Kona Ironman Worlds Champs you did not disappoint!
So whilst I am sitting in the airport in San Francisco waiting for my next flight I thought I would chat through my race day.
As most of you are aware, I was moaning lots leading up to the race as I had an annoying cough and cold, I had to keep eating lots of greens and drink lots to try and get rid of it as I was so worried about taking any medication as was paranoid about taking something that could be banned.
Although I felt like shit I still kept calm as I knew race day was going to happen whether I was ill or not.
I woke up at 3.45am and my alarm went off just after that. It was a quick coffee and breakie, then for me, my sister, brother and Sonia (my sisters friend), we all headed down to the race. It was a 30 minute walk which was kinda good for me as I could stretch out my legs and get my head in the game before getting there and seeing so many people. It was quite a long process once I had gone in to sort my bike out and get number tattoos, etc.
Once had checked everything I then went out to find my family.
It was a long wait for the start but you needed to get there early as there were waiting areas for age groups and if you wanted any chance in starting near the front in the race this is what you had to do.
The swim was a nightmare as we were allowed in the water and had to swim to the start, however the group of men before us were still making their way to the start. The female 18-39 were to start 5 mins after the men. So it became a little crazy at the start, women fighting to get to the start line before we had even started.
Once the horn had gone within a few minutes we had caught some of the guys in the wave before us. My arms not really wanting to move very quickly I found myself getting sucked up by girls from behind and then swimming into the men. I felt like my swimming had gone well leading up to the race but just missed that extra spark I normally have. I tried just sitting on peoples feet to save energy but never really worked. It was going to be a long swim.
Once I had swam out to the turn around I thought gosh it feels comfortable but couldn't push any faster it was as if I was on auto cruise, not sure where my speed had gone.
Once I could see transition getting close I felt relieved that the swim was over. I find the swim the most scary bit, I am always happy once its over.
Transition was quite quick for me as my bike shoes where on my bike and we didn't need to wear our race belt until the run. So it just took time running through transition to get my bike.
I jumped on my bike and I was so happy, I was really excited about the bike, I made sure that any incline I wasn't pushing to hard checking my watts as I have learnt the hard way about burning too many matches too early on. I was passing people more than people were passing me and felt good so it was great. Even when the famous wind started when we got out to start the long drag out to the furthest point of the course.
It was amazing how many drinks stations there were and I was very grateful for that too as managed to drop my bottle with a lot of my energy paste/drink so had to then make sure I took other drink on board instead. Once I got half way into the race I thought I was going to manage a 5/5.10hrs bike which would have been awesome for me! Sadly I became uncomfortable on the saddle nothing that my suit had done, just something that I have always struggled with. So in the last 90 mins of the race I really suffered getting into a good aero position and ended up constantly sitting up which meant I lost quite a bit of time. I was gutted but never mind I bet most people probably had the same problem.
My end bike time wasn't too bad but know it could have been quicker.
The bike course did not disappoint, it was brutal, the wind seemed to always be coming at you or a really crazy side wind, thank god it had gone to race Lanzarote before so I had raced in it before. The heat though was much different to Lanza, it was hotter and definitely more humid. I loved every minute of the bike even if it wasn't the time i was after.
Once I jumped off the bike and passed it to someone in transition I was then to grab my run bag and sort myself out to complete the last bit of the Ironman. The race felt like it had gone really quickly.
Thanks to the help of the volunteers my transition was pretty quick.
The run started ok, well for the first mile. Then from miles 3-10 I thought it was going to be the worst race ever,I just seem to have one speed and that was it, I couldn't go any faster.People were running past me like I was standing still. I really thought I was going to have to walk the run and I mean the whole of the run. I told myself to shut up and just run the pace I could, I didn't feel like I was tiring just felt like I was plodding along like i did on my zone 2 winter runs.
The part of the race everyone warned me about was completely different, started to run faster out towards the energy lab. Now was this because I then had taken more salts and energy drink, no idea.......
All of a sudden I felt better, ok I wasn't running any kind of special fast pace but felt good again. As I ran through the bottom part of the energy lab I slowly began to try increase my pace, once we left the energy lab and was back on the highway we had done 30km, I was then passing people, it made me feel even better about myself, so I kept going. Once I knew we were going to head back down the hill to finish through the town I was zooming along. As I ran past my family they screamed at me, I was so happy going through the finish, however I think my final spurt over the last few miles definitely showed as I went through the finishline line as my body just wanted to hold onto something. The volunteers very kindly walked me through to the recovery village, all the volunteers were truly amazing, everywhere on the course, so supportive and encouraging.
Once I had a few minutes to chill I then headed to find my family in the crowd, I was so happy they were there. Even happier when they took me straight to a bar for a beer!
When I finished I wasn't expecting to have come anywhere, but when my sister said I was 5th I was so happy as I had really not felt 100%, I am still not 100% now and I feel a little bad as my brother has the same thing. Sorry bro!
So happy with 5th, it's not my dream position but its still good, plus I still got to go onto the podium and hold my amazing prize up in the air with pride.
So on this trip I have learnt a lot and am also grateful to have had some very good friends that had experience of racing out here so had an idea of what to expect. The Island is very special and you just don't know whats its going to give you.
I loved this race, probably the first Ironman I have actually enjoyed, at any point on that course you could easily crack, for me I just stayed mentally strong and sang to myself to ignore it, a bit strange but it works.
So my next dilemma is do I try and qualify again to try for that top spot???.............................