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Race day/Sunday, woke up at 4am. Bowl of oats and milk with a small coffee for training. For all my endurance events including half marathons I've always had oats due to the long sustained release of energy they provide me. Was a bit nervous race day morning due to the wet weather. I don't have a whole lot of experience riding hard and fast in the wet weather, but figured everyone else would be in the same position. I had set all my gear out the night before, so packed it all into my bad this morning after a quadripple check that I had everything. Left home just before 5 and arrived at Mooloolaba at 545am. Went straight to transition and set up. Pumped up tyres and set out my transition.
Race Nutrition - I have only ever competed in long distance running and used the basic and minimal nutrition during those events. However for this tri I knew i wanted to work hard so packed extra gels etc "just in case". I packed 5 gels for the race and 2 x bottle of water for the bike. 2 gels were used on the bike (one at 3kms into the bike just after the swim and the other just before jumping off the bike at the 37km mark) along with 1 and 3/4 bottles of water.
2 x gels were used on the run along with endura offered at the aid stations. My first gel in the run was used at the 3km mark and the other just before the 8km mark.
Was super nervous about the swim. I have never been a great swimmer, let alone jumping in the water for an ocean swim with 63 other women. Throughout training I have had to overcome a huge fear of sharks. It didn't even cross my mind on race day. I completed a small beach run down to the swim start to get warmed up and shake the nerves. Jumped into the water to feel the temp and completed a few stroked to get the arms moving. Water was an amazing temperature. Our age group was ushered into the starting line area at 650am. Caught up with my coach Em Quinn from T ZERO Multisport who reassured me I would be fine and do great in the race! This was so comforting to hear! Super nervous, the horn went and we all bolted into the water. I hesitated a little and stood mid pack for the start. There were arms and legs everywhere, which I had expected. I was mid pack which meant I was right in amongst it all. I just held my line and focused on getting out to the first pink buoys. The lead pack broke away almost instantly, meanwhile the mid pack of girls were still trying to find our way. I copped an elbow to the jaw and someone’s finger got caught in my watch strap haha. After the turn around at the first pink buoys the pack I was in started to spread out. Some of the girls dropped off and some of the girls moved forward. I slowly found my groove. I was trying to remember everything I had ever been taught about swim technique but all I could do was just put one arm in front of the other and keep moving. I tried bilateral breathing, but just couldn't get enough air into the lungs to do so. I ended up completing strokes breathing on one side for a while before swapping sides and breathing on the other. I caught a few girls, and some caught me. The swell actually made me feel a bit dizzy a couple of times, just because I wasn't used to it. I found the swim course easy to follow and popped my head up numerous times to make sure I was on track and taking the fastest route possible between each turn around. I can recall just thinking "stay calm, pretend it's a swim training session with a bunch of girls". I found it quite difficult heading back out towards the ocean after swimming towards shore and around the second lot of buoys. The swim course was an M shape which meant we had to swim back out to sea for the last and final turn around before heading back to shore. The swell was against us on the way back out, at one point I literally felt like I wasn't even moving. Once we hit the final turn around and were heading back to land I could see the swim exit and the spectators on the sand. I had a huge amount of adrenaline and excitement knowing that the hardest leg (or so I thought at the time) was almost over. I kicked hard for the last few meters into the beach and half caught a wave in to the shore. I checked my watch while running out of the water and saw 30mins! I was soooo happy! I had never competed in open water before, let alone swam 1500m in 30mins! Psyched! Had a little smile to myself. * Swim total time 30mins 43secs.
Transition 1 (T1) - My legs felt like jelly and I struggle to get enough breath in. Cheers from friends and family made it a whole lot easier. Ran into my transition. Grabbed my helmet, an extra gel into my suit back pocket, sunnies on and had to put my cleats on. (I can't yet flying mount or dismount). *Transition 1 took 2mins 50secs.
Bike - Holy heck, the ride up and out onto Buderim avenue was a toughy for me. The legs were certainly burning and my heart was going a million miles an hour. Was super thirsty but just wanted to get out onto the straight and narrow of the sunshine motorway before having my gels and some water. The bike leg loop was awesome. Pretty flat and fast. After turn around I struggle with the head/cross winds a little bit. I didn't have aero bars on my roadie so it was head down bum up, and trying to tuck in as much as possible. I managed to catch a few of the girls that had left the swim before me. I really enjoyed the bike leg of the race. I found it challenging and also a great experience. I averaged 27.96kms/hr. Not super fast, but with cross winds etc I am pretty happy with the result. "Little G", my little hand me down Giant, got me from A to B successfully with no punctures and no worries. Thanks "Little G" ! I few weeks before the race I had decided to lift my bike seat a centremetre or two. Having short legs but a long body meant that if i lifted my seat any higher I struggled to get off my bike easily. During the race even though I had lifted my seat a few weeks earlier, I still felt like I could have lifted it even more to get more length out of my pedal stroke. However it was what it was, and perhaps the next step is to actually get a bike fit! I loved the ride back into transition past all the spectators. It was all down hill on the way home. Unclipped and ran into transition 2. *Total bike time 1.25.50hrs
Transition 2 (T2) - Transition 2 was pretty simple for me. Rack my bike, helmet off. I shoved 2 extra gels down the front of my tri suit, slipped on my hat and popped on my shoes. No socks - no worries! * Transition 2 time was 1min 36sec
Run - Hear I was thinking the run would be my happy place! NO WAY! It hurt big time. I had done my brick sessions in training, however this race hurt big time. My legs felt really good straight off the bike and through the Mooloolaba esplanade, however by the time I hit the Alexandra Headland up and over, My left quad, just inside and just above my knee really started to pull. It felt like the muscle was just turning into a big ball and wanted to just pull apart. I've never really experienced that pain before. I ran to the 4kms mark before quickly pulling up for 15secs to give it a quick rub. OUCH! Over the next 6kms to the pain came and went in both quads. I decided that I would just run it off. Everyone was in the same boat and hurting. Walking would not be an option. I took advantage of all the water, hoses and endura available on the course. I had my gels and just kept plodding away. I checked my watch and saw my pace, it was super slow. But I knew as long as I put everything I could into the race I would be happy. I caught up to at least 3-4 other girls that had dusted me in the bike leg and passed them, so i was happy with that. Got up and over the last section of the race which was Alexandra Headlands hill. She's a beauty! Headed towards the finish line and found the energy to have a little sprint finish to beat a lady in my age group just before the finish line. *Run time 59.01
RACE OVERVIEW -
This was my first ever Olympic Distance Triathlon. I had no idea what to expect and started training only 6 or so weeks ago. My training programs from Coach Emma have been amazing. Hard, but rewarding. My swimming has definitely stepped up a notch and I was super stoked with that. Next on the bike list will be some aero bars and some more strength work to get the legs super strong. I would love to get the bike time down even more. Would be super stoked to get the run leg time a lot further down. That will also come from more concentration on leg strength and nutrition to ensure I don't cramp/seize up (like my quads did on race day).
The event was well organized and the volunteers were awesome! Over the next few months I am looking at completing a few half marathons and through winter will be concentrating on training for an awesome result at Noosa Triathlon in November. Lots of work to do before then, but I am in incredible hands with Coach Emma Quinn and the team at T Zero Multisport and thanks for the cheers on the course guys!!!