Hell of the West 2015

I’m not quite sure how the whole idea to do a triathlon in Goondiwindi in the middle of summer inspired a group of coasties to make the trek out west, but it was well worth the challenge.

I remember the idea brewing over coffee one Sunday morning after our club tri race. Spurred on by endorphins and a sence of adventure I asked Tamzin to come along and do the bike leg for me, once she said yes there was no going back!

Prior to the race I was mostly concerned about getting through the 20km run at a good pace. That’s the thing about a team I guess you push harder cause you don’t want to let the other person down. I had been feeling quite good with my training and was on holidays from work and though I hadn’t had the opportunity to do much swimming I had been pounding the pavement a bit.

I thought that I would start heading out on longer runs in preparation, and disaster struck! Every time without fail that I would reach the 15km mark I would cramp up and couldn’t keep running – not happy Jan! After reviewing what I was doing I figured the way to break thought the confidence barrier was with a long steady 20km. Not trying the break any records and just cruising through, it was awesome, I could have ran forever I felt so good at the end of 18km that I smashed the last two kilometres – confidence resorted – 20km good to go!

As race day approached we had an ongoing joke that the race would have to be moved to the botanic garden pond, which the boys assured me was full of eels (which I’m terrified of)! Sure enough the Thursday before the race word came out that the race had been moved. The only good thing about this news was that the run was now split to a 3.2km leg after the swim and 16.8km after the bike.

After reaching Goondiwindi on Saturday afternoon the first thing we did was go to check out the swim. This is what we found:

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Lets just say I was not looking forward to swimming in this warm brown mud pit with 600 other people in the dark! I was quietly shitting myself.

Carb loading dinner complete I bunked down for the night with thoughts of being eaten alive by 6 foot slimy eels. Thankfully I got the time difference wrong and instead of waking up as I’d expected at 2.30am I was feeling quite bright eyed when the alarm sounded at 4.30am (NSW time). Waiting for the bus to the dark warm pond I was so glad that I would be swimming with Jess and Sian and that the rest of the pack would already be in there facing the murky water by the time we hit it.

It didn’t look tooooo bad until we watched the first swimmers come out and omg the smell was foul! We tentatively stepped into the mud and tred water for 7 minutes so we didn’t have to touch the bottom and then the horn sounded and we were off. Now ocean swimming is a tough sport, but swimming in a pond with 600 people makes it look like child play. It was a battle for space in the first two laps. Once the third lap came around and most of the elite had left the pond I found myself on my own for a stretch and remember thinking, as I took a breath and watched the sun rise, that this was an experience I would remember my whole life.

Lap three done and time to leg it back into town. I knew I’d have a good rest once I got back so I really hooked in. About half way to transition I heard a familiar tap, tap, tap coming up behind me, to be suddenly over taken by Jess. I some how managed to find Tamzin in transition and she somehow managed to get the band from my leg to hers and she was off.

I decided to have a shower to rinse the mud off before the next run leg and was horrified and the mud and filth that washed off me, but hey it’s good for your skin, right?

Jess and I watched and cheered the rest of the Retro crew in before Yansi appeared quicker than expected from his bike leg at a blistering speed and Jess was off. I was nervously awaiting Tamzins arrival and every female rider seemed to look like her and then there she was, completing the ride in a blistering time of 2:44, what a legend, and now it was up to me to bring it home. The adrenalin was pumping.

I was having so much FUN! The first loop of the run I got to pass everyone on the Retro team and high fiving and yelling out encouragement to everyone just spurred me on more. But the third kilometre I thought I had better settle down a bit or I’d burn out before it was all over! I can honestly say it was the most fun I have had in a race, it’s so good running with such a great bunch of encouraging people. My sister Bree was out there giving it her all and I was so proud of her my heart was going to burst, the boys were all absolutely killing it and every time I passed him Mark laid down the challenge for me to run him down. Little Jess I only passed twice, she is amazing to see run, she just flys!

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Coming up to the last three km’s I was really feeling it from going out to hard at the start but was determined to push through and stay at my set pace. It was such a relief to see the team and the finish line and Tamzin waiting for me in recovery. Rooney – Pike had done well! Seventh in the female teams, not bad for a team of armatures, but don’t worry we are training up all ready to come back and smash it next year at Hell of The West!

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