the month leading into this race I just focused on putting what energy I had into riding my bike. I knew that if I felt ok on the bike the race would not take as much out of me as if I spread myself thin over swim bike run in training and then felt terrible before I even completed the 180km on race day.
I didn’t have the energy to do too much in training, and after recognizing I wanted to fix my issues and not keep digging myself into holes, I approached it with the mindset of doing enough to get through the race ok, but not so much I would set back my health. And why do the race at all you ask? Why not look after myself completely? Well I am in a fortunate position that I only needed to finish to qualify for Hawaii. It was far to simple for me to line up in Port Macquarie and tick that box so if I can get myself back on track this year I am able to start and go for the win in Kona, Hawaii, in October.
Race day could not have been better weather, and it could not have been a better result for me. I swam on feet in the swim, and thanks to Graham O’Grady leading the way with Luke Bell then myself on his feet we were able to open up a nice gap on the rest of the field. Onto the bike and I felt really good. Graham lead the way for a while and I told myself just relax and follow him nice and easy. But when we hit the flat section my momentum of my legs carried me past him and I lead the three of us for a while, before getting away at 45km. I felt really good then, got a little carried away and rode solid until I started to fade around 120km. I’d had visions of leading into T2, but very suddenly Paul Ambrose and Luke came past me and I felt like I was standing still. I hadn’t blown to pieces however and just took it easy back to T2, thinking about how I need to take this day as easy as I can, for my health.
I’d had a lot of fun leading the race, and feeling good on the bike reminded me of how I can race when things are going well, of what it feels like to be in that ‘zone’ mentally and physically, with everything just working in sync and to be feeling fast in a race with no one around you. It was great while it lasted and helped my day go so much quicker.
I started the run feeling ok, but quickly made a plan to walk part of every lap so I will still be able to run the crowded section through town right up until the finish, and of course to give my body a break from the stress of running 42km straight. It still hurt so much. I was lucky to have Graham join me early in the run and we ran/walked to the finish together. We both were suffering, and walking wasn’t that much of a release from the pain and fatigue through our bodies. We crossed the line in 9hrs 38mins, and I was so happy it was over. I was in pain with an ITB issue I’ve never had before (lack of running & a hard ride will do that) and my body ached, not as much as I’ve felt before, but considering the time it was a great outcome for me.
I had the usual troubled sleep with aching legs for a couple of nights, but now they are not too bad, the ITB issue has disappeared, and now I have no obligations to train and push my body for a while, well not until I get my health right. I’m resting, waiting on test results, rehabbing, and going through a long list of things I want to do for fun, and things I want to get done around the house (I actually find them fun too).
I do love that bike course in Port Macquarie, I enjoy the rolling hills and flat sections between, and the scenery is great. Once they fix up the bumpy sections of road it will be a dream course. The 4 lap run works well for spectators, I think it gets a little crowded, but again, it’s scenic and goes by pretty quick. Nothing beats a small town race, and Port Macquarie has that great vibe of being taken over by triathletes for a week, your always bumping into old friends on the streets, and everything is within walking distance for athletes and spectators.
Thanks again for all the support I got on the course, especially while I was out in front on the bike 😉
Congratulations to everyone who I competed with on Sunday, it was a great experience sharing the course with you all, and those who qualified or got a lottery, I’ll see you in Kona.