. At times I couldn’t see people in front or behind. I was sitting at about 37km/h or faster thinking that I was working at the right pace to be good for the hills to come later in the race. As I got to the turn around and headed back in the direction I had just come I began to see groups of bikes coming the other way. I was now riding into a head wind and questioning if I had used the tail wind to its full advantage. The pelotons of people came past and I got swallowed by the first group and fairly quickly sat off the back as I didn’t want to get a drafting penalty. That group left and soon another group came. This happened two or three times and was extremely frustrating as there were bikes everywhere and it was dangerous. One group came up to me and it had Hannah a girl I know in it and we had a chat about how bad the groups were and what should we do stay on and draft and risk it or sit back. I then just took the whole group as it was rather slow sitting off the back, although while sitting off the back I was telling myself my run legs would thank me for it later. Once on the front of the group I rode till the turn then got overtaken by the group again due to my lack of turning skills. This time I sat back and watched what was happening as we entered the hills. The officials on bikes came through and carded some of the group in front but only two or three which was unfair. I continued to ride ‘smart’ and as hard as I could given the amount of people around. I rode well over the hills and up the steep section dodging a girl ahead who was zigzagging and older men who were struggling on both sides of the road. Through the top section the riders spread out but on the downhill it became congested again as we joined with people on their second lap. The second lap was fine and I could get back into racing my own race. Heading back into town I felt good and was working hard but still annoyed with all the terrible riders. I asked an American man to move to his left and he told me to slow down. I’m pretty sure we were all in a race! I thought I was riding well and on my own when two girls in my age group passed me who I knew and didn’t think that they should have caught me so that was a little concerning however I knew I could easily run one down.
Back over the undulating hills I stayed with the girls trying to stay in front. The ride back into town was fine although the wind was still strong. I went hard the last part so that I was in front into transition so I didn’t get stuck behind anyone slow on the long transition run with my bike.
Bike to run was strange as after I racked my bike I quickly collected by run bag and headed down a flight of stairs to put my shoes on. Running down stairs after 90km on the bike isn’t ideal. I was quickly on the run and feeling good. The hill was hard at the start but I kept going I had places to make up and people to catch. I quickly caught the girl I knew I would get then kept running feeling strong and focusing on what I had to do. Mentally I was in a good place and I kept running hard. The way out was with the wind which was good and although it was warm I was too focused to let that bother me as I knew it had got the better of me in many races before. When it got tough or my mind wondered I remembered back to what Nathan said think only of the moment you are in right then and there. I haven’t had that mind set before but it really helped for the entire race. Although coming up the hill to the turnaround and heading back out was tough it wasn’t that bad. At the top of the hill Jamie said I was in a good place and to keep going hard. I had no idea what a good place was as I knew I wouldn’t be in the top 10. I thought about this for the downhill then went back to the moment and kept pushing. I never really felt terrible which is a first for me, on the way back I looked at my watched and thought I could do a 1.35 so started to run harder although I somehow was a kilometre ahead of myself however when I realise I didn’t let this bother me and I just kept running. I worked hard up the last hill and to the finish with a run of 1.37 which is a PB for the run at the end of a half which I am very happy with. I finished and took my shoes off as quickly as I could as I was sure I had blisters on the balls of my feet but I didn’t so that was good!
Overall I finished in a time of 5.01.50. I would have liked to have gone under 5 as I usually race under 5.
Swim:28.29 (16th in ag)
Bike: 2.48.47 (31st in ag)
Run: 1.37.30 (20th in ag)
Placed 20th in Age group and 100th Female.
Firstly, I’m happy that I was able to find the right head space to get me to the starting line and with the improvements I have made in training over winter. Although I feel that I should have swam slightly faster and I am yet to learn what to do in crowded situations on the bike which I feel cost me a bit of time I made it off the bike without a penalty. I am extremely happy with my run and the focus I had on the day for it. It is the best feeling and quickest in my mind, half marathon I have run. If they were all like that I’d be very happy. So looking back at the race I feel the time could have been better but happy with what I have achieved and the outcome was a lot better than the top 50 I would have settled for. I finished in front of some people I have been competing against for a while so improvements have been made. I walk away happy and hoping I don’t have to race another half for a while although Port 70.3 is still in the back of my mind.
I am now happy that the season has finished and look forward to lighter training without the pressure of racing. I would like to thank all the Project M crew for their support both in training and the messages and encouragement while racing. Thanks to Nathan for pushing and challenging me and putting up with me when I’m hating it all.
Looking forward to getting into Some sprints and Olympics over the next season