Ironman 70.3 Shanghai 2019
Alarm goes off. Thinks about task ahead. Surely I could find an easier hobby? Who am I kidding, I love this stuff. Hair braided. All the important stuff. Jammed on bus with other peasants. Earphones in, head in the game. Gather snacks in transition bags. Looking forward to that chunky Kit Kat. Sit down and have breakfast. Best meal of the day. People stare as I get knife out of street gear bag. Just peanut buttering my crumpets people. Nothing to see here. Stuff down 3 crumpets. Actually, might have one more. Feeling good. Neck is lubed up, must be nearly go time. Hoping for a chafe free day. In sub 30 minute wave with atleast 100 people who looked like they would struggle to go sub 60. Rolling start. Getting close to the ledge. Oh hey, new friends I met at breakfast next to me. Good luck hugs. Let the pain begin. 3,2,1. Dives in. Water freezing. Took 500m to warm up. Couldn’t find any feet. Looks like I’m swimming solo. Swim fairly uneventful. One attack from a guy near end. Not taking no shit. Attacked back. Calm down mate, we have a long day ahead. Ladders in sight. Manhandled back to land by volunteers. Look at watch. 30 minutes. Disappointing time after a big swim block. Knew it was a slow course. I’ll take it. Runs to transition with heart rate above 190. Overtaken by atleast 8 men on run to T1. Very puffed. Not my best work. Grabs bags and into tent. No women to be seen. Excellent. Aero helmet on. Must mean business. First bike off the racks in my age group. Smooth, flat roads. Perfect conditions. Time to send it. Lots of long rides under my belt lately. Optimistically think maybe I can hold 34 average. Not sure where that number came from. Felt strong. 1 lap down. 34.5km average and I’m in cruise control. Could do with a Powerade though. Time to pick it up a notch. This feels good. Maybe the coach was right when he said I was fit. Only 5 girls pass in total. Not bad. All old people anyway. Consider having emergency Kit Kat in bento box. Nah that probably won’t go down well for the run. Save it for post race. 5km to go. Average of 35km. Frothing. Feeling fresh as a daisy. Off the bike in 2.34. Yeah that’s a PB. A big PB actually. Start thinking about the fact I have to run 21km and haven’t run more than 10km in 2 months. Fun times ahead. First bike back on the racks in age group. Still frothing. No idea how far back second place is. Hopefully a while. Knew she was a runner and would be hunting me down. Start thinking about Hawaii holiday. Too early. Focus. Let’s be honest, the run is my weakness on a good day. This could be a disaster. 6 weeks in a moon boot and absolutely no run volume in my legs. Let’s just hope for a miracle. Wait, I feel really good? Calculations had been done in my head, had to run 2.24 to finish with a PB. Could do that with my eyes closed. The question changed from was I going to do a PB, to how much was I going to beat my PB by. More calculations. Maybe Miller was right about swimming fitness transferring to run fitness. Were all the 35km swim weeks actually going to be worth it? Must listen to coach more in future. God bless Phil and dapto pool. Maybe this wasn’t going to be a total disaster. Still leading. Is the Kona spot still in reach? 14km and 2/3 laps later and I’m still well under goal pace. This is actually going really well. Maybe I’m not going to hit the wall? Maybe no one is going to catch me? 15km in. Spotted. 2nd Place. Japanese girl. Yep, she’s under the age of 25. She’s on the chase, within a kilometer, looking stronger than ever. Stop looking back. Looks back again. Officially running scared. Passed the 17km marker. Looks back again. She’s within hundreds of metres. Picks up pace to look like I’m not shuffling. Passes me like I’m standing still. I pick up pace again. I’m going with her. I’m not letting her go. I’m not finishing second again. Runs with her for 300m. Nearly has a heart attack. Heavy breathing. That’s faster than my best 5km pace. What was I thinking? Yeah, she’s gone. Hawaii holiday out the window. Keep head in the game. Starting to struggle. Making noises louder than Kato at run squad. “You’re nearly there.” That is a lie. Mentally feeling strong but legs given up. Coach said to hurt myself. Ticked that box. 20km Mark. Finally. Deceased. Moaning. Absolutely spent. Pushes through pain and drags feet around for another 6 minutes. If looks could kill. Can’t believe I got this far without a blow out. Pat self on back. Dark thoughts creep in. Snap out of it. Confident I have completely emptied the tank. Finally, I can see the finish line. Looks at watch. I’ve got 34 seconds to cover 200m to go under 5.20. Yep, not going to happen. Why didn’t I think about that 5 minutes ago? 5.20 will have to do. Still a 16 minute PB. Should be happy. Fixes hair, makes self look presentable for finish line. Chinese people screaming but cannot understand what they are saying. Crosses finish line. Relief. Thank nice volunteers. Don’t want water, don’t want food. Just a Powerade please. Friends no where to be seen. Sits in gutter. Cries. Am I happy or sad? Should stop being so hard on myself. Coach is going to be stocked. No Hawaii holiday. Still a 16 minute PB and a 70.3 World Champs qualifier. Good, another overseas holiday. FaceTimes friend, couldn’t be prouder. Still in gutter. Updates Instagram story. Still in gutter. Finally get up. Legs in trauma. Find friends. Gets random to take photo. Discuss war stories. Collect bikes. Stuff everything in bags and roll back to hotel with new friends. Quick shower and time for a drink. Must look presentable for roll down. More second place trophies than I’ve had hot dinners. Shake winners hand. Are you going to go to Hawaii? “No I’m from Japan”. I know that, are you going to Kona? “No, Japan”. Let’s forget we had this conversation. She takes Kona spot. I take 70.3 worlds spot. Straight to the pool room. Congratulations on qualifying, now can you pay $500. Stitch up. Post race celebrations continue. Drinks flowing. Midnight hits. Too old for this. Time for bed. What a weekend. New friends, new location, excellent memories. 5 x 2nd Place finishes from 5 starts in the last 12 months. Lets go one better in Busso.