Race morning had finally arrived! And amazingly I had had a good night’s sleep. I was feeling relaxed and ready….until I managed to loose Pierre, after my practice swim, who had my pre-race nutrition. Fortunately we were quickly reunited. Panic over! After a quick run to the toilet, again!, it was time to head onto the beach and line up behind the start tape. A long tough day lay ahead. Time to focus.
The usual carnage to and around the first buoy was as bad as envisaged. It seemed a lot worse than last year possibly due to me being more confident and starting further forward. But I gave as good as I got; and as soon as I felt anyone near my feet I kicked hard to keep them away.
It seemed to take forever to get down to the far red buoy. A slight twinge in my right calf muscle quickly eased off thankfully. As we headed back towards the pier I found myself alone. The sighting buoys werent very visible and I seemed to be heading in the wrong direction! Back on course and I could hear the music on the beach becoming louder and I soon felt the sand beneath my feet. My ‘warm up’ was done, now for my race to begin.
As I ran into transition I decided to make use of the metal water trays to wash my feet…splat! My feet had been clean swiped from under me landing me on my bottom. I could feel hundreds of eyes staring down at me; I didnt dare look up!!
Quickly through T1 and I was out onto the bike. A smiling coach by the road side indicated that my swim cant have been too bad! 180kms of rolling hills and an easterly wind lay ahead. You would think 6hrs of cycling would seem like forever but it seemed to go so quickly. The new 2 lap route was very pretty with some tough climbs, but I like hills so they didnt faze me. There were so many athletes racing that some drafting was inevitable however hard you tried not to. But some people were blatantly sitting right on the wheel in front of them. At one point it seemed like a peloton passed me (which I passed later)
At about the 60km mark I was very unlucky to be pulled over for drafting; ok I might not have been at 10m from the guy in front, maybe 8m, but it was just after a water station and I was about to pass him. Why did I not just get a warning like I had seen other people get? Perhaps it was because I was a leading age group lady rather than a mere mortal slogging it away at the back. Ifs, buts and onlys aside, the fact was I was drafting. The ref stopped me and he took my details and a photo of me. I asked him where exactly the next penalty tent was (I knew it was at the beach front somewhere) and he replied it was by the transition area….
So off I went, now very paranoid of being near anyone for fear of getting another penalty and being disqualified! I started to up my pace a little as I neared the end of the first lap since I was about to have a 6 minute rest – my penalty! I flew down past the crowds to transition searching for the penalty tent only to be told that it was back by the Special Needs bags. Aaggh! (Note to self: next time a) dont get a drafting penalty and b) make sure I know where the penalty tents are!)
So after a quick turn around I fought my way back up against the oncoming cyclists and found the penalty tent. It was a very long 6 minutes holding a stop watch!!
Fortunately on the second lap everyone had become much more spread out. I tried to put the penalty out of my mind and soon over took the ladies who had passed me while I was taking my penalty. There were a few confused faces from friends when I passed them a second time!
I was reasonably quick through T2 although I did hop quickly into the portaloo.
The run route consisted of 3 laps of 14km and the support along marine drive was amazing! I tried my hardest not to start too fast.
I was pleased with my run and loved every minute, although in hindsight I should have maybe pushed a little bit harder. I was scared of hitting that wall at 30km but it never appeared.
Those last 2kms were awesome; the most amazing feeling! The finish line was nearing and I began to pick up speed. I could see the Ironman scaffolding bridge ahead and I felt as if I was sprinting. I saw Pierre as I turned in towards the red carpet and grabbed the Scottish flag from him. I was smiling with delight as I high fived Paul Kaye and crossed the finish line, winning the 35-39 age category 🙂
DIV RANK (35-39): 1st
GENDER RANK: 20
OVERALL RANK: 182
A huge thanks to all the supporters – its amazing how they effect your pace. Plus all the support from Team Supa Dave. Thanks also to the supporters back home in Cape Town and the UK – you were always in my thoughts.
Thanks to my husband Pierre, my no.1 supporter. Just when you thought you might see more of me I go and qualify for Kona…..sorry!
Thanks to my awesome training partners, especially Phil, Eugene, Sean, Sharyn and Peter.
And thank you to the best coach ever, Dave Sullivan, aka Supa Dave.
KONA HERE I COME!!