The inaugural Western Sydney Ironman 70.3 was held on Sunday 29th November 2014. I had entered months before, and by the time race day rolled around, I wasn’t really feeling it. It was going to be hot.
So hot, in fact, that they banned the use of wetsuits in the swim. This was frustrating for me, as I needed all the help I could get in the swim. I had only done about 3 training swims in preparation for this race. I was scared.
My swim group was one of the first groups to be let off. I stuck to the inside. I just put my head down and swam. By staying as close as possible to the inside, I was able to see the rope under the water. By following it, I knew I wouldn’t swim too far out of my way.
I came out of the swim in 44:38, which I was happy with. It was the same swim time I did in Canberra the year before, with much less training.’
I grabbed a drink in transition, but my Gatorade was already warm from the hot sun.
I headed out on the bike course. It was a 2 lap course, mostly flat, with a couple of little hills. Kelly Healey passed me quite early in the bike. She had had a smashing swim, and was having a cracker bike leg too.
There were 2 out and back sections on the course. On the second one, I missed the turnaround, and had to unclip, turn the bike around, and get back on course.
I found this section of the course quite bumpy and uneven, and I struggled to force down a chocolate Powerbar that didn’t want to be eaten.
I completed my first lap, and headed out again for another go.
By now I was starting to feel the heat on the bike. My shoulders were aching. I tried to get down onto my aero bars. I would put one arm down, but couldn’t bring myself to take the leap of faith needed to lay both arms down on the aero bars for the first time. I kept one hand on the aero bar, one hand on the drop bar, and kept alternating.
Halfway through the second lap, Ala Cook overtook me. She was looking fit and fast, and her start group had started about 20 minutes behind mine, so she had made up great time.
With about 10km to go, I managed to get myself down onto both aero bars. HOLY CRAP those things are amazing! Why had I not used them sooner?
My speed started to rise, and the ache in my shoulders began to subside.
With a few kilometres to go, Nicolle Watson overtook me. She too had had a great bike leg.
I got up to 44km/hr on the last hill, which to me felt so fast! But still, people were overtaking me. “I’ll get them all on the run,” I thought to myself.
I finished the bike in 3:31:13, which I was very happy with, as it was nearly half an hour faster than my Canberra time.
FINALLY! A run! Something I know how to do. I had been looking forward to this run all day.
The run course was two and a half laps of the International Regatta Centre. By the time I got there, it was very hot. A cup of ice went down my pants at every water station. I also tipped cups of water over my head, and swallowed as much Gatorade as I could throw at my mouth. I wanted a good run time. As soon as I passed through one water station, I started to look forward to the next one. They were all only a few kilometres apart.
i passed Nicolle Watson in the first couple of kilometres. Ala wasn’t so easy to catch. In fact, I didn’t think I was going to be able to catch her. But with a few kilometres to go, I did. (With an awesome swim and bike leg, she still smashed me on overall time.)
I ran 1:46:31, giving me a total time of 6 hours, 9 minutes, which I was very happy with. I was even happier with the ice blocks and the swim afterwards.
If I ever sign up again for another triathlon, it will be too soon!
And no, I don’t plan on ever doing a full Ironman!