As I took to the water for my second IronMan at Port Macquarie I was revising my plan to manage the mind and stay positive when unexpected events happened during the day. AP (Alex Price) and I had identified this as the next element of triathlon I needed to conquer and it was my focus for this race.
This was my seventh triathlon and at every single one I’ve been surprised by the starting hooter. I’m not sure why since it’s the only certainty in any race but it gets me every time. This day was no exception so at least things were familiar from the start! I am quite new to swimming with tendencies to panic in the water and this swim leg was by far the roughest I’ve done to date. I was pummelled! So although it wasn’t my fastest swim ever, I focussed on the fact that I had comfortably held up to the conditions and congratulated myself for having come so far in just over a year. I left the water feeling composed and smiling. Onward and upward.
After a few failed attempts to clip into the pedal due to giggling at the AP10 supporters with megaphones I was off. After a comfortable first half-lap I noticed an odd sound from the back wheel. Then there was a continual noise… and the back brake was shuddering a bit… and yep, sure enough, the back brakes were rubbing. After four or five stops to investigate and move the brake callipers around I realised that a spoke had broken – just too much power I guess! The wheel was no longer true so I had to accept the fact that I would be riding the remainder of the day with a rubbing brake. I was absolutely determined to remain positive, so instead of becoming disheartened I had a chuckle that I had been presented with such an excellent opportunity to practice positivity, then focussed on appreciating the good training session! With that mindset I really enjoyed myself and the bike leg was over before I knew it.
At the end of the ride I was probably a bit too excited to run over to say hi to Leisa and Julia, who I spotted waving like mad women just past the dismount line. Yet again I wasn’t concentrating on what I needed to do and left my garmin on the bike… but it was lovely to chat with the girls as I took my bike shoes off. I didn’t even realise the garmin was missing until I was coming out of T2, when I had to ask a volunteer to get it for me as I wasn’t allowed back to the bike. She was so obliging and it was nice to be able to present her with the little packet of lollies that I’d packed to give to the transition volunteers. They do such a great job.
With garmin in hand (on wrist) I was finally out onto the run. I was looking forward to it as I’ve been doing a lot of work on running over the past couple of months. Apart from one small hiccup with nutrition at around the 10k mark where I was a bit flat, I felt great the whole time. The amazing support from the sideline lifted my spirits, seeing the AP10 signs out on the course drew a few chuckles and spotting AP, the ukulele and Megs out near the far turn was exactly the kick along I needed.
I have had a longtime knee problem with running and it kicked in at about 15k – yet another opportunity to practice staying positive. I concentrated on separating myself from the knee in my mind… I’m 100% fine even if my knee isn’t… and also concentrated on maintaining a gait that the knee could cope with which turned out to be a successful strategy. I still have one sore glute and one sore hammy because one leg was working so much harder than the other! I was so busy enjoying myself that it was a bit of a surprise to see the finish line. I was feeling so great I was ready to head back out for another lap to find the others in our crew… until I stopped running and realised I could barely start walking again, let alone running. I let that idea go pretty quickly.
So while this was a race that threw more challenges my way than any race to date, I enjoyed it more than I have any others. I credit that to two things: the amazing support crew of friends and family who made the trek up to Port to watch the race (and put up with me for months beforehand). IronMan is a team effort and they each deserve a finisher’s medal of their own.
Then secondly, the race preparation. I could barely swim and couldn’t ride a bike at the beginning of 2012, and in May 2013 I have two IronMan finishes under my belt. HUGE thanks to AP for sorting me out, both physically and mentally. He is positive, realistic, diligent and does not – will not – ever – give up. The man is a born coach who is more committed to his athletes and to learning his craft than anyone I’ve met in any occupation; I feel privileged to get to work with him. And Megs’ approach complements AP’s beautifully – they’re a powerful combination when you’re on the receiving end of an AP10 coaching team intervention. Thanks guys J
It was a great day… hands got dirty and it was all out… now roll on Melbourne 2014!