Ironman Cairns Asia Pacific Champion 2018 - New Course Record 8:53:16
After IMNZ I had an awesome 2 week break. The first week was all about chilling and eating anything I felt like - this included a large amount of fast food, ice cream and chocolate. Into the second week I felt well enough to begin doing one thing a day. We decided to turn our focus towards Cairns due to it being a regional championship I would have the best possible chance to earn enough points to qualify for World Champs in Kona later in the year.
With that decision made I began the process of building my fitness up to a good level before doing some key sessions in the weeks leading into Cairns. I did pretty much the same training I did leading into IMNZ. No need to change things that are already working.
Pre race in Cairns. I tried my best to stay as calm and stress free as possible. I will admit I was nervous about travelling alone and making sure everything got done but this was the only way we could afford to do it. Everything ran very smoothly, I am so lucky to have Dan as he talked to me for hours on the phone and made my most scary moment easy - putting my bike back together again. We set up the video chat so he could see me and the bike in the frame and directed me on what to do. Phew, am I grateful for technology (and Dan who's advice keeps me safe and on track) haha.
Race day dawned beautiful - surprise surprise. Secretly, or not so secretly, I was hoping for rain and cooler temperatures. However, I put the 27 degrees and humidity to the back of my mind and got ready to race.
I nailed the swim start. I literally said to myself in my head - that was awesome.
I saw Lauren off to my right so I moved over and got on her feet going right around the first buoy and heading South down the beach. I soon realised she was swimming much faster than I felt was comfortable for me, so I let her feet go and settled into my pace. The rest of the swim was good, I stuck close to the buoy line and exited the water approx. 2mins down on Lauren in second place.
I jumped on the bike and quickly set about getting comfortable. This included beginning to fuel, drink and dial in my watts. By the time I reach Port Douglas for the first time (the Northernmost turnaround) I had the diesel engine humming and my sights set firmly on my numbers.
The course sent us back down towards Palm Cove (swim start) with a U-Turn a few kms out and another loop back to Port Douglas before the long trek all the way down to Cairns.
Before the race I had heard through the grape vine that this was a mentally challenging section of the course as it was approx. 70kms straight back into a headwind. With that in the back of my mind I was pleasantly surprised to find it didn't bother me at all. When you ride to a wattage and have a bike fit from Dan it smooths out hills, winds etc.
I reached Cairns in the lead after having passed Lauren at an aid station around 120kms into the ride.
Extremely pleased with my ride. I felt I nailed it. Hit my watt targets, felt hydrated and fuelled for the run. In fact the longer I rode, the stronger I felt. Time to get off and run.
I left T2 constantly reminding myself to settle down. It is very easy to go out faster than planned due to the jelly legs off the bike feeling. Before the race I had done some jogs on the top half of the run course but had not ventured down to the south part. The first half of the first lap I was just following cones. They took us down to a shipping container port/wharf where we turned around and then came back up past T2 before heading north through the beautiful Esplanade Park.
I was ticking along at the same pace I ran at IMNZ, the plan was to go out at this pace and Dan said I could lift it in the last 10km if I had anything left. I felt I had been running really well in training leading into the race so I had expectations to run a little quicker but this is an Ironman and you can't expect anything.
I could see that Mirinda Carfrae was hunting me down. The first lap of the run I could tell at turn arounds she was catching me. There were a lot of sections on the run that you could see the other girls and measure your position against theirs. As the run went on, I kept my same pace and she stopped gaining time on me.
The last lap was hard, just the same as IMNZ. Obviously the accumulated fatigue has a huge part to play but also the fact that you are so close to the finish line plays mind games with you.
However I made! I did it! I actually reached the finish line first! Such a crazy, emotional, confusing and joyful moment.
I am so proud of myself and grateful for my team. Especially Dan and my parents. They are there with me every second of the day, day in day out, through all the very nitty gritty moments. I cannot believe I am the 2018 Ironman Cairns Asia Pacific Champion!
I am so happy I was able to win for my extended team of sponsors and supporters, without whom this result would not have been achievable. Thank you.
Speedo Aus/NZ: https://speedo.com.au/
Dan Furminger Bike Fitter: https://www.facebook.com/danfurmingerbikefitter/
Iain Wood Chiropractor @ Advanced Health Group:
Danelle Snowden & George Duncan @ George Duncan Muscle Therapy: http://muscletherapy.co.nz/
David Bowden, Velogicfit: speedtheory.co.nz
Mark Bone, Swim Coach: swimtastic.co.nz