Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wagga Wagga Olympic Triathlon

What a totally amazing place Wagga Wagga is. I have driven and ridden past it but never actually stopped there and I really loved it - even though I was there for just over a day. Its a really neat town and you can see that people really take pride in calling Wagga Wagga their home. Elite Energys Olympic Distance Triathlon was being held in such a great town.

Arriving there the day before allowed Stephen and I to settle in and to go buy a few things for dinner and brekkie. It also gave me time to go have a look at the race area and see where it will all be happening. Lake Albert is just beautiful. Nice and flat, like a big ol' swimming pool - for which I couldn't have been happier. And whilst the water is brown and cloudy it is quite clean and free of debris, and underfoot it is really soft.

The bike course would be an out and back x 4 loop which had you going past transition and crowds which would be great as everyone cheering always gives you a pep up. And the run was a 2 lap loop of Lake Albert. Now I knew race day was going to be hot but I didn't know how hot I was going to feel.


Nerves present - check, upset guts - check, checking over things a million times - check. Ready to race - a definite check. And as we arrived at the race area I started to get that dreaded sinking feeling in the pit of my belly that I always get that makes me question why I am there in the first place. Not because I don't love the sport but just that I never ever back myself to be able to think that I can do it. And I know I can, I just always have this horrific internal dialogue with myself before anything I do.

So it was time to get my stuff sorted into transition. And watch all the other people do the same to make sure I haven't missed anything. Because lo and behold I tried something a little different this time before I left home. I packed my stuff into my bag without doing the whole set up on the floor - quite a new adventure for this "compulsively organised" gal, but I thought it was time to shed the old me and run wild. Ok, well, maybe thats going a bit far but it was extremely liberating.

And then before I knew it, it was time to go to race briefing, have my gel, get my wettie on and then realise that BUGGER I needed to pee, take it off again - then put it back on again and get ready to race.

Heading into the water I met a really lovely lady but the name of Peggy. I think this was her first Olympic Distance race. We had a bit of a chuckle as to the number of women versus men who were doing the race but realised it was nice to not have to be squashed in amongst a multitude of arms and legs.

And before we knew it - the siren went off and it was time to race. I felt really great in water, not having alot of people meant I was about to find my nice long arm stroke early on and settle into a descent pace with 2 other women. We pretty much stuck around eachother for the whole 1500m with one lady who was the eventual winner taking the lead and coming out of the water about 1min or so ahead. I really enjoyed doing the 2 laps around the bouys and for once I was able to sight relatively well and keep a straight line. This is quite an unusual occurrence for this pool swimmer but for once I nailed it. And coming out of the water I was not exhausted at all - I felt great, it was just the run to T1 that always gets me.

Heading out onto the bike I thought I would try something different and leave my shoes on the bike and try this new concept. WRONG. Everytime I tried to spin the shoe so I could get my foot in I would miss it - I spun my damn shoe about 10 times. The eventual outcome - I had to stop, put one foot in and then scramble whilst I was rolling to get the other foot in. Hilarious really - something to practice. Anyway, out on the bike I felt great. Strong and fluent - but gees it was hot. The heat rising up off the bitumen and the air was so drying. My gatorade had turned into a hot orange tea in my aero bottle and it was making my guts churn, but I sipped it a few times for the electrolytes and then lived on the gels and my water bottle. I was able to hold a steady pace for me and return to T2 as the 2nd girl even though my time was 3 mins slower than other girls it was still cool to arrive 2nd. This has never happened before. I was so excited.

And then the run happened. Hmmmmm, tough tough tough. That is the only word I could find to describe it. It was hot and I had nothing. Legs felt heavy (something I am totally used to) and not being a great runner at all (for now) made this an extremely difficult task. So I walk/ran the whole way knowing full well I just wanted to get to that finish line happy. And that is what I did. And you know the other great thing - is that every girl who passed me gave me the best words of encouragement ever. As did the guys. I made friends again along the way - one whose name I dont know - but the other chaps name is - Alan. He is a friend of a friend and we crossed the finish line together. Thanks Alan and the other chap for helping me out there.

Crossing that finish line was by far the best thing ever. Never have I wanted to get into the shade and sit down as I did on that day. My brain felt like it was frying and thank goodness for the wonderful volunteers at the aid stations along the way who would hose me down and give me much needed water to cool me down. They really did great. As competitors we really wouldnt be able to race the way we do if if wasn't for the support of these wonderful volunteers and all the hard work they put in to making sure we are okay. Thankyou Elite Energy and volunteers.

And most importantly thank you to my wonderful husband Stephen for all your support, words of encouragement, photographic skills and love on the day. Thank you to my family at home and friends who sent me much needed words of encouragement to get me through the day and afterwards and to my trainer Jen - thankyou for helping me get to my goal and for listening to me. I appreciate it so much.

And to top it all off I came second in my age group too. How cool is that. Thankyou Ally for mailing out my medal to me. I really do appreciate it. I can't stop staring at it.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nepean Triathlon Race Report 2012

Having participated in the Nepean Triathlon 2 years ago in a team event it was a real nice change of pace to actually take part in the full event this year. And for anyone who know's me well, it was nothing new to see my first picture come up in my FB album as this organised spread. OCD, anally retentive - I have come up with a new name for it - compulsively organised. It's quite funny actually to watch me sort it out - I walk around acting like I am doing the race and pretending to put things on and take things off so I know I have everything. I pretty much do the same when I am setting my stuff up in transition. Everything has to be just right and it helps me settle my nerves, not that I had an awful lot this time around. I was just happy to be getting out there and doing this awesome race which is such a part of Penrith's and Triathlon's history. To check it out - click HERE and HERE.

It was so great seeing everyone again having been a bit distant from club racing for a while and it was even better to be in amongst all the racing excitement. I had missed it so much. Walking up to the start was just how I had remembered it. I had chosen not to wear a wetsuit on this swim - I really struggle with it and was happy to forfeit my warmth for comfort and freedom in my swim.

And it was probably the best swim I have had in ages. I found a nice decent space in amongst it all and was really able just to do what I enjoy most - and that was swim. I could stretch out nice and long and really just get into a good 3 stroke breathing pattern which feels the most comfortable for this pool swimmer. And the water temp was just perfect - 21.8 I think I heard it was. So as I rounded the last bouy into land all I could do was smile cause I felt so good. Have a look for yourself as to how good I felt. Still had energy to goof around as usual.

Heading out on the bike was an absolute blast. I loved rounding the corner and going out on the back stretch to all the rest of the competitors waiting for their wave to start, yelling and screaming my name. It gave me such a buzz and made me peddle alot faster too. The Nepean bike course is a fast one with alot of cool swervy corners to take and a couple of tight turns, but I enjoyed them so much. I was like a BIG kid - I just couldn't stop smiling. However my smile came to abrupt holt when I got cautioned for drafting. I didn't mean to, I just didnt pull back quick enough to allow the other person to pass ooooppps. Won't happen again.

And then came the dreaded run. Uhhhh, it hurts so much but I stuck to a plan of 5min run 1min walk which soon decreased to a 30sec walk, but MY GOD being on land running feels like alot of hard work. But I am pleased to say I got it done and was just super proud of my accomplishment. All it will take is persistence and that I have a boatload of and I trust wholeheartedly my program from SPARTA - PT

If you get a chance to participate in this Triathlon I am sure you won't regret it. It is a great race, held in a great venue, supported and run by great people. Give it a go. And we got some cool race gifts as well. A shirt, a finishers towel and my most precious medal. Can't wait for next year :)

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