Road to Phuket – is this the end of the road – nah…!
So the race is over – in fact it has been more than a week now already! It all seems like a blur, a distant memory, I really can’t believe it is over. Like a good book I was so eager to get to the ending, but when I reached there I didn’t want it to end. I would do anything to be standing back on that beach right now waiting for the start gun to go off – it was so amazing!
I’ll try not to go in to too much detail but here is how my race went;
Race morning was as to be expected, up at 4.30am after not actually having gone to sleep all night worrying that I would sleep in. Quick bite to eat and half a cup of coffee, trip to the toilet (very important and crucial for race comfort) and then off to meet Amanda at the front of the hotel. 5.15am meet Amanda and we are on our way on the shuttle bus to the transition to set-up our bikes and gear. All went well, no lost or forgotten items, tires pumped up nicely, electrolytes and nutrition on board. So with our googles and bright pink swim caps in hand (how happy was I that they were pink…) we jumped on the ferry across the lagoon we would soon swim in to the beach start. Fantastic atmosphere, even had time for a nice jump in the water for a warm up. Lots of photos and laughing, and thankfully hardly any stress on my part.
Before I knew it, we were standing facing the water waiting for our wave to start – with Amanda beside me I felt so much more relaxed and was really looking forward to what lie ahead. BANG – and we were off into the water, a nice small wave of women only, so very easy to get a good spot and start swimming straight away. As soon as I hit the water I could tell I was going to have a good swim, rhythm was great, arms felt strong and because I had kept my nerves at bay I had no issues with my breathing. It wasn’t long till I had caught some of the men from the waves before me (could tell from the green and yellow caps) and I knew that I was having a good swim. First bouy down, 550m over, next bouy down, and now I was heading back into the beach. Quick run up the sand and then in to the lagoon for a nice strong final 600m to the transition area. I came out of the water 3rd in my age group – so pretty happy with the swim leg.
Quick jog to my bike, all was good and in order. Last thing to grab was my sunglasses, I put them on and the rubber nose piece comes flying off – bummer. I am now wasting time fiddling around with wet hands trying to put it back on. I get it on an I’m off out of transition. Arrive at the mount line and I hear something metal hit the ground…I look back and its my Co2 canister and holders. bummer again. I have to walk back and pick them up and re-attach to the bike…thankfully it all sticks this time and now I am ready to ride.
Straight away on the bike we are on to small windy, potholed roads that go through small villages and towns, dodging pedestrians, dogs and motorbikes. The route then went in to some back areas and we were riding through tree lined roads which were absolutely beautiful. This continued for about 45 kilometres – until the first set of hills. So I had heard a lot of horror stories about these hills and the slippery roads so I think I was pretty prepared for what I saw in front of me (ie the steep hill). I gave it a good shot, but had to come off the bike after a few hundred meters as I was starting to loose momentum. As I came of the bike I knocked one of my bottles out of the back cage with my leg – and as I was on the side of a pretty step hill I watched it roll all the way to the bottom – I had no intention of going to get it. This is where the 2 women who I was in front of on the swim managed to pass me as they were able to keep riding on the hills and I unfortunately wasn’t able to catch them for the rest of the ride. Finally to the top of the first 2 hills, then for the down hills – which were awesome. I am fond of fast down hill riding (goes back to my mountain biking days) so quite enjoyed these fast and technical downhills. The rest of the ride continued with a lot of rolling hills and then right near the end another 4 killer hills that got me pushing my bike again. It really didn’t seem like that much time had passed and I was all of a sudden 8 kilometers from the transition area. The last part of the ride was lovely through beach side streets and there were a lot of spectators along the way.
Straight in to transition, bike dropped off, bike shoes off, running shoes on, hat and green bandana on my wrist for Medhi and I was ready to run.
I took straight off on the run feeling really strong, and was able to maintain a pretty good pace for the whole 21.1km. No-one passed me which was good, and I just kept a high cadence and kept myself cool with the sponges. The second loop was tough, but I knew that it was the end and a combination of relief and excitement that I had technically made it, kept me going. My garmin stopped working for some reason but I knew I was keeping a pretty good pace and was very happy with a 1.58 half marathon time.
Crossing the finish line felt amazing and it was fantastic to have my family there and so many supporters from Abu Dhabi. I then got to be there for when Amanda crossed the finish line and the best part of the race was the great big hug we gave each other after she finished. I absolutely loved the experience, but having Amanda with me every step of the way made it even better. My end time and result was 6hours and 1 minute (damn those sunglasses as I could have got a sub 6 hours) and I came 6th in my age group and 23rd out of all the women.
So whats next? Well this is what 2014 looks like for me so far….
- 8th of February – Bribie Island Triathlon series – Australia(1000m/23km/8km)
- 28th of February – TRIYAS Abu Dhabi- Olympic Distance
- 15th March – ADIT-Short Course – Abu Dhabi (1.5km swim/100km ride/10km run)
- 8th of June – Ironman 70.3 Eagleman, Cambridge, Maryland USA
- 23rd August – Lake Norman Sprint Triathlon, Mooresville, USA
I can’t wait for 2014…stay tuned.
Thanks to everyone that has supported me, followed me and helped me to get to enjoy such a great sport. xx