Ironman 70.3 Auckland, Jan 19th 2014

Good morning bloggers ! How are you this fine Friday morning ?

In January I took part in my second 70.3 event in Auckland, New Zealand and it proved to be a tough, tough day ! The race was in the first stage of a 3 month adventure that was to take me to New Zealand (with my volunteer / support crew mum), Australia (some solo travelling) and a quick stop in a couple of South East Asian countries on the way home. What a way to start my adventure – a highly competitive 70.3 !

I have to admit that writing this race report without it sounding like a nightmare is going to be hard, so I will endeavour to remember the highs as well as the lows. We do this for fun, right ??

Everything in my preparation had been going well – good running times, more efficient swim, improved bike handling and fitness – until I caught a cold early in December. I tried to do the right things by hydrating and resting, but I was starting to panic and rushed back to the last big training sessions. That was a mistake and the bug hung around until 3 days before race day, wiping out 5 weeks of proper training.

The IM circus comes to town
The Ironman circus comes to town

Given this and the long flights, I was anxious in the lead up to the day but once I started to work through the jetlag, took my rental bike for a spin and enjoyed some good open water swims in my rented wetsuit, the race day butterflies started to appear. This was my first IM event and wow, you know why they are so popular and have a high race fee – it’s so well organised and the little touches make all the difference. My name attached to my spot in transition made me feel like a pro !

Feel like a pro
Feeling like a pro

 

Back in a few hours to RACE !
Saturday bike drop, back in a few hours to RACE !

Before I knew it, it was RACE DAY !!

The buzz of race morning
The buzz of race morning

Everything that could have been done was done and before I knew it we were walking to the race start, zipping up, adjusting my goggles for the 100th time and jumping in the water

Swim : Wave 4 start. 19 degrees c water and it was like a swimming pool, without the lane lines ! Calm and clear, or at least as calm as it could be with 2000 highly strung triathletes racing each other over a 1.9km course.

It was 19 degrees & like a pool
It was 19 degrees & like a pool

My swim went ok, other than a little course correction on the way between the 4th and 5th buoy – I lost the 5th marker in the beautiful sunrise ! I remember thinking what an incredible sight that was, but I didn’t stop to admire it, just kept on swimming !

Coming out of the water, I was pleasantly surprised with my time as it felt like I was out there for a long time, but actually matched my first 70.3 time.

T1 : my target was to be on the bike within 45 mins of the start time and a quick removal of my wetsuit, helmet on, bike shoes on I was on my way, right on schedule. Check !

Bike : The majority of the bike course was very beautiful with the toughest parts being in the initial sections, across the Auckland Harbour bridge. It was pretty cool to find that they had shut 3 lanes of the bridge for us (strict cut off times enforced though) and once you reached the top of the climb the ‘free speed’ coming down was awesome and cooling given the quickly rising temperatures of the morning.

View from the bike course
View from the bike course, Auckland Harbour Bridge

The second half of the course was 2 loops, out and back of flat road to St Heliers. Quick, quick, quick and I have to admit to having a little bike envy hearing the disc wheeled super bikes behind me.

The St Heliers loop, head for the tower !
The St Heliers loop, head for the tower for transition !

If I’m like other triathletes, my mind is constantly calculating times based on my progress on the bike and as I made the last turn back to transition, I was very happy. My time was faster than my previous 70.3, even with a heavier and unfamiliar bike and fuelling had gone to plan. The only nagging doubt was had if I had pushed too hard on the bike and how would the body hold up on the run after missing the December training. I guess I was going to soon find out !

T2 : I was very pleased to get reach the dismount line – a different saddle was a little challenging, ouch ! After some deep breaths, applying more sunscreen, grabbing my gels, pulling on my cap, I headed to the run start.

Run : Very quickly I knew this was going to be a long 13.1 miles. We all know the ‘my legs don’t belong to me’ feeling after coming off the bike, but this goes after a while, right ? Not today, no ‘13.1 miles of smiles’ for me….. 2 loops of a flat, out and back course in the hot sunshine with no breeze on 2 empty legs !

But finally the finished shoot appeared, I had a new PR and the medal was around my neck.

Job done - then I could smile :)
Job done – THEN I could smile

It was a tough day and I was initially disappointed with the overall time, but ater a few hours I began to feel more positive and reflected ont he positives ! Hey, a PR is a PR, an achievement in anyone’s book.

‘Never, ever, ever again’ was my thought at the end……… Really ? Until the next time, lol

Speak soon

Catherine

Age Group Girl

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2 thoughts on “Ironman 70.3 Auckland, Jan 19th 2014

  1. Enjoyed reading this Catherine, thanks. I still recall the awfulness of the half marathon in Spain where I took 2 hours ten in the days when I could do a 1:45 half!! Xx
    Virginia

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