Last time we heard from Ironchick Alison was after her very first 70.3 in Cairns, 2014. At the end of last year, she tackled the West Sydney 70.3 Ironman where her “head was trying to get the better of her.” This honest and motivating race report will help remind you to focus inwards and upwards towards whatever goal you are trying to achieve. Like Ali, you might just reach it (without even realising it at the time) AND then sign up for something bigger and better.
You will find it hard to not get excited when you read about Ali’s finish. Loved it.
So last time I posted I had just finished my very first 70.3 in Cairns.
Post Cairns I felt like I had a point to prove to myself. I knew I could do better and that 6hr mark was achievable so I entered another race – 70.3 West Sydney.
Training for West Sydney was different, it felt different. I felt stronger. I also seeked assistance with my daily nutrition. I think this was one of the best things I did. I thought my diet was pretty good and it was, it just needed some assistance and tweeking. So 2 months out I started eating differently – you could probably say it was cleaner eating. It enabled me to get up from hard training sessions without being so sore which I could hammer the next one a little easier. It was still hard but I felt I could achieve more.
This time round I came through training with no injuries and no illness. Yay! Everything was going well. I had the normal pre six week blue of ‘I’m over the training, the getting up at 4, I miss my kids” (cath- note to all training for Ironman Melbourne, this is probably where you are right now) but soon got over that and focused on the last six weeks of training. I think the help of some really good friends also helped me get over this with our Saturday bunch rides (go the Chick crew).
So we ventured on down to West Sydney for a weekend away (because that’s what you do when you both love Ironman – right?). It was different this time and I think we felt a little loss without our two munchkins being with us. As we went to register for the race, the first thing we saw was where we were to swim. Wow!! The Olympic symbols were on the bridge and this is where they rowed for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Pre race was awesome. We went to the Legends of Ironman dinner where we listened to Craig Alexander, two of the upcoming young guns and Dave ‘The Man of Ironman’ Scott. What a story. He was awesome and I was lucky to meet him the next day. I think he was my good luck charm.
So race day came around – it was weird.
My husband’s wave was before mine and I’m so used to standing with friends prior to a race. I had no one. So I grabbed a conversation where I could. There were quite a few newbies and it was exciting to hear them chat. Our wave was up and the water was gorgeous – no wetsuit swim. The swim went well and I would’ve liked a slightly better time but it’s ok. I had to accept it and get on with it.
Onto the bike leg and about 20kms in my back started to ache. This was a new ache and I thought – oh no you are not going to stop me from getting my sub 6. So I kept going and somehow the pain went away. Once I passed the 60k mark, I just had it in my head it was like doing a trip up to Pallarenda and back – short training ride.
My bike time was great – I was so happy with it and onto the run I went. I always enjoy getting onto the run as you know you are nearly there. Not long to go now.
Half an hour into my run I saw hubby and we cheered each other on.
The great thing about the run was we could hear Pete Murray and the commentary team cheering everyone home. This was great as I heard my husband’s name called when he crossed. So I’m running along clapping and cheering for him.
All was going great and at the 14km mark my head got the better of me. I heard Pete say ‘the athletes out here today work 40-50hr weeks and they have family to juggle as well as the training’… well that was it for me. I thought of my boys (8 and 4) and had a few tears then something clicked and I got on with it.
I chatted and cheered everyone on course as this helped me get to the finish line. Yep I’m one of those competitors who cheers you on and let you know you are doing a great job. The run was hot and you would think coming from Townsville we wouldn’t feel it as much. We did.
Coming down the home stretch I didn’t think I had managed my sub six hours. I had no idea of what my time could be. I was exhausted. Coming down the carpet I slowed down to high 5 everyone and then I saw my hubby on the other side of the finish line. I came across with a few tears as I made it. He then told me I had done a 5:50 – “I did what!!” – then the tears came. OMG!!! I couldn’t grab this concept. That was a 19 minute PB. OMG!!!
So post race what I came away with –
1. pre race nerves, I have to try and tackle these
2. forgetting about the time and just get on with the job at hand…works.
3. Enjoying the race and cheering on your fellow competitors gives you a buzz!
4. Having a motto of ‘just get out there and give it a crack’ could be the best motto to have.
So in saying that, I’ve just taken the challenge and registered for IMWA – Busselton in December next year. More excitingly I get to do it with my great mate who got me into triathlons!
Ali, we loved it. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad that your mind didn’t get the better of you and you are obviously stronger because of it.
Take a little inspiration from Ali and those around you 🙂