Training and focus for IMNZ began after the Port of Tauranga Half (20th January). I was already very fit so it was all about doing some longer key sessions to practice nutrition and pacing to help me get through my longest ever triathlon day. I was feeling happy and healthy when Dan and I headed down to Taupo on Thursday morning before the race.
I got a last minute call up to attend the pre race press conference and Q&A event the day before the race. I was nervous and excited to be in this position but did not let it effect my race prep etc. I was last to speak which was hard as I had to sit nervously awaiting my turn. When I was handed the microphone I did my best and spoke as well as I could. After that I did a little jog and a short swim then racked my bike and settled in for the night to watch Netflix with Dan.
Swim time: 49:32
Race day dawned beautiful and the lake was super calm and flat. I was relaxed and happy. Down in transition I put the finishing touches on my bike then headed down to the swim start to suit up. With Ironman being such a long day I enjoyed the luxury of not having to do much of a warm up. I hopped in the water a little before the mens go time to check my wetsuit was settled on my shoulders and then waited patiently for the start cannon. The swim went off without a hitch. I started wide from the other girls so I could have clear water from stroke one. The water was very warm and I did have some thoughts about how long the swim was but I kept ticking along and finally headed into the mouth of the river and towards the swim exit. Coming out of the water and up the boat ramp was one of my favourite parts of the day. I was so overwhelmed running along the carpet up to transition as literally hundreds of people were yelling Happy Birthday Teresa! I could not stop grinning and struggled to hold in saying 'thank you' to each and every person. So if you are one of those people reading this then thank you!
Bike time: 5:01:13
I thought that by 100k into the ride I would be dying to get off the bike but surprisingly I wasn't. I really enjoyed the ride. I was under strict instructions from Dan to stay as tucked and aero as possible. I am so lucky to have Dan as he has taught me firstly how to ride a TT bike and then how to get the most out of it in terms of free speed, this has contributed hugely towards my recent successes. The first time out to Reporoa I was really careful to listen to my body and stay very comfortable. It was still quite early in the morning and there was some low fog, so my legs and feet got quite cold which made me hold back on the watts a little as I felt a bit stiff. On the way back the sun was getting higher which thawed me out a bit and my legs started to feel better and better. By 60k Jocelyn had caught me which was no surprise but what did surprise me was how for the next 30k back to town she didn't get away. I didn't change my pace or watts at all. So I was happy to just keep ticking along. Through town for the first time I was excited to see my little support team cheering me on. Another big grin on my face and I headed out for another lap. On the hill out of town Laura caught us and kept going past. Again I stuck to my watts while she rode away with Jocelyn on her tail. The wind had picked up on the second lap but again it didn't matter to me as I was just staring at my power meter. Jocelyn and Laura continued to yoyo ahead of me but I could always see them up the road due to the motorbikes following them. And to my surprise they never really got too far away. There were some good learnings for me out on the bike. The band, bottle and special needs collections went smoothly. I was nervous and slowed down a lot for these transactions so as not to mess it up. Huge thank you to the volunteers for making these processes extremely easy for us athletes. Back into town and I was excited to get running.
Run time: 3:09:34
Off the bike in 3rd place and through transition. This being my first Ironman I had never had help in transitions but the amount of people and help we received was awesome. I never really felt alone out there. My legs felt surprisingly good at the start of the run (have you noticed the surprised theme in this blog haha). In training leading up to the race I had been battling to run sub 4:45 per km pace off the bike. So the plan was to run that pace on the day. But I guess the fact that I had freshened up for the race and did not have as much fatigue in my legs made running 4:30s comfortable. So I went with it. I said to myself the whole way if it begins to feel too much then I could always back off. But I just kept ticking along and sticking to my nutrition plan. The first lap was good. The second lap I started to think about just getting to each aid station. The last lap my legs felt like planks of wood and each aid station was miles away. I had the worst moments on uphills but I got through it by telling myself I felt slow and tired because I was running up a bloody hill. There were way more hills on the run course than I expected! Luckily Auckland (where I live and train) is silly hilly as well. The support out on the course was amazing. Out the back of the run course a family had made me a happy birthday sign! How freaking cool is that, I was so surprised and it made me super excited. The other thing that surprised me was when people started to report that I was catching second place. I just tried to put it to the back of my mind and said what will be will be. By the turn around to head out onto the last lap I had caught Jocelyn. I ran by her at my own pace and concentrated on getting through that last lap. The last 8-10km were the hardest. My pain face came out but apparently my run form did not deteriorate too much, so that's a positive. Running down the finish chute was awesome. High fives, grins, disbelief and some major relief that I was finished and could stop running. Hugs for Laura Siddall - what a machine, an amazing and deserved win. Then all I wanted to do was see Dan, mum, dad and drink lots of water.
2nd place Pro Female
Total time: 9:05:35
Fastest ever NZ female on in history on this course
4th Fastest time ever on this course (all women)
My 1st Ironman
1st Pro Long Distance race
Thank you everyone for your support and words of encouragement, but the biggest thanks needs to go to these people for being a close part of my journey:
Dan Furminger - partner, bike fitter, bike mechanic, co-coach, mental skills and full time support.
Mum, Dad and Family - endless support, encouragement and never letting me give up.
David Bowden / Velogic fit - mentoring, guidance, training sessions and support.
Speedo Aus/NZ - goggles, caps, togs, swim aids, gear bags and kit.
Iain Wood - chiropractor.
Danelle Snowden - massage therapist.