I spent the Friday chilling out thanks to the recommendations of my coach and I traveled up to the race in fine form and ready for it. Aide had also entered the race so we traveled up together. We arrived 5 hours later and registered and worked out the course. We also met up with fellow tweeter @ Brazilianrunner and we drove the bike course. We listened to stories in the bar of the pub we were staying at about how they got the tidal times wrong and it wasn't filling me with much confidence.
So the morning arrived, we sneaked out the pub and headed towards registration. There was 3 different races taking place on the same day so you either completed 1 loop for the standard, 2 loops for the middle distance or 3 loops for the long distance. The swim was to take place in an inlet next to a marina. The tide was coming in and they was a cut off time of 1 hr and 35 minutes. Both myself and Aide were anxious about the swim as we had both bailed out of the Stert Island swim where the conditions had been awful.
All triathletes regardless of what race they were doing started together and on the first loop there was quite a lot of barging. Its here I learnt a valuable lesson..... do not use sun cream on your face as it makes your goggles slide around on your face and allows salt water in which is really quite annoying. I constantly had to stop and empty and adjust my goggles. I took the swim gently knowing that I was in for the long haul. Apart from that the swim went quite quickly and I know that my sighting was a little off and I was glad to be out of the water. The run up to transition was a long one and as I ran up the grass bank I saw Aide in front of me, I don't know which one of us were more surprised but it was a funny moment. Swim time 1.5 miles in 59 minutes (although my Garmin stated a lot more, that's bad sighting for you). I did check as I got out and there was a few other people still swimming.
I started out on the bike and the first lap seemed sooo slow but there was quite a strong headwind. I had to complete 3 loops of the same course approx 25 mile. The roads were smooth mostly flat with a few short hills thrown in. It was a lonely course, most of the middle distance athletes would have been well in front and I didn't see anyone on the first loop and on the second loop I lapped a few middle distance people which gave me a lot of confidence. On the third loop some of the long distance people caught up with me and I finished the last loop with them. Its funny the things you notice when you are doing loops and on the third loop I had started to lose my sense of humor. Those short hills, well on the third loop they had grown into mountains. Garmin says 77 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes. Race nutrition had been interesting, I had taken my usual energy bombs and trek energy bars to eat on the bike but my stomach was feeling unsettled. I had put this down to having to eat instant porridge pots in the morning with the sugar content. I did try and eat on the bike put I felt my stomach swelling and decided that I wouldn't eat any more. I had eaten so much the day before I thought I would be ok. It was hot and I took on 3 bottles of liquid.
I was glad to be off the bike but at this point I wasn't feeling too bad and I set off on the run. I had no idea what to expect on the run and the first few miles was on a hot long road. The route then took us off road down a track along the sea wall. The first part was a small gravelly track and unfortunately I took a tumble quite early which was a bit of a shock to the system but carried on running with cut knees, elbows and hands. The track then turned into a high green bank with a narrow path cut through the grass. I wasn't expecting it and the first lap was quite challenging. I had promised my self that I would run 2 laps 12 miles before I would consider walking. The first lap was long, the 2nd lap seemed quicker. During the second lap some random guy with no shoes on just started to run behind me, I asked him if he wanted to pass me and he said no and asked if I was happy with him running behind me. This did start to freak me out a little so in the end I did turn around and ask him why? I got no answer. Rod also caught up with me on the end of my second lap as he was just about to finish and was nice just to see someone on the course. Once I got to the third lap I was starting to feel the strain. I made myself run the sea walk until I hit the green bank as that was the hardest part to run then I allowed myself to have a short walk then run again. I learnt a lot about myself during this race, it was a lonely race, not many entered into the race so you spent a lot of time on the course alone. I imagine whilst on an Ironman course you will always be surrounded by people. The finish line was in sight and I was glad to see it. The run was 19.79 miles according to my Garmin in 3.31 I was told I was the first lady in.
I had won, I had worked hard, I had finished. I then found out after that the other women hadn't finished.
There was a part of me that thought I had won by default and there are people out there who would like to take that away from me but you know what...... I put myself out there and at the end of the day you have to be in it to win it. I was 15th overall out of 19.
40 - 44
So it was a great experience to do this distance so when I compete in Challenge Roth next year I will feel more confident.