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Saturday, January 19, 2013

5th title at Challenge Wanaka

Yes this report is up super duper fast. This is because we will be moving back to the caravan soon without a lot of internet access. It has been so good being put up at the Alpine Resort in Wanaka. Benji has his own room for the first time since May 2012!!! We are starting to feel like a normal family, but then back to the caravan. The building of our new house is coming along nicely here in Wanaka and in April we will be able to move in and be normal again for a while at least!!
This was a very emotional victory for me. On Sunday night I came down with a stomach bug and I was thinking oh no if this is as bad as the one post Challenge Henley, pre Kona (where I couldn't eat for 5 days and became so weak) then there is no way I can possibly race. Luckily I bounced back a lot quicker (probably because I wasn't recovering from an ironman and adjusting to 12 hr time difference jetlag). I was bad on Monday, on Tuesday I did some light training but not able to eat anything but bananas, on Wednesday I had a great day training and felt a lot happier. I never was able to recover my appetite fully pre race and lost quite a bit of weight over the week, but I was so, so happy that I would be racing my favourite race. I felt daunted with the idea of doing an iron distance race. I felt under prepared, but the upside, much more rested than any other race that I have ever done!
I knew I would probably suffer a bit of weakness towards the end of the race, and for this reason I wanted to have a good lead going onto the run. I didn't want to be running with anyone else. However I had the slowest swim ever. Around 1 hr!! I have never done over 56 min for a swim before even in Kona non wetsuit, but everyone had slow times I believe? It was so choppy the choppiest I have ever swum in. I certainly felt sorry for the weaker swimmers in the age groups. It was quite a strange swim in that I felt completely lost. I was with Keegan Williams but because of the chop we would only ever see each other at the turn buoy and then I wouldn't see him again for another 600m or so to the next buoy. I was happy to reach the end and happy to jump on the little Ceepo.
Jo Lawn and Kate Bevilaqua were right behind me coming out of the swim. At the end of 18k (turn around) I was about 2.5min up on Jo and around 4 min up on Kate. The bike was windy and with the new double lap hillier than the previous years. We had some wicked tail winds and some relentless head winds. At the second turn around I saw I had extended my lead on all. I felt fantastic until 160k where I had to grovel back to the start. I broke my bike course record. Did 5.08 and the fastest male I believe did a 4.52. Not too shabby at all!!
Onto the run and I believe I had about 17 mins up on Jo Lawn who was in second. I was happy as I could run comfortably and not push myself too hard which was important as I thought the run would be a real struggle for me. The last 15k was a struggle I felt very weak but I got to the end and the finish was truly emotional with such great crowd support and I have to confess I had a little cry (I hate people that do that! And now I'm one of them!), I broke my course record despite having that much slower than normal swim and I had a 20min gap to 2nd Candice Hammond who caught Jo right at the end and they pretty much had a sprint finish to the end, my worst nightmare!!! I felt very sorry for them, it must be horrible to sprint at the end of a marathon particularly for the person who gets pipped. Congrats to everyone that finished, this is truly a very, tough race, for me I think the toughest I've done outside Kona.

So it's time to rest and recover and re-group for Ironman New Zealand in March Thanks so much to my sponsors KSwiss, Ceepo, Powerbar, SRAM, BlueSeventy, Rolf Prima, Keywin, Oakley. 2 wins to begin 2013. I'm totally stoked!

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