My first race of the year was at one of my favorite locations: Geelong. Having raced at this venue a number of times previously I was excited to get to the start line to test my fitness and also with the goal of gaining a qualifying spot for the IM 70.3 World Championships in Lake Taupo.
After a great start to the year with some quality training at the Project M Jindy Camp in January my training in February had been very ordinary – as a result of starting a new job requiring extensive travel and starting back at University, I really hadn’t managed to get the balance right to priortise my training!
Arriving in Geelong on the Saturday the predicted conditions for the race were perfect – clear, moderate temperature and no wind! After registration and racking my bike on Saturday I felt good about the race and was excited to see how things would pan out on Sunday.
The alarm went off at 4.20am and after quickly checking that I had everything I needed we drove from our accommodation arriving at the race venue by 5.30am. Race morning was cool to say the least, but there was a great vibe around the race area with over 1500 athletes competing on the day including a red hot pro-field and some strong age-groupers. The race started at 7am with the pro males and females and my wave start was 7.13am.
Being the only Project M athlete competing on the day it was great to see a few familiar faces from Wollongong including Ben and Jacqui Allen who were great spectators. The swim is I Port Phillip Bay, so no real waves to contend with and water temperature of just over 20 degrees. The race start was a rolling start within the age groups so for me it was a very relaxed start as the 40 or so women in my age group lined up. When the starting gun sounded it was easy to find clear water and for the first 500 meters I swam on the feet of an age-group competitor (my swim squad training had paid off!). The course was a single lap and well-marked. At the 1km mark the 35-39 men started to swim through the pack but no real issues and probably the first time in a swim where I hadn’t been hit at some stage.
The training that I have been doing with Phil really kicked in as I felt strong throughout the swim and knew that I had done a good time – after exiting and running to transition I checked my watch to see that I had swam 32 minutes and Pete Murray had announced that I was 2nd in my age group out of the water!
Quickly getting ready for the bike and after running about 400 metres to the mount line I was off on the bike with conditions on the day being cool and clear. The ride course is 2 laps on an undulating course with sections where you can really utilize the benefits of being aero on a TT bike. Due the other number of competitors I always had a sense of racing and one the first lap the age group men started to pass. My goal on the bike was to race by feel and push myself as much as possible without compromising the run!
I was able to do this and before long was back at the turn-around where I saw Royce and some other competitors before heading out for the second lap. Confident that I was son top of nutrition I enjoyed the race atmosphere ad conditions on the day. The last 15 kilometres I started to feel fatigues and was looking forward to the run.
After dismounting the bike, I realize that the temperature had increased significantly and was probably sitting at around 26 degrees – warming up quickly. Another age group competitor had overtaken me in the last kilometer of the ride but when I saw here get off the bike and walking through transition, I knew that I could get ahead of her out of transition, which I did!
The run is a two-lap course among the scenic foreshore of Geelong punctuated by an uphill section at each end of the course just to test your physical and mental strength at that stage of the race. Again, my plan on the run was to push myself as far as I could making sure that the pace was sustainable for 21km. At this stage I knew I was in second place so it was a matter of setting the pace and being patient throughout the run. As I passed the 4km mark an age group competitor flew past me and I knew that I couldn’t maintain the pace that she was running so I continues with my race plan. As is usually the case it took me 10km to start to feel comfortable on the run, at which stage I decided to see if I could push myself a bit more for the last 10km to ensure I maintained my third pacing.
The final lap was a matter of survival ensuring that I drank at each aid station and just ticked each kilometer off. When I reached the 16km mark I was really feeling the effects of the bike/run and was just going as fats as I could to get to the finish. AT this pot Royce said to me that the second pace athlete was only two minutes inf front of me – to make up two-minute sin 5 kilometres was going to be a challenge. I slightly increased my pace and gave the final 5 kilometres everything I had
As I crossed the finish line, I checked the clock to see my time of 5.08 and was almost certain that I had come third in my age group, but most of all I was ecstatic with y performance of all three legs given my lead up training!
After the race my third pace was confirmed and actually second place was only 40 seconds in front so I was happy that I had made up time there! Another bonus was that Triathlon Australia Age Group Championship were part of the race so I also picked up third in my age group there and after much anticipation was rewarded with a spot to IM 70.3 World Championships!
Overall a great day that allowed me to achieve all of my goals and which served as a good indicator that whilst I am on track for IM Port Macquarie there is still work to be done
A big thank-you to all of the Project M athletes but particularly my training partners Keeley and Claz who can make any training session fun, Phil for all the work he has pout in to help my swimming improve, Nathan for being #1 Coach and of course to Royce my #1 supporter
Overalll Time 5.08.09
Place 3rd 50-54