I always knew that SI Half Ironman main challenge to me would be mental. Or that flat boringness, it isn’t really my “thing”. I was half way around the 2nd lap on the bike, when I just thought “this is supposed to be fun”, but I was not having an ounce of fun, on the bike in the middle of nowhere the only competitor I could see was a mere spec in the distance and the road was just straight.
I was also freezing cold, my feet had turned to ice blocks and I was unaware if they actually still existed. But I had a plan, I had goals, I knew if I could beat this race mentally i’d be in better shape for Wanaka. I achieved most of this, my main goal, I missed out on by a few minutes, but I am not particularly concerned by that…
… Lets start at the beginning
The main advantage of having to get up early and drive for 1hr to get to the destination, you can eat your breakfast on the way…
I arrived at the venue bang on the dot of 7, which gave me an hour. But I seemed to be constantly behind the 8 ball. By trisuit zip broke, I put on my wetsuit and then realised I hadn’t put on any sunscreen. Yes it might be overcast and cold right then, but I really needed to put it on for later, so I take the wetsuit off again and put on the sunscreen.. nothing else was going very well either, I seemed to be in a bit of a dither.
But I made it to race start and everything was a ok.. phew.
I started the swim a bit to far back in the pack. I seem to spend most of the first lap fighting through people. Eventually I got into clear water and start to enjoy myself. I love swimming in fresh water, oh its so much more pleasant than the sea. I was not pushing it hard, and I was feeling really comfortable. I would not have struggled going around the course again. I didn’t think that my time would have been very good though, due to the hold up at the start and not really pushing it. I was very shocked when I got out of the water and saw the clock, 31 min thats a great time for me.
Goals:I had no particular goal, for the swim. Just do it in about 35min. This race was not about the swim
It was cold that morning, so I had put a polyprop, arm warmers and a vest in transition. I thought I would decide what I would wear once I got there. In hindsite maybe I should have used the polyprop, but I was concerned I’d get too hot! duh how often do I say its better to be too hot and strip than too cold… well anyway I went with the vest and arm warmers. Though it was the legs that were struck by the cold the most, many times I thought I needed knee warmers.
The course had changed this year, it was now 45 k lap x 2. The roads were long and straight, the first lap you were close to the people in front, over taking a few and being overtaken by a few more. There was barely no wind, though there was a spot 10k before the end of the lap, you seemed to be going straight down the throat of the wind and not getting as much progress as before. I got a lot turned around on the first lap I didn’t know where I was. A marshall had a flag out looking like she was pointing me down that road, where as in fact she was pointing the guy coming the other way down the road, I just didn’t notice. So off I head, it probably took me a minute or 2 to realise I had gone the wrong direction, so probably wasted 5min with that wrong turn.
I got back on track and finished the lap, it was nice coming back into the transition area, people cheering you on etc.
The last lap was a mental test. The field had stretched out. I was not overtaken or did I overtake anyone ( a part from the poor bastard who look like had a puncture and was walking hos bike), it was lonely and deary out there. Eventually the end was in site and I was getting prepared for the run. I wasn’t really looking forward to it, just was trying to mentally psyc myself up for it.
I got in to transition and jump off my bike and tried to run. My body did not want to cooperate, mainly because of the frozen ice blocks on the end of my feet. When I got to my gear, I tried putting on my socks standing up, but because of my numb feet, I just couldn’t, so sat myself down to put them on.
Goals: Once again no particular goals. I wanted to do with 3:10, but weather dependant. I had a silent goal (not voiced till now) beat the other girls to T2. Which I achieved, I knew some will be catching me on the run, that my silent victory. But mainly the bike was about not going too hard. At times I was pushing this limit, but I still remained within myself.
Once my feet started to thaw out I actually started to feel comfortable. I was running within my times marked on my arms. Rach caught me about 1K to the end of the first lap and then Em caught me, as predicted, at the 10k mark. But I was happy, I didn’t need to try and catch them, I was running this in my time. About 3/4 the way through the 2nd lap I had to stop and go to the toilet (I not sure it took 3 min, but I am going to say it did, makes my goal reached). After that things started to get painful, but I refused to walk.
The last lap was painful and was never happier to get on the Broadwalk and see the finish
goals: 2:10 this was the main goal of the race. I missed it by 3 min, but I not going to get overly upset about that. Not to walk. I was having “walk” thoughts. On the 2nd lap, maybe you can walk next lap. On the last lap… it not far to go now, why walk? The mental games I play…
I would have like to go under 6hrs, and I did. This race had gone to plan. I had achieved what I intended to. Plus my body seems to have come out well. Its a little stiff, but not as bad as you might expect (though I might want to wait to tomorrow in that respect). No twinges in my knee, and just a tiny blister on my toe… my feet survived.
Not sure if this is a race I’d want to do again, it is good if you want a fast time though. The bike might have been better if it had been sunny… you never know