My prep for this race began after a break post Ironman NZ. We followed a pretty similar plan to last year as we already knew that worked well. Race week arrived and I knew I was very fit so just had to make it happen on the day. I was super excited to have Dan with me this year and it 100% made things so much easier by looking after my bike and keeping things fun for me. With a few more pre race media commitments this year, the Friday/Saturday before the race flew by and before I knew it I was on the shuttle up to transition on Sunday morning!
Up at the race start in Palm Cove I headed straight to transition and got Little Blue all ready for our big ride. That didn't take long so I had some time to chill and get ready for the race start.
Swim - 50mins 11sec
Onto the beach before the race I felt nervous but calm at the same time. We lined up, got introduced to the crowd and waited for the start gun.
There was some decent chop and small waves hitting the shore so I knew it was crucial to get a good start. I'm pleased to say I did and headed to the front of the group and worked hard for a bit then settled into a rhythm. I could feel some tapping on my feet so knew I had company. On the outward leg I saw Sarah True swim up beside me and take the lead for a while. Once we made the turn I ended up back in front and led us out of the water. Through transition with no issues, I grabbed Little Blue and jumped on.
Bike - 4hours 51mins
Out onto the course I quickly settled in and got to work. I made sure to have a lot of fluid right away after the swim. I went past Sarah True (who had a quicker transition than me) and settled into our planned wattage for the race. By the time we reached the Port Douglas turn around for the first time Sarah Crowley had caught us and proceeded to head right to the front of the group when she came past me she said we had a gap on Sarah True. I continued to ride with Sarah Crowley and felt comfortable to take a turn on the front. I battled a little with some stomach cramps due to some unfortunate 'timing of the month' on the way back to Cairns so focused on drinking lots and fuelling. It was a windy and hot ride on an honest course meaning by T2 I was feeling ready to hop off the bike. When we got back down to Cairns and T2 Sarah True had caught back up so three of us got off the bike together and headed into the change tent.
Run - 3hrs 2mins
Shoes on and out onto the course. Keeping both eyes on my watch I quickly settled into our pre race planned target pace. We have done a lot of training and sessions that have all pointed towards this pace being the optimal pace for me to hold. We knew I could run the full marathon at this pace and not slow down. Which I did, with the exception of some slight slowing for aid stations to make sure I got enough fluid and fuel on board. This year the run course was 4 laps - I was happy about this as it meant more chances to see Dan out on course - he always knows what to say to keep me going and focused on the race. For the first one and a half laps I was sitting in third with the other two girls going out at a much faster pace than I wanted to run. They had quickly built up over a minute gap on me and I thought that would be the race. Halfway through the second lap I started to get feedback that I was catching back up to the girls in front but I could see girls behind me flying on the run so it was all pretty unsure. By the time I got to the third lap I was back in the front of the race! With two laps left to run it was all focus on hydrating, fuelling and pacing. The last lap hurt a lot but I pushed hard and focused on my run form. With 3km left to go I started to realise what I was about to do. The last km down the road past the restaurants and onto the finish line mat was amazing. Such an awesome feeling. All I wanted to do was run straight to Dan and thank him for everything he does for me. I also had pretty sore legs so the quicker I got to the finish the sooner I could stop running haha.
Total - 8hr 48mins - new course record (broke my own course record from last year by 5mins).
I am really proud of this result, I feel I have stepped up another level and I am looking forward to future races to see how much faster I can go. Thanks to the other professional women who are all such nice and hard working people. We all pushed hard yesterday and it was an honest and exciting race to be a part of.
Thank you - HUGE thank you to Dan - I would not be here without him, he keeps me happy and safe. My mum, dad and family who are so awesome and supportive - they have been allowing me to pursue my love of sports since I was little. Thank you to my awesome coach David Bowden whose knowledge has been invaluable! Swim coach Mark Bone. My body work crew Danelle Snowden, Iain Wood and George Duncan. Big thank you to sponsor Intercoll for choosing to support me. It takes a team to make these results happen!
Photo credit to Witsup and Dan