Thursday, May 26, 2011

Do you have days?

My training hasn't even started for Yeppoon yet and I can feel the urge to get out growing ever stronger. I have taken up going for group activities with the girls from the club. Wednesday group rides and today I did my first trail run. But firstly lets speak about the Wednesday bike ride.

Talk about windy. The weather bureau had forecasted an extreme weather warning for Sydney with gusts of winds being recorded over 90km/hr coming from the South and heading North. Which meant if we were not going to get the full brunt of it atleast we were going to get a good taste of windy weather.

I was in 2 minds about going. Firstly because I don't like wind at all and secondly because it can pose some serious risk to your health if you are caught off guard. But when all the girls turned up primed and ready to go - I bit the bullet and went along, even though deep deep down I was nervous. Did I need to be nervous? No.

Yes, the ride was windy and challenging at times but it wasn't as bad as I had expected. The route that we took was chosen to provide maximum shelter from the wind and enhance the advantages of tailwinds on the way back. The route was about 60km in distance and one of the girls Kelly decided she would like to have a crack at the Greendale route. I remember my first time and fully understood how nervous she was and I did the hills with her. She conquered those hills with such strength, resilience and a smile and everyone was so happy for her in conquering such a mammoth ride. Well done Kelly - we are very proud of you.

Then yesterday I decided to have a go at my first ever trail run. WOW, what an amazing morning. Talk about exhilarating and challenging. For the first time ever I felt like a hard core runner. I felt like one of the pack - and I will never ever forget that feeling. It was my best friend Susan's first attempt at trail running too and let me tell you she totally nailed it.
Little did I know what lay ahead in challenges for me. As Genelle turned up, then her son and his friend and then Kristen - we headed off for a warm up run before the real trail running started.
Entrance to the trail.

As we stopped at this bridge is was time for a stretch and then we got cracking up my first set of challenges. STAIRS. This was not easy - whilst I saw them all bound up those stairs like gazelles I grabbed onto the rail and pulled myself up one by one until the steep stairs levelled out and it then became a bit of a slow slog up the rest till the top. This trail running business is definitely an art form.
Once it levelled out up the top and my heart rate dropped below heart attack range - Genelle sent her son and his friend to do stair repeats - OUCH. The rest of us went for a run - a run which I can only describe as glorious. The smells, sights, sounds made my senses come alive. The crackling of dry leaves under foot, the smell of eucalyptus was thick in the air and there were some strange scurrying sounds nearby which I knew could only belong to lizards or mice as it was too cold for snakes.

I tried really hard to stay focused on the ground in front of me as there was a myriad of rocks at every placement of my foot. Some were embedded deep within the ground, others were loose and laying on top. There were big rocks, little rocks, crushed sandstone, twigs, fallen branches, roots - you name it, and I needed to not be falling on any of them. I needed to make each of my footfalls light and try to stay on my forefoot as much as possible. It worked - thanks Kristen. But I must admit the mental concentration was starting to outweigh the physicality of it all. My goal was - don't twist your ankle.

Once at the top - this was the majestic view we had to take in.
And I got to share it with these wonderful women.
The thing I like about trail running is that it is not about speed but rather the amount of time spent running. I can see the physical benefits that you would gain from doing this once a week and how much stronger I will be as a result of it. I could feel my hamstrings and calf muscles really working overtime. You don't even really realise the distance you are covering because you are just enjoying what nature has to offer.

The remainder of the run saw us meandering through some more bush but then going through suburban streets and parks. We finished off down a nice stretch of sealed road which was totally closed off to traffic. The one thing I realised running down hill is how easy it is to get a stitch. I must bounce around too much and not hold my core firm. Oh well, was a good opportunity to stop and get a photo.
So we finished up running 10.6km in about 1hr 15mins. I was so happy and proud of Susan. This was not only her first time trail running but it was also her furthest distance running. She is trying to work her way up to Half Marathon distance and at this rate she could well run a Marathon before too long. Thanks for a wonderful morning ladies. Looking forward to next week already.

"You'll never discover new horizons if you're afraid to leave the shore"

Monday, May 23, 2011

What inspires you?

Since starting on this journey of mine, the goal posts on many of my dreams have changed more times than I would like to count. The one's however that has stayed consistent through it all has been maintaining my fitness and to continue taking steps forward. These have been like the slab of a house - strong and sturdy throughout it all. Each step I take forward makes me stronger, healthier and happier - but it also takes me one step further away from the old me - the sick me of 2 yrs ago.

On Dailymile today one of the missions was to show other DM'ers what inspired you? And this is what I came up with?
And what inspires me is to continue setting goals consecutively so I can continue to move forward. I want to stay fit and healthy because it's what makes me happy. And aside from my family and friends whom I love dearly and who all have only my best interests at heart- nothing gives me greater pleasure than to work my way towards something which I never thought I could do. It proves to me that I am capable of whatever it is I set my mind to do.

"When you passion and your purpose is
greater than you fears and excuses
You will find a way"

I don't make excuses for myself anymore - there's no need to really. I have already proven to myself more times than not that I can and the only one who holds me back IS ME. And sure some things scare me and overwhelm me - like waiting to get into the water at Port, but allowing myself to enjoy each and every opportunity that come's before me whether they be easy or hard makes me realise more and more that life at this very given moment should be grasped with both hands and made the most of. Life is there for the taking - what have you got to lose?

This weekend was one such opportunity too good to miss. Not because I participated in the event but I got to be on the other side of the fence as photographer at our clubs first Duathlon of the season.

I loved cheering everyone on and taking photos - many were very bad (hence the reason I am not a paid photographer) however many others after some good editing turned out not too shabby. I was quite happy with my efforts - and let me tell you I was huffing and puffing running from one vantage point to the next to make sure I didn't miss out on anyone - which I am sure I still did.

Watching people riding inspired me to get more focused on my bike. To maybe change the set up on it and make it slightly more aggressive. Which is what I did this morning. Nothing is ever too much for the boys at Panther Cycles, Dave had me all set up in a jiffy and then I got to have a good chat with Blanche - that was nice. I'm looking forward to getting out this Wednesday with the girls and testing it out and seeing how it all feels. There is still more room to move with the bars should I feel I would like to come down further. But lets see after Wednesday.

So what inspires you?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Kickin' it.

What an absolutely wonderful day today has been so far. Sore throat is settling thanks to Diflam and I got to go out for a run with my bestie Susan. What more could a girl want. Feeling kind of lucky and special that I get to enjoy the middle of the days like this.

Running with Susan today highlighted a couple of things:
  • My average pace per km has gotten faster. My 5min/km now feels easy. I wasn't ever expecting to feel that.
  • I even ran for a bit at 4:30 pace due to simply changing my foot strike. I am a notorious heel striker as well as hip wobbler, but today I got serious on my form and lo and behold my pace got faster. Funny that. And it didn't even hurt to run at that pace either.
  • Susan was looking to me to be her pacer as she wants to train up to a Half Marathon. Now anyone who knows my bestie Susan knows that she is a gun at running and runs like a gazelle. But she wanted me to show her a pace that could be sustainable for that longer distance. I felt honoured to be able to help - she has always been my sounding board on the running side of things.
  • I now feel comfortable to accept people's compliments when they say I am a runner. Mind you I still think I run funny.
We finished running 8km in 40mins. I was very very happy with this considering this is my longest run since Port 70.3. Looks like Winter training is going to go great. I should hopefully finish up my training for Yeppoon a stronger, much more competent runner - fingers crossed.

Today was also great because one of my blog postings made it on the Dailymile BLOG. Check it out here: CODE BROWN. I know this has happened to nearly everyone I have spoken to and thought I would share the love with you all with a little scientific knowledge behind why we need to go when we need to go. Hope it makes you giggle.
I also forgot to mention that I got a new hairdo on Monday by my friend Jennie. Absolutely love love love it. It had been months since I got a colour done - yes I'd had trims but a colour and some sprucing up is just what this gal needed.
We are already in discussions about the next DO. Stay tuned.

Good thing is the kids love it and so does Stephen. God only knows they have seen and tolerated my many different hairstyles which I change at a whim - but this one is definitely a STAYER in their eyes.

How has your day been?

Now off I go to finish my housework.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And some!!!

Started off as a NOT MUCH week but has since progressed with speed into a THEN SOME. I have been wanting - actually YEARNING to get back into some form of training but know that I really don't have that long till it all starts up again so I should just enjoy the leisurely and really social aspect of just getting out.

So with that said I got back into Windtrainer Sessions with TopNotch and my buds and enjoyed a really good hour of doing intervals which focused on technique. It's amazing how a few off intense training and completing a 70.3 can really affect you. Even though I wasn't totally spent, I could feel my form start to drop much quicker which indicates fatigue. Nevermind - it shouldn't take too long to get back into the swing of things.

Then on Tuesday I went out for another ride - only this time on my own and just did 30km at a nice easy pace to flush out the old legs and to soak up the glorious rays. Our weather at the moment - although crisp in the mornings has been absolutely AMAZING during the days. I don't think we could be asking for anything better this time of year. After the ride I caught up with Susan and Melanie for a coffee and bite to eat. Haven't done that in a while with you guys - thanks girls.

Then yesterday I was invited to go for another bike ride with the regular Wednesday group of girls.
Thanks so much for a wonderful morning ride and coffee afterwards. You girls are totally inspirational - something I aspire to be like in the not too distant future. The strength in those legs is without a doubt AMAZING. I have been so lucky since joining PTC - every single person has been more than willing to have me jump on board. I thankyou all from the bottom of my heart and I look forward to many more Wednesday and Sunday Chick rides. Then in the afternoon I was treated to yummy cupcakes and coffee at D's house. YUMMO. What a day.

Last night though after a glorious day in the sun - my throat has decided to pack it in. It's scratchy, dry and feels like it has been scolded. Ughhhhh - maybe it was all the huffing and puffing I did trying to get up some of - actually all of those hills. Or maybe it's an infection. Off to the chemist this morning I go for some medication. I have to terminate the bugs existence before it try's to ruin my week.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tonnes of stuff

That's what this weekend had in store for me. It was jam packed with alot of good times, laughs and memories.

Sunday morning I woke up bright and early to head into the city with a friend from Dailymile Andrew. He and 12 others were competing in the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon representing not only themselves but also Dailymile. What an experience it was for me to be on the other side of an event - as a cheer leader. As an official cheer squad representing Dailymile.

The morning was a blast. FREEZING but so alive with energy, nerves, excitement - and that was just for me. I wasn't even competing and I was totally fuelled and ready to go. I could only imagine how everyone else was feeling. It was really nice to catch up with everyone - some whom I had met before and others who it was my first time meeting. Being part of this community - not only the Dailymile community but this fitness community is unlike any other. I am so happy to be a part of it all. I also spotted some friends from my Tri Club PTC, my training group TopNotch and my friend and ex-beautician who has since moved towns.
Then when I came home aside from the fact that I was still so very cold, I was welcomed home with the best lunch ever from my husband and children. Mum came to join us also.
This was absolutely divine - tasty and filling - just what I needed to warm up.

The only downer to this whole weekend is the fact that I just can't really seem to shake this sinus congestion. It's kind of lingered with me ever since that last infection and my head always feels full and slightly Neanderthal like. After Yeppoon it looks like there could be a possible trip to a specialist.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Could I be any prouder - I think not.

My kids are just so inspirational. I cannot speak highly enough of them even if I tried. Last week they played their first tennis comp and totally ruled the courts. No matter how scared they were they went out onto that court and played with so much GUSTO that it brought tears to my eyes.

This week it was as though the boys had been playing since FOREVER. Taillah had a BYE but still helped out on the court. It is really nice as a parent to watch your kids do so well and work well as a team. I couldn't be prouder - even the parents of the children who my kids played against commended them on their behaviour and manners.

I look at my kids and feel honoured to be their Mum. They really are great kids. Even when all their self doubt started to surface last week, they still smiled their BIG smiles and kept at it - maintaining their cool. Me on the other hand totally suck at being a reserved tennis spectator. I must learn tennis etiquette and refrain from cheering from courtside. This is NOT a TRIATHLON. It is not cool to WooHoo when my kids score a point.

I am also terribly proud of my husband. He started back playing tennis after almost a 10yr hiatus and is such a naturally gifted tennis player it is a real pleasure to watch. I can't wait for him to start playing comp so I can go watch and try to behave courtside NOT. How can anyone not get excited or is it just that I get OVER EXCITED. Either way I may have to buy myself a muzzle so I can force myself to be quiet.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sincerely yours.

Dear Mr truck driver:

As I was riding my bike this morning, minding my own business but observing road rules, I had all hopes of having an enjoyable ride. It was sunny, brisk and a bit windy but nonetheless a really beautiful morning.

I am sure when you set out for work this morning you had all intentions of just doing your job and finishing the day with hopes of getting home after a hard days work safe and healthy. Those are my intentions everytime I go for a bike ride too. You see I have a husband and children whom I love dearly and look forward to being with everyday. I'm not sure if you have a wife and children, but I am sure you have some family to speak of who care about you too.

So my question to you is - Why do you chose to make decisions which could not only affect my life but that of yours too? Do you really not value another person's life or even that of your own and your family? You seriously cannot be that devoid of emotion!!!!!

Could you not see me? I was wearing a bright yellow vest - I thought it would stand out - clearly not in your eyes. I am always thinking of what to wear so I stand out. But still you chose to either ignore the fact that I require the same respect on the road as I give to you or you just couldn't care less or you were caught up thinking. If the latter is you - then I suggest you take a good hard look at yourself and realise the impact of your lack of decision making on another human life.

I know you probably wanted to get to your destination quickly, but seriously, would another 20 seconds have altered the outcome of your morning that much. It could have altered mine. It is lucky I ride cautiously, that I make myself as aware as possible of my surroundings. Had I have chosen to look down or have not been focused my morning could have ended differently. You made me grind to a holt because you wanted to get to your destination. You made me very scared. I could not believe what I was seeing before my very eyes.

So all I ask is - the next time you are out driving, please open your eyes. Stay focused on the road in front of you and realise that you are not the only individual using our roads. Exercise critical thinking and make sure your choices are appropriate - regardless of your schedule for the day. Know that your manners out on the road are highly regarded when you behave.

I want to look forward to my rides and I want to share the roads with you in a manner which benefits both you and I.

Sincerely yours


Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Arghhhhhh, Winter has decided to come early and I wish it had of decided to have kept it's usual schedule of appearing at 1st June. I can't get over how cold it is. We got our first frost this morning and it was a doozie. It got me thinking -

This Winter training for Yeppoon is going to be hard stuff.

Hard because I can never seem to defrost. Last Sunday when I went for a ride with Elissa, it actually took me till midday from 8:30am (ride finish time) to actually defrost. My fingers and toes were a beautiful shade of beetroot for hours, but the actual cold I felt in my bones lasted for much longer. And I was all rugged up too. I wore - singlet, long sleeve, jersey, cycle jacket, wind vest, cycling shorts, long pants, 2 pairs of socks, headband which covered my ears, and gloves - AND I was still a frozen popsicle on the bike.

I wonder if I could invent a bodysuit that has an inner layer like an electric blanket that is pedal powered.

I would hate to be that frozen that I end up like this:
On a different note: Entries for Port Macquarie Ironman 2012 opened today and sold out within a couple hours. They are opening up another 100 entries tomorrow at midday. For all of my friends that did not get through - may you be one of those lucky 100.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Post 70.3 feelings and more race pics.

So I am still waiting for this post race slump that I have heard about and can't seem to find it anywhere. In fact, I think I may have found this thing called the post race mania. I can't stop smiling, reflecting, re-living, wondering and even setting some more short, mid and long term goals. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would get this drawn in by a sport. Actually I think it's the whole lifestyle associated with it. Not only is everyday varied but it is probably the most well rounded in terms of fitness for me.

I have found that I am able to recover each different muscle group effectively because you don't seem to be constantly repeating the same sort of activity. And it's this variety that keeps me interested.

Since the 70.3 I have seem to recovered really well. The first 3 days I waddled a bit like a penguin. My hips felt like they had be soldered and my quads ached so badly it hurt to sit, stand or anything for that matter. But after that I think I was fairly good to go. I went for a nice easy bike ride the Thursday morning following with Nicole as stated in the previous blog and although I felt good, I got to about half way through the ride and had absolutely nothing to give. So I quickly realised I wasn't that good to go.

Then on Sunday - Mothers Day, I went for a quick bike ride before my gorgeous family got up. Elissa and I rode for about 90mins and a really comfy pace and I felt amazing, except for the fact that it was 4 degrees celsius. Talk about being cold. My fingers and toes were frozen stiff and a beautiful shade of beetroot. Winter sure has made it's presence felt.

So I spoke about these short, mid and long term goals. Here is my plan up till 2013. I told you there was a long term goal.

SHORT: Yeppoon 70.3 August 14.

I would like to attempt to beat my time from Port, even if only by 2 mins. So I have looked at all my splits and think this could be possible. I need to get a little bit more assertive in the water and try to hold my ground and go out harder than what I did. The one thing I noticed is that nobody holds back and if they have to swim over you to get to where they want to get to - they will. So I need to stay ahead of that bunch.

When it comes to the bike, at Yeppoon it is a flat 5 lap course. So if all goes well I am hoping to hold a 30km/hr average. At Port they averaged my pace at 28km/hr. I think I can do this.

Now for the run, I have decided that I will not walk every aid station rather every second. I am hoping to hit a 2hr 21.1km. And if I can do that between the bike and the run, I have saved myself 15mins which should drop the 5hr 52mins to 5hr 37min.

Of course I know things can go wrong but in the perfect world this is what I am hoping to achieve.

MID: Port Macquarie 70.3 2012.

The only way to know in my head if I have improved for sure is to do the same race and same course. So when registration opens up for Port Macquarie 70.3 2012 I will sign up with much excitement and anticipation.

LONG: Port Macquarie Ironman 2013.

Oh boy, I have said it out loud. I have declared it to the world and am so happy. There was something about seeing all of my fellow team mates tackle that goal that made me want the same. 3 weeks ago on a ride with Cloe and Elissa the year 2013 was brought up as being the year that we would tackle that dream. I said YES but inside was scared. But now that I have tackled my first 70.3 I think somewhere deep down I have what it takes to finish the full IM. And I think by extending it to 2013 I am giving myself the best opportunity to realise that dream.

So with these wheels set in motion I look forward to reaching every single one of them.

Here are some more photos from Port:

These photos courtesy of Jeff Akers.

Team Barbie - you guys are just the BEST and I love you more than words can say. This day was made so much easier because you were all in it.
Mum, Ule, Elissa, Susan, Kyle, Me, Stephen, Taillah,Kurtis, Aunty June, Uncle George, Julie & my Father in law Barry.
My number 1 supporter and my love, Stephen.
I may be taller than my Mum - but she holds me up and supports me all the time.
My life - they are my everything. I love you beyond all measure.
My best friend/sister Susan. Love you.
My strength, my rock, Elissa. Love you.
Sometimes you just have to cut loose.

Stay tuned for more photos. They just keep coming!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Port Macquarie 70.3 Race Report

What a day. What an AWESOME day. What a STUPENDOUS day. Every emotion was felt a thousand times over with each of my senses in overdrive. It was without a shadow of a doubt the most amazing day ever since embarking on this journey and made all of the pain during training so worth it.

When I woke up Sunday morning after a restless nights sleep I set about working through my pre-race preparation list. I even had my breakfast on this list. But I work well when I have a plan to stick to and this morning was going to be no different. Susan and her hubby Ule had come over and was up at the crack of dawn with me and making me a cup of coffee and filming my every step. It wasn't long after that Elissa was up, then Mum then the rest of the clan.

Pretty soon it was time to leave and Elissa, Mum and I set out so I could go get my race marking on my leg.
I was not nervous at this point, rather just going with the flow and making sure I tried to remember everything. From there it was time to head over to transition to wait for it to open so I could set up my race kit.
This is when the nerves started to become apparent. You know that dreaded dry mouth syndrome. Thats what I had. But I still worked through the process of what I needed. It was good to have Zoe come over and have her help me see if I set out everything correctly. Whilst there I saw Kristen, Kim, Cloe, Mel, Ruth, Paul, Barto, Matt, Trent and Andrea. I even got to meet Tiffany Loftus-Hills who is the editor of Australian Triathlete Magazine. She is a really nice woman and gave me massive amounts of encouragement along the course.

Before too long it was time to give my whole family and friends a big kiss through the fence and it was time to head off to the swim start.
Standing around with close to 500 competitors was nerve wracking. I could feel my emotions start to engulf me and I said bye to my friends and stood on my own to the right till I was hugged from behind by Zoe. She patted me on the back and told me that all would be good. As we made our way into the water I took a deep breath and thought THIS IS IT.

Making my way out to our start I felt good. I saw both Ruth and Paul out there and we were all very excited. We wished eachother goodluck and then the sound of a Muscut went off. I tried to stay ahead of the rush but I could feel everyone start to move forward and before I knew it they were all around me and on top of me - literally. They were tapping toes, grabbing legs and jostling for my position. It really took every ounce of restraint to hold my ground and pacing.
As we hit the turnaround point, the mass of swimmers started to thin out like I thought they would and I was able to find some clear water. I took full advantage of it and started to lengthen out my stroke and I started chipping away at swimmers. Coming back in and finding the exit was easy. All I had to do was look for the red carpet and the mass of people. And no sooner did I start to see and feel sand at my fingertips I got up and started running.
I could hear my name being called and when I finally looked up there was a multitude of faces and not once at this point could I spot my family. Official swim details for 1.9km swim:

Time: 31:09
Overall rank out of water: 81
Division position rank: 17
Average per 100m: 1:38
T1: 2:10

At transition I tried my hardest to stay focused and make sure I had those 2 gels before getting on my bike. I applied sunscreen, put my shoes, helmet, race bib, sunnies on and Ventolin puffer in my Bento box and made my way to the exit. Making my way out of the main town centre was a real buzz. Absolutely everyone was shouting out my name - there were cowbells going crazy, those big horns "Vuvuzelas" and people clapping hands. It was so overwhelming.
Then the hard work began. Trying to climb hills on legs that are deficient in blood flow is very hard. The first 10km out of town are nothing but rolling hills and I really struggled. I got up them but the toll on my legs was something I could not ignore. So needless to say when I hit the downhills I just tried to let them recover. Making my way out Ocean Drive was the hardest thing I had ever done. There was a headwind the whole way and it hurt really bad. Not just physically but the mental side of it was tougher still. It made me question everything about myself - and I was so lucky when Zoe came flying past me she snapped my brain back into the place it needed to be at.

Getting passed all the time doesn't worry me anymore. I know thats what happens and so I don't get caught up with trying to keep up with people. I just accept that as a known fact FOR NOW. Maybe one day in the future this will begin to happen less and less. Now the things I could complain about was the wind, sore tight shoulders from holding onto the aero bars, and a headache. These things bothered me immensely. My helmet was bothering my forehead so I spent a bit of the ride trying to find a comfortable spot for it to sit in.

My nutrition on the bike went really well. I had all my gels in my PTC bottle and stuck to the times religiously. I also hydrated well between water, Gatorade and a few sips of coke plus a few Half Bananas. I did get a few stomach cramps but it soon settled so no biggie. And being the ever "Mother" that I am, I checked on those who were on the side of the road as I rode past to make sure they were ok and not needing any assistance. I even signalled to people behind me when there were things in the middle of the road. One of the guys rode past and said "Thanks so much for that". Made me feel good.

Coming back in was awesome. That headwind became a tailwind and it became my friend. My average speed went from 24km/hr to 34km/hr and I loved it. I still wasn't passing people but it was taking longer for people to pass me. As I made my way back into the outskirts of Port I kept telling myself "Make sure you are in the right gear before you hit Matthew Flinders". And I thought I was until it was too late. As I started to climb it I was thinking to myself "Gees, I don't remember it being this hard. This is killing me, oh my God I am going to die and fall off". As I quickly looked down at my gears I realised yes I was in the small chain ring but I was in the 4th hardest gear. Stupid me forgot to change it and now I just had to bite the bullet. Changing it up that hill was only going to make me drop my chain.

Lucky for the crowd being there - they really helped me up. When I finally made it they all cheered and gave me congrats without realising the battle I really fought to make it up. As I turned the corner - Leigh popped up beside me and said "Good on ya Barb, knew you could do it".

As I made my way into town for the final 10km the crowds started to thicken again. The sounds got louder and the atmosphere thickened with excitement and anticipation. I was coming home. I had made it. The bike leg was done and I had conquered 2/3rd's of my dream. I could see my family screaming and cheering me on and I was feeling so blessed to have each and everyone of them there for me. So as I crossed the line into T2 these were my stats:

Time: 3:07:32
Overall rank off bike: 207
Division position rank: 60
Average speed: 28.7km/hr
T2: 2:29

I was so happy to be putting on my runners. I have really learnt to embrace running and find it quite a pleasurable experience. Even more so doing it in an event such as this. Everywhere I ran there were people cheering me on. And it wasn't just my family, friends and fellow competitors, it was strangers as well. Each and every single one of them helped in making me reach that goal. And should any of you come across my blog and read this "I thankyou all from the bottom of my heart". As I made my way down the main road I spotted my coaches telling me I was doing great, I then spotted Nicole who I had met through DM. Here's our photo from our first get together. I will be catching up with her this Thursday morning.
I also heard this voice yelling and as I looked to my right it was David. Thankyou so much for all of my support David. You really brought a smile to my face and made me feel invincible. Thankyou for making the trip up and helping me make my dream become a reality.

As I made my way out for my first loop I came across so many of my team mates. To name them all would take forever but you all know who you are. You made my journey such a wonderful experience, one I will never forget to the day I die. Even when you were all in your own world of pain you all took the time to tell me how great I was going. I was even told by Tim that I had a great running style, that it was efficient. THANKYOU.

As I received my first scrunchie I danced a little jig inside. I was at the halfway point and could not have been happier. I then came across Paul. Ever since I have met Paul and his family, they have embraced me like one of their family. They are just the nicest people. Jennie and the girls were constantly cheering me throughout the day. As I went past Paul, I asked him how he was and how his knee was holding up. He said he felt great and with that - knowing he was okay I continued on my journey.
My nutrition didn't go as planned on the run. I felt spewy and couldn't think of anything worse than eating those Gel Bursts. Alison and Alan saw me at this point and asked me how I was going. I told her I felt YUK and she said "If your going to spew do it and keep going". Lucky I didn't. I was so glad i saw them out on my run. I did made sure I hydrated as well as I could along the course. At every aid station I walked and took into 2 sips of water, 2 sips of Gatorade for the first 10km. From that point on I had 2 sips of water, 2 sips of Gatorade and 2 sips of Coke plus a stick of Vegemite at aid station 1 & 3. This seemed to serve me well and I not once cramped or felt like I couldn't go on.

At the turnaround at Settlement Point I thought to myself "This is it - I am heading home". Nothing in this world compared to that feeling. Even though my hips hurt so very bad I was heading home. I was heading back to the loving arms of my family. I was heading home to the cheers of the crowd. I was heading home to my DREAM. I was going to be a Half Ironman finisher. It was at this time I saw Jen and Rosyln for the fourth time and they both yelled out how proud they were of me. I started to cry.

That right hand turn into the final stretch was overwhelming. I started to cry some more and could feel all of the emotion of the day and the last 12mths engulf my body. The view of that black mat with with hundreds of faces on either side was like nothing else I had experienced. I could feel underfoot the cushioning effect of the mat and then to my right I spotted my family. They were all crying and screaming and as I high fived them I could see that they too had been with me at every step. That they too had lived the anticipation and anxiety, the stress and jubilation. I think that the day was probably harder for them than it was for me. I was living it but they would catch glimpses of me and then hope I was well on my journey. That's hard.
Then as I looked to my left I spotted Sarah and her husband and children. I high fived them as well as they too screamed my name. As I reached that arch I remember hearing the commentator saying something along the lines of "now she looks very happy to be coming home" and then he mentioned my name. At that point I burst into tears. I cried harder than I ever have, it became overwhelming and as I got handed my medal and towel it still didn't feel real. I kept looking around to make sure that I had crossed and then I heard my name. It was Clair. We held hands through the fence and we shared a moment - she had tears in her eyes and said how proud she was of me. Her "suck it up Barb" sign on the run and all her cheering will be forever in my mind.

Then I spotted Susan and Ule. Another special moment was had - we just stared at eachother and cried. Susan had been with me since the very beginning with my illness and had seen me reach the lowest of lows and highest of highs. This day was hers as well. Love you Susan.

I then spotted Cloe as she finished - she had battled through this with an illness - you are inspirational. I also spotted Krsiten, Matt and Mel and then my family. We hugged and cried and cried and cried. Stephen, Kurtis, Taillah, Kyle, Mum, Barry, Uncle George, Aunty June, Julie, Elissa all hugged me and cried with me. That moment is so very very special. I can still feel their hugs and feelings of pride.

I then felt a tap on my shoulder. This gentleman came up to me and said "not sure if you remember me but you rode with us at Kiama, I just wanted to wish you congratulations". I was gobsmacked. I felt so loved at that moment. I couldn't remember his name but he said his son was doing it as well. If you are reading this THANKYOU from the bottom of my heart for finding me and wishing me congratulations - that meant so much.

By this stage my legs and hips were starting to seize up. I headed for the massage tent and was given the best ever massage by the wonderful volunteers. You guys are worth your weight in gold. I missed Paul coming through the finish line but Mum got a tonne of photos so I was atleast able to see his smile as he made it through.

My run time really shocked me. I thought I was going really slow so I was super impressed with it:
Time: 2:09:38
Overall rank on run: 213
Division position rank: 57
Average pace per km: 6:08

And here is the best part.
Finish time: 5:52:58
Division position rank amongst women: 12 out of 30.

I am a Half Ironman finisher. I have the medal, the towel and T-shirt. But most of all I have the memories and that inner self pride of having set my sights on a goal and having attained it. I have overcome every obstacle and tried my hardest when at times it would have been so much easier to give up. I WON. I conquered all my fears and self doubt and did it and LOVED IT. I can't seem to find the words to give it justice. Just know that this experience will always be remembered.


Your hard work will be rewarded.

"The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way, and may go in more than one direction, it is travelled by belief and courage and conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances" Barbara Cage