Sometimes it all just works

The BCU Coffs Tri was my chance to show myself I had improved from my first effort at an olympic distance tri at Kingscliff in November. I’d been slowly getting better on the bike with improved times at the Club races but I was gunning to give it everything I had in this one. I was aiming for a time for 2:45 after my 2:51 at Kingy in thought that this might be achievable. I had purchased a wind trainer so fingered that a few sessions a week on that and one long ride (37km) with a run off the bike the Sunday before had probably prepared me enough.

I had been having some health issues for the last month and had been delivered some unsettling news the week before the race. If things went bad this could very well be the last race I did for the season, all the more reason to give 110%! I had tried to convince the doctor to give me an iron injection on the Friday but she couldn’t schedule it till Tuesday so I showed up to the race feeling like I was literally on another planet – which lets be honest probably helped me out a great deal.

Race morning dawned and after a cup of tea and a Chai Pod I was ready to roll. Mark drove us down and then I left him to do his warming up and headed off to find my sister. We were lucky enough to have our bikes next to each other on the rack which I was very excited about, love racing with Bree and the Girlpac! Bree had been told by her coach to warm up which is something that I never seem to find time to do before a race. I decided to join her and we did a slow jog and a few run throughs and a swim before heading to the race briefing. We kept moaning that we had so long to wait till the race started but after the briefing everything seemed to happen really fast.

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Adam showed up with the kids just in time for me to get a quick cuddle before Bree and I headed to the start line. It was so exciting to be racing with so many people that I knew, everyone was encouraging each other and wishing each other a good race, truly a great crew here in Coffs!

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The water was warm and clean and as we stood on the start line waiting for the gun I was feeling ok. Bang! We were off. I felt good on the swim and defiantly benefited from warming up in the morning. I caught the back pack of the male swimmers and just tried to concentrate on catching the next person in front of me. The swim went really quick and before I knew it I was running up the beach. Kayne yelled out to me that Bree was the first girl out of the water and I was so excited for her.

Heading into transition all I was thinking about was the dreaded hill we had to ride up in the first kilometre, not being much of a rider I just hoped that I could stay on the bike and wouldn’t fall off and cause mayhem for the other riders. I managed to get up the hill ok on the first run and had a solid ride through the first lap. Coming back into the hill for the second lap I had the bike in the right gear and knew once I hit the bridge I’d have to just click it over one more gear. Unfortunately I kicked the gears the wrong way and ended up in the hardest gear – there was no way I was getting up the hill on the bike. I’d ended up on the right hand side of the hill so everyone going past was yelling at me as they were having to overtake me on the left which is illegal. I jumped off the bike and staggered up the hill with another competitor who had also not been able to ride up (he was 70 though). I tried to recover some composure as I jumped back on the bike and flew down the hill. Most of the way around the second loop I ended up in a pack of people, terrified of being in trouble for drafting I tried to stay back 7 meters only for the rider in front to slow down and then id over take them. We played this cat and mouse game for most of the second lap. Id started to feel very average by this point in the race and was having trouble breathing and chest pain, i thought that i may probably have to pull out of the race, which really pissed me off. Reaching one of the turn around points I was on the breaks slowing right down as it was a very tight turn, the girl behind me started yelling at me, “don’t stop, don’t stop!” Reaching the next corner she started yelling at me again and I lost it, Turing around and telling her in no uncertain terms that I sure didn’t plan on stopping. Being angry made me push harder to get away from the pack and I was soon riding on my own coming into the last turn on Hogbin Drive. My left foot started cramping up and was very painful so I had to ride of a bit with my leg dangling down trying to get some bloody back into it looking like a total freak. But I was nearly there! I had nearly finished 40km on the bike, I was so stoked!

Returning to transition I sucked down some ventalin, sculled some water and used the momentum from the bike to smash out the first km in 4min/km which I knew was madness! I settled into a good rhythm from the end of the second km and was loving running along shouting encouragement to all the retro and coffs tri crew people as they ran past. It was very hot on the run but as I have to do most of my training in my lunch breaks the heat doesn’t really worry me to much. The ventalin was working and I was breathing ok again and feeling quite strong. I’d figured I’d gone ok on the bike but wasn’t really sure of my time so aimed to totally smash the run to try and get in under 2:45. All the mantras that our running coach Andrew has said to us started popping into my head, “dial it in” ” the body dose what the mind tells it” ect. Coming into the second lap I could see my sister and Julie up ahead. I trotted along and went past Julie at the end of the jetty, she was all smiles and encouragement and I could see Bree up ahead. I encounter a bit of a dilemma at this point. I look up to my sister so much, she is a very brave and strong person, and a hero to me. I knew that at the pace I was going I was going to over take her, and I felt really bad. I know she is hands down a better athlete than I am any day, and she had been on fire in the swim and bike. I knew it would be demoralising for her if I beat her and I didn’t fell good about it. Coming up to her we had a chat and then I just kept running, 5km to go! This is when Mark popped into my head, “just put the foot down and hang on with all you’ve got”, righto! I was struggling big time coming into the finish, and there was Clint, after finishing his race he’d come over to cheer and high-five everyone home, a high five was just what I needed to spur me over the line. I kept expecting Juile to sprint past me at any moment as she has a very strong finish and usually nails me on the finish line. As I stumbled into the recovery area I was not feeling good at all. Michelle Randal caught hold of me and tipped a bottle of freezing water straight down the back of my tri suit, what a legend! She had finished just in front of me and must have been spent herself but took the time to help me out, what a girl! Mark was there and shepherded me out of the recovery area to a patch of grass so I could try to regain some composure.

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I saw Bree come over after she’d finished and she gave me a great big hug and congratulated me, which meant heaps to me.

I ended up doing a time of 2:35:46, I couldn’t believe it! If I don’t get to race agin this season it won’t matter I was so stocked and utterly shocked with my times. Sometimes I guess it just all comes together for no apparent reason. I’d also got second in my age group and got to share the podium with Julie who I also look up to and admire as an athlete. It was great to do a hometown race, the Coffs Tri crew are some of the best people going around and I will be back next year for sure :)

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