This is getting a bit back to front, with my race report for the Taupo Half Ironman done before the Tinman I did last weekend – but this is the most recent and of course, the most significant! I thought I’d get the race report done now, and try and write about how I’m feeling about it all later. Suffice to say, words nearly can’t describe how proud I am of my achievement – nor how sore I am today. I am proud and delighted with yesterday’s effort, and very very grateful for all my supporters everywhere – friends, family, colleagues, Facebook and Twitter friends – you have all played such an invaluable role in getting me to the finish line. Thank you. And now, the really hard work begins – the NZ Ironman is just 12 weeks away!
So, to the race report (its a bit long):
Set alarm for 4:15am in the end. Up and eating by 4:30am, was worried about getting my tummy sorted and getting the car packed and away on my own! Also had a sudden panic about whether I’d be able to get into the road by the Police Station. Just drove around cones. Sorted! Was in transition by 5:05am – very early but knew that I would have everything sorted in loads of time.
All went well. Laid everything out in order. Food packs with each set of gear. Pumped tyres to just over 100. Didn’t think it was going to be a stinking hot day but didn’t want to take any chances!
Left all my Leppin at transition! Realised I needed one for just before swim so had to go back. Pleased I had loads of time.
Found a Police colleague from Palmerston North by the Police Station so had a good, distracting chat while I got my wetsuit on. It was good!
Went into water and listened to briefing in water – didn’t put my head under just yet though – was a bit cold! After briefing, got into it, did some swimming. Was really happy with the way the wetsuit was feeling on my arms. Swam out to race start.
Start seemed to take a long time to come, I got quite cold. Was just waiting and waiting! Cracked up at the national anthem – didn’t quite feel like standing at attention to sing! Was happy with position.
Race started, started watch and got underway. Not too much like a washing machine, managed to hang onto loads of people’s feet! Realised very very quickly that there were lots of people at my level in the swim – or slower – was a nice feeling. Passed lots of people. Was feeling incredibly comfortable. Arms working well, breathing going well. Absolutely loving the swim. Got to the first buoy in no time, still feeling really comfortable, never needed to stop to breaststroke for a breather. Am really really happy with the swim. Room for improvement time-wise, but very happy.
Got out of water and started slow jogging along the carpet – and felt good! I passed people! Wasn’t a difficult run at all. Unzipped wetsuit along carpet, but didn’t pull out arms until going up the steps. I was ahead of time.
Got out of wetsuit, pulled up my change towel and very easily got out of my bikini bottoms and into cycle pants – didn’t take as long as I thought it would – I had been a bit worried because I hadn’t practised it! Even got the chafing cream on okay! Got my top on, shoved a peanut butter sandwich in my mouth while I carried on getting ready. Sort of dried feet, pulled on socks and shoes, sunglasses (put lens’ in my back pocket in case my contacts played up), put on my helmet. Put on my race number. Left. Walked out – rolled my ankle in a hole just before the bike mount! Grrr! Hoped that wouldn’t come back to bite me later!
First quarter of bike: Wow, feel GREAT on the bike. Very comfortable. Pants feel good. Was a bit worried about Napier-Taupo Highway. And it was absolutely fine – didn’t even need to stand to get up it! Couldn’t believe it! The slight uphill to the ETA seemed to take absolutely forever! Only a few people passed me at this point. Got onto ETA, slugged back some drink. Nice smooth road – loved it! Something metal pinged off my bike – WTF was that? Slight panic while I tried to make sure it wasn’t a wheel pin or something! Realised it was my CO2 canister which had flicked out of the rear bottle holder. Talk about a fright!
The rest of this first quarter went superbly well and exactly to plan. I ripped down the hills and was rocking on the flats. Way ahead of time. I was stoked. Had a Leppin in the first quarter. New Cyclezone cycle jersey is just awesome – first time I haven’t been constantly tugging a jersey down!
Second quarter also went superbly well – seemed to take forever to get to Reporoa – but it always does on this bit. Average of 27 – absolutely stoked. On the aero bars or drops most of the way. Fuelled and hydrated along the way. Still way ahead of time. Got to Reporoa (first time I’d seen Mike since Friday!) in under 1h45. Very very happy. Got off and went to the toilet. Bottom already very sore in the new spot.
A few people passed me, but I just kept thinking – I beat you in the swim! Started eating jet planes. I was very happy with this leg, and knew that I could push it over 90km – which admittedly, I don’t do in training.
Third quarter of the bike: Suck. Absolutely suck. The headwind was worse than any I have trained in, and I have trained in some bad wind. Constant head wind, right from the turn around. The goal was to maintain 22 to the bottom of the hills, but just couldn’t – could barely keep it above 12. It was just awful. I nearly got blown off my bike on one corner, and was going backwards in some places. It was just suck. I just hadn’t planned a contingency around wind – or that sort of wind. Had a peanut butter sandwich at some point. Also started on the protein bar. Replaced water at the aid station.
Fourth quarter of bike: Couldn’t wait to get to the hills! Who would have thought I would say that! And they were absolutely fine. I got out of the saddle for them, mainly to rest my bum. Actually enjoyed them! Had hoped they would give me a reprieve from the wind but sadly they didn’t. Focused on eating jet planes and protein bar and taking on fluid. Sped down the hills to get into town, but didn’t get as fast as I’d hoped due to the wind factor.
Completely gutted with the time. I’d done 3h55 on a bad bottom day previously and had been hoping for 3h45. Disappointed and a bit worried about how much the wind had taken out of my legs for the run. Ended up with an overall average speed of 22.5. Gutted.
Stuffed another sandwich down my mouth. Pulled out my change towel and managed to get out of bib shorts and into tri shorts pretty easy. Took off cycletop and put on fuel belt (which rocks by the way!) Was a bit worried about using it when I hadn’t trialled it in training but it was just awesome. Fluffed around a bit trying to decide what fuel to take. My tummy doesn’t like running very much so I was a bit worried about how that would go. In the end took a sandwich and another bag of jetplanes and protein bar squares and a Leppin. Can’t remember whether I jogged out of transition or not!
First quarter of run: Ouch. Left knee started hurting straight off the bike. Something I need to get sorted! I hurt absolutely everywhere! I absolutely didn’t think I could do it. Mike told me I could! Even though I was gutted about the wind on the bike, I was thankful for the conditions on the run because it wasn’t too hot – I actually felt cold at some points! Couldn’t go any faster than 130 heart rate – legs just dead. Focused on keeping moving, steady pace, taking on water. Walked hill up to turnaround.
Second quarter of run: Actually managed to get heart rate up into 140 for most of the rest of the run so was reasonably happy with that. Focused on taking on fluid. Realised I had only brought one Leppin with me which was a bit of a concern. At the first fuel stop they told me they had run out, but managed to grab a couple of extra gels on the way back. Still hurting but still moving which gave me a big boost! Had a Leppin at some point on the way back into town – and immediately my tummy starting getting upset. First time the whole day. I definitely need to fuel up on the bike because my system doesn’t like it on the run. With superb timing, my friend Nina appeared out of nowhere and gave me some Gastrosoothe – five minutes later problem gone. Fantastic and awesome learning for next time! Went to the toilet at the harbour. Walked the hill up to the transition area.
Third quarter of run: Mike was waiting opposite KFC on the lakefront with our friend Ben. I had run out of water by this stage so he ran off to get more. I was worried the fuel stations would run out by the time I got there – I already knew that the bike had set me back and my run was much slower than anticipated so I was worried about being allowed to finish. I also knew I wasn’t going to go under eight hours which was disappointing, but not a deal breaker. Just kept going. Mike and Ben then jumpfrogged the rest of the bike course, waiting for me every few kilometres and helping me keep going. They were awesome. Still running at this point! Couldn’t quite believe it! Very focused on taking on fluid because I knew I wasn’t going to try and eat anything else. Had Balance electrolytes at the aid station – fortunately that didn’t muck me up too much. Decided to walk the hills and run in between.
Fourth quarter of run: Man this was tough. Still running though which I just found unbelievable! Mike and Ben still there the whole way. Kept focusing on what Kathy had said – work out how to get through right now – what will get me through the next 100metres, 500 metres. Starting counting rubbish bins, flags and power poles!! More fluid at every stop. Walking up the hills. People in front of me had walked the whole of the second lap so was trying to catch them. Just got there and they started running! And then finally got to the boat harbour and on the last stretch. Walked up the hill and then ran around the corner and into the finish! Although I hurt everywhere, I still felt very okay about everything!
I was so stoked to finish. Everyone was so supportive and happy. I was so happy. And very proud. I hadn’t thought the Half Ironman would be the achievement it was, mainly because I knew it wasn’t the main goal, but I am so pleased to have done it. It was a huge achievement. If it hadn’t been for that wind on the return lap of the bike, my race plan would have gone nearly perfectly to plan. Everything else did, and in the end, the run wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be either.
Swim was sensational.
First part of bike was fantastic.
Second part of the bike sucked.
And the run just had to be done.
Taupo Half Ironman…DONE!