After having the best possible race I could at Challenge Melbourne in late April (11 minute PB), it was always going to be hard to find the motivation and belief that I could put it all together again two weeks later at Ironman 70.3 Port Macquarie. I had been so happy with Melbourne after the disappointment of Ironman New Zealand that I felt like I should have left Melbourne as my last race of the season so that I could finish off on a high. But, I was entered for Port Macquarie so had to get it together for one last race before a spell from racing.
I had previously raced Port Macquarie twice over the full distance so completely knew what to expect from the course.
The swim had changed slightly from the last time I had been there – the swim would now start and finish in the same place (Westport Park). It seemed straightforward. The plan was to swim tempo. I had what I felt was a good start, I started near the front so that I could find some faster feet. Things went a little awry heading towards the second set of turning buoys. I somehow went off course and was wondering why there were people swimming the opposite direction. I had to stop and work out where I was and once I had spotted the green buoy I was able to correct myself and keep on track. I have no idea what the extra distance I swam was as I have decided not to bother with a watch in the swim (too much of a distraction and is not really that necessary). In any event, I was out of the water in roughly 34 minutes and on my way to T1.
The bike course at Port Mac is undulating and the road surface is simply terrible. I don’t enjoy the ride there because of the horrible surface – it just isn’t enjoyable. I have had the privilege of riding on road surfaces all over the world and Port Mac is the absolute worst by far. The plan was to keep the heart rate down, even over the hills and pretty much cruise without burning too many matches. I think I executed this well as I didn’t feel too taxed at all after the bike and felt ready to put in a solid run.
At Melbourne I had run my PB off the bike for a half distance. In my head I had told myself I would not be able to better that at Port Mac as the course was not as flat as Melbourne. To my surprise I started off the run feeling pretty good and I was able to stay consistent and end up with a PB for the run! I bettered my average pace per kilometre from Melbourne and I did not have one negative thought during the run.
It was nice to end the season on a positive note. Looking forward to some running and biking over winter to prepare for a number of half marathons and the epic cycling trip to the French Alps in September!