Nerves? Me? OMG! Drinking down my coffee most of the brew probably splashed on the floor I was shaking that much. Oh okay, sorry slight exaggeration there but this is probably the most nervous I have felt all year prior to a race. I hung around the cabin savouring the last moments of quiet and preferring to stay away from the huge crowds outside that I knew would send me into an even bigger tailspin. But as the minutes ticked away I knew there was no point prolonging the inevitable.
The great thing about the race venue in CWC is everything is in SHORT walking distance.
Bikes and gear were checked in on Saturday. The bike transition area itself was a spectacle. WOW is all I can say. Yes even that was impressive. Oh and I forgot to mention the race briefing...okay quickly. You know when they take you through a golf course on TV with the virtual reality graphics. Well that was what was used in race briefing - unbelievable!!
Que up for my number marking. Number 167, I was told that I would not be number one with 167...it just doesn't work out he said. Number 2 at best or zero (which I read as a DNF). The predicition came true in Singapore - I was number 2...would it happen again??
Numbered up, checked George, checked George, checked George - okay okay so I did it a couple of times alright!! Off to the swim start to get wet.
So many people, so many cameras, so many TV crew and a helicopter - WOW. No wonder I was a bag of nerves.
Swim: I have been making progress in my swimming. I know I have and I need to remember that because today my swim was diabolical. I suffer from anxiety build before the swim start. This in turn leads to panic breathing and basically a messy struggle combining treading water, breath stroke and moments of proper swimming where I eventually find rhytum for all of a few metres. There was no visibility in the water but the markers were perfect you could not, not see them. The water was also very warm. Out of the first big loop of the wake park and into the small lake for the last 500 or so metres. This was even worse I feel.
Time incl transition 43min.
I need to stay positive about this and berating myself on the swim after crossing the line I then found out someone had died in the swim. That soon shut me up. We all take risks in our sport. We prepare ourselves for race day to the best of our ability and capability but we never know what will unfold come race day. Today was not a good swim...but I survived and will improve. I am not a duathlete!
Bike: So I am playing catch up...a lot of work to do today. Transition was smooth. Helpers were on hand to help me out the slow suit and I rushed to the bike. Supporters were everywhere and I could hear my name being shouted everywhere I turned. I could have been in Malaysia so many people knew my name...it was an amazing feeling.
Onto the bike. It is flat, well the part of the course I had rode was. Seems I missed out the long rolling stuff! Nothing I couldn't handle though but in order to go fast I had to endure a bone shaker ride over the uneven parts of road. The organisers had done their best to repair the road but it was patchy. So hit a bit of fast stuff and you fly. Hit the bumpy potholes and it was like riding with brakes on. I pushed harder over those parts not wanting to waste time and lose too much momentum.
On the way out perhaps 30minutes in I was constantly shouting "on your left", "on your left"..soon got used to riding on the other side of the road. Passing riders every few metres the course was tight in places. I was just passing a man and a lady and didn't shout out this time. They were side by side so I saw the other side of the road was clear and decided to go extra wide to give them space. As I made my move over and past the girl pulled out from nowhere and clipped my rear wheel and hit the back of my calf. Ouch! I wobbled but stayed on but I know she went down. It was a nasty moment. What am I supposed to do? Stop? I still think about that but I am racing to win. I was lucky to escape and carried on and tried to settle back down.
At the U-turn I was 1hour10mins.
The way back was exposed, with cross and headwinds and a long rolling climb. There where not many places to get 'free' speed on the course. My max was only about 54kph which confirms that there are no real hills. But it was a struggle and with the constant vibrations going through my shoulders and legs I started to wonder if I was going to get into trouble on the run. I decided SOD IT, I will deal with the run when I get off. I felt good and I felt I could have gone quicker had the road been smoother - everyone would have been the same.
Spectator support on the bike...oh my gosh. Words cannot describe the spectacle that us athletes had the privilege of witnessing. Camsur is a poor town. The Governor has pumped money into the town via sports to help raise the profile and promote healthy lifetyle tourism. This is a guy who really does give back and make a difference and to show their support the streets as we rode through the villages were lined with children chanting "ironman', old men bent over holding walking sticks stood up to wave in the air and shout as you go past. Brass bands, drums...are you getting the picture? This was special. Very special. It bought tears to my eyes and others had tears streaming down their faces. I asked the pros if it was a simular support to racing in the states where triathlon is so established. They said there was no comparisum...the whole event and race surpassed all expectations on every level.
Drink stations on the bike were outstanding. Plentiful, I decided to just take gels (we were given 3 in one of our 3 goodie bags) and on the course at the U-turn bananas and gels were there again. I put my hand out and was given not one BUT 5!
A triathlon is about 3 sports not just one. But I am proud of my bike split. To be within 90seconds of the top 4 female pros, AND actually have almost the same split as Charlotte Paul (sorry Charlotte if your reading this!!!) is pretty cool for an Age Grouper and makes all the training worth while and puts a big smile on my face.
Run: Now it was getting hot. At a guess 40degrees. I had put plenty of liquid in on the bike and needed the loo. I was not going to stop. I started off keeping a good cadence ticking over. Mattie from teamTBB yelled out ease into it then pick it up. Trouble is and what everyone then noticed is I start out and that's it I hold the cadence and the pace and stay consistent. So I guess I just need to learn to start out faster!!!
I thought my need to pee would go away...I was sweating so much and having to take at least 2 cups of Gatorade at each stop and 2 or 3 over the head to cool down. The need didn't go away which is a good sign but it didn't help my dilemma. Oh bugger it I thought. If I can pee on the run in IM I can bloody do it in a half!! Funny thing is as I was relieving myself (think big sigh and smile on face) people at the side of the road saw me running by. As one of only a handful of white Chicks and the only one wearing the pink suit I got a lot of attention. And so there I am literally streaming along the road and someone shouts out hey sexy lady!! Well I don't mind saying at that precise moment I felt anything BUT sexy!
The run was two loops with a final loop of the small lake running into the finish. It was hot and a day where survival would become the strategy. On the first loop on the big lake I overtook LifeSport Coach Lance Watson who had taught a two day training camp parrell with the event. As I went past he said "great run Emma, thats what I need is a fast cadence". In reply, I turned round and yelled out "well you know who taught me that don't you!!".
As I was coming into the finish I saw the time and thought I had just gone over 5hours..it didn't matter it was a great race and while I had no clue where I placed I knew it was 2 or 3.
Overall: 4hr59min and change!
Well I did duck under 5hours...just. And while I didn't win overall, I did get first in AG and 2nd overall. So I guess my friend was bloody right again when he looked at my number and said it can't be number 1!
I wanted a hot race and I got one. It was an amazing experience, after a massage afterwards I felt great. To the extent I then ask questions of my performance. But apparently feeling good after a race and being able to run about, bend down etc is just about good fitness and recovery - so I am told:)