The decision to enter Hervey Bay Triathlon was discussed when the Farmer, Worm and I were enduring the 8 hour drive back from Mooloolaba Triathlon. We were chatting about how I really needed another Olympic distance event before my big 70.3 in Yeppoon in August.
Hervey Bay was quickly chosen due to it’s relatively close location (only 5 hours drive) and the fact that it has a reputation for being a fun event. We also considered Cairns, but the cost of airfares etc made it a little excessive.
As the race day approached and I received the numerous race information emails my nerves started to get the better of me. I saw in one of the first race briefings that the swim cut off for the 1500m was supposed to be 40 minutes. WOW I was terrified by this – my previous open water PB was 44mins and I don’t think I had EVER swam 1500m in 40 minutes before – my swim training leading up to this event was certainly lacking, I mentioned here that my swim is the first to go in a busy week. So I was certainly lacking confidence in this leg.
After reading the briefing I actually rang The Farmer almost in tears – I couldn’t believe that I had spent all that money, and all the hours training to not even be allowed to finish the first leg. Thankfully The Farmer calmed me down, and reminded me that I was only ever competing against myself, and even if I wasn’t allowed an official finishing time I would still race my own race and do my best.
The night before my event I got a beautiful perfectly worded text from my coach Jen.
Exactly what I needed to focus on, and having heard it from Jen & the Farmer made me believe it.
I woke at 5am race day, to a lovely cool morning. My bad foot had swollen up and was VERY tender, so I quickly sat on the hotel loo and taped it up, trying my best not to wake the rest of the family. Worm work at 5.20am for her milk feed – perfect timing and this fitted in with my schedule nicely (not like at Mooloolaba, where I nearly missed the transition closing time).
I jogged down to transition and got there in plenty of time to pump my tyres, dry my bike from the dew that had set the night before, and generally set out my area. Around this time I was told that it was a wetsuit optional swim for Age groupers – the water was 22.9 degrees.
The next 30 mins were all about getting a coffee, eating my bananas, discussing the pros & cons of wearing a wetsuit. I eventually decided to go wetsuit free & I was so pleased I did.
My swim went really well, I need to work on my sighting more, as my Garmin thinks I swam 1700m instead of the 1500m of the course, I looked up numerous times & I think I was actually swimming out to New Zealand at one point!
As I passed the final turn around buoy I was about 50m off course, I saw people around me were WALKING! I put my feet down, and sure enough I could touch the bottom, so I quickly jogged back closer to the course, and re-commenced my swim.
My official swim time was 35min – however I think there was an issue with the starting times, as my Garmin had me at 37mins.
As I entered the cycle leg I was shaking all over, I struggled to get my leg over the bike, and to clip my feet in, I’m not sure how much time I lost, but it felt like forever, I felt like I was going to throw up and all I could focus on was getting my leg over the bike, and getting away from all the people on the sidelines before I stacked it! I was soon off and riding though.
I really enjoyed my ride, I dropped the first Endura Gel that I tried to take for energy and nutrition, but I didn’t allow this to panic me, and I simply had my spare one within the first 5km (exactly per my race plan). The cycle course at Hervey Bay is beautiful, very scenic with views of the ocean at most points. My aero bars felt really comfortable, and I was able to go up and down from them without careering off the road. This was a huge confidence booster, and allowed me to relax my shoulders and enjoy the ride.
I made a conscious effort to keep my cadence steady, and I think I managed this with an average of around 90rpm across the course. I was so pleased I had been given the heads up on the one hill on the course – a short 30 meter incline, at around 20% grading…. it felt like I was riding almost vertically I saw a lady stuff up her gears and fall over in front of me, thankfully I managed to avoid her and keep riding – yelling out ‘are you ok’ as I went passed – I head the ‘yep’ as I reached the top (which was good as I really didn’t want to head back down to help her).
The 40km course went so fast, I think I enjoyed it, hard to say really. My Garmin time had me finishing in 1:28mins so I was thrilled that I had come in under my Mooloolaba time for the same distance.
As I set off in the wrong direction through transition for the run leg, I laughed out loud at myself – the officials yelled out to me and I quickly turned around to head out the run entry sign (even though the 2 times before the race when I was in transition I made sure to double check the entry & exit points numerous times!)
My legs didn’t have that shaky horrid I just rode a bike for 90 minutes feeling – I think its because for the last 2km coming into the transition I had deliberately reduced my resistance on the bike & tried to spin a little faster to get the blood running better.
As I started at the run, I easily fell into a comfortable pacing, I remembered that I hadn’t had my 2nd gel in the bike leg, so I took it within the first 2km. I was able to overtake a few people, and walked through each of the drink stations, to allow myself time to drink the water, and let my heart rate drop a little. I took my 2nd gel as I rounded the half way mark. At Km 7 I started some really positive self talk, I knew I was running well and I was comfortable, but looking at my data Km 7 – 8 was my worst of the race. It was like as soon as I started to tell myself how good I was going everything started to hurt! Thankfully a quick look at the watch made me realise that there was a chance I would beat my previous 10km PB so I but a wiggle on and ran ran ran. As I rounded the last corner and started to hear the spectators I tried to stride out some more, I was certain that the PB was mine! My run leg came in at 1:03 – 3 minutes under my previous best 10km run route (which wasn’t preceded by a 1500m swim & 40km ride)
Overall my ‘official finishing time’ of 3:10:39 is 30 minutes faster than my Mooloolaba time, I had SMASHED the internal goal of 3:15 that I had set myself (but not told anyone!)
Hubby thought my recovery ‘outfit’ was very sexy!
So that’s my last triathlon of the season. My next big triathlon challenge will be the 70.3 in August. But before then I’ve got Rocky River Half Marathon (2nd June) and the Rockhampton Bike4Life 100km cycle (29th June). I’m looking forward to both of these events to test myself over the longer distances. Hopefully my body cooperates & my ugly runners feet improve by then!
sorry for the lack of race photos, hopefully they are available soon!