2019 Ironman New Zealand, 2nd place 9:05:32
I had a really good block of training leading up to this race. Post Kona 2018 I had a big break from training, including a trip down to the Tour of Southland to manage a composite cycling team that Dan was racing in. A cool experience and crazy hard tour! I then got back into training and built up some base fitness and heading down to Tauranga for the Half Ironman in January. I had a solid day coming in 4th. It was a fast race with all of the top 4 girls going under the time that got me 2nd place here last year. It was good to see where I was at and it kicked off some good weeks with big sessions and some solid intensity heading into IMNZ. Race week came around quickly and we headed down to Taupo on Thursday in time for the Pro briefing and a little bit of media. We stayed out at Kinloch in a beautiful house. We had a fun time mucking around and enjoying the down time pre race - which is Dan’s speciality (fun and keeping me happy). So I was nice and relaxed on Thurs & Friday pre race. Race day! Not the best sleep but that is pretty normal. Awake at 3:45am to eat some food, then back up at 4:30am to drive to town. We had lots of time to get the bike ready and then chill before getting in the wetsuit and into the lake.
Sitting in the water before the start I found the water warm and beautifully clear. All the women bunched up together on the start line and 3 mins after the men we were away. The cannon (literally a cannon) went off and we were racing. The start felt pretty fast and I just tried to keep up with the pace but not go too deep as it is a long day. I found myself on the back of two other girls going at a good pace. I exited the water in 3rd place and headed up to transition. It is a pretty long run, around 400m including a very solid staircase to run up, giving plenty of time to get the wetsuit down around the hips. I grabbed my T1 bag, chucked some food into the front of my tri suit and ran out to grab Little Blue.
Bike: 5:06:59 (incl 5 min littering penalty)
Onto the bike and our group of three who exited the water together stayed together at the beginning of the ride. I got myself organised and settled over the first 10-15 km out of town as we headed out towards the turn around for the first time. On the way back into town we were caught by Jocelyn who was riding really well. She jumped in line in front of me just as we were coming up to an aid station. Unfortunately, at this point I had a bit of a brain explosion and dropped an empty bar wrapper on the side of the road just after the sign that ends the ‘drop zone’. This was totally my fault and I knew a penalty was coming when the motorbike drew up alongside me and the tech official blew his whistle. I now had to ride to the next penalty tent on course, ride in, unclip and stand there for 5 mins on the side of the road. I got going again after this and I rode back into town feeling a little down with some negative thoughts creeping in. I kept reminding myself it’s a long way and a long day, anything can happen. It gave me a huge boost to see Dan and my parents who had by now heard what had happened and were ready with positive reinforcement. I was worried they might not have heard and I just wanted them to know I was okay. I enjoy racing by myself so heading out on the second lap I was getting into a good rhythm. By the far turn I had made up a lot of time on the girls who I was initially with and who were now riding solo. I was still losing a little time to Jocelyn who was now leading the race. I caught Rebecca and Meredith on the way back to town and entered transition in 2nd place, 6mins down on Jocelyn and 3min up on 3rd place.
I headed out onto the run and focused on settling into my pace, hydrating and eating. The first lap was good. I felt comfortable and enjoyed the crowd support and aid stations. By the second lap I heard 3rd place was catching me. I knew there was nothing I could do about it as I was already running at the best possible pace I could run without blowing up later down the road. I kept waiting to be passed but it never happened. The last lap was hard, I got back to town at the end of the second lap and all I wanted to do was stop. I could not believe I had to do another whole lap. My feet were burning and my quads were like bricks. But luckily I have an amazing support crew and Dan knows exactly the right things to tell me when I am feeling the hurt. I managed to hold it together with Dan’s voice in my head that whole last lap. I was so happy to run up to the road from the lake path and enter those last few kms before the finish line. Realising I would be on the podium here again in Taupo was such a cool feeling. Crossing the finish line to have Dan there for a hug was the best part!
THANK YOU Getting to the start line fit, healthy and happy is not easy. Race day is just the last process of a lot of hard work and not just by me. Without these people these race results would never happen.
Dan. Mum, Dad & Family. David Bowden - Coach - Speed Theory. Mark Bone - Swim Coach - Swimtastic Swim School. Danelle Snowden - Massage - George Duncan Muscle Therapy. Iain Wood - Chiro - Advanced Health Group.
Photo credit to Witsup, Ironman New Zealand, Korupt Vision, Dan Furminger