Monday, March 22, 2010

China 70.3

Well I have been back home in Noosa now for almost a week after spending the past four weeks racing and training in Asia. I really enjoyed my time in Asia and and of course I love to race but nothing beats being home. Justin and I brought ourselves a new house just before Christmas last year and we have done quite a bit to it since then so it is always nice to come home and appreciate what we have done.

After IM Malaysia we flew to Singapore. We decided that this would be the best place for us to base ourselves between races. We had 10 days in Singapore with the priority being recovery. Obviously we didn't need to go too crazy with the training as both of us had just finished the Ironman. It was more about active recovery and getting the body moving again and ready to fire for China 70.3.
We were lucky enough to stay in a wonderful penthouse apartment over-looking the ocean (thanks to Michelle and Steve and Nicole and Evan). The complex had its own 50m pool and gym equipped with treadmills- perfect! I really love Singapore- it has just about everything you need- great food, good coffee, massage, shopping.....did I mention how good the shopping was....... I had to keep reminding myself that I was not on holidays but rather, that I was preparing for another race. Before we knew it our 10 days were up and we were on our way to Hainan Island, China.

I had not been back to Hainan Island since winning the inaugural IM China in 2008. That was, without a doubt, one of the hardest and most gruelling Ironman races I have ever done. I was only doing the 70.3 this time around but Justin was backing up and doing the 'double'- two IM races two week's apart. I thought he was crazy. I knew it was going to be tough enough getting through the half. The conditions at this race had been horrendous both years so I had no doubt that this year would be no different.
Race day came quickly as we did not fly in to China until late thursday afternoon. My race did not start until 9am so I got to have a bit of a sleep-in while the poor Ironman athletes had an early start at 7am. By the time I got to the transition area the IM athletes were well into their four lap swim and it was actually kind of cool to watch them exit the swim and jump onto their bikes. I got to cheer on Luke McKenzie and Justin which was a lot of fun.

Before I knew it, it was my time to jump into the murky waters and do my thing. I had no idea how I was going to feel as I had not done any high intensity training since Malaysia. I have to admit the swim did not feel so great- I felt uncoordinated and weak in the water- a complete contrast to the way I felt swimming in Malaysia. Amazing what a week can do to one's swimming. But I survived the swim and was actually looking forward to the bike as then I got to see what the IM athletes were up to. I was surprised at just how windy it was on the bike course. I knew within the first few kilometres that it was going to be an extremely tough day on the bike.
Even though I didn't feel too bad riding, I certainly had to push hard to keep any sort of speed up- you really did have to work for every km. The wind was brutal. I didn't find the heat so much of a problem but the wind was making it very hard indeed. I entered T2 with my slowest bike split ever for a half ironman race- I was just so glad I didn't have to turn around and head out in it for another lap.

I started the run straight into the head wind but I knew I only had to endure it for 5kms and then I got to turn and for the rest of the run I would have the wind behind me. I saw the pro men running back towards me and they all looked happy- I couldn't wait to have the wind at my back! The only problem with having a tailwind is that it often results in over-heating. But because I had raced IM Malaysia two week's before I did not find this a problem.

It is amazing how quickly 21kms goes when your last race was 42.2kms- before I knew it I was celebrating another win at the finish line. Funny thing is that all I was thinking about was how the guys in the IM were doing and I wanted to turn around and start running back out onto the course so that I could cheer the boys on. Unfortunately the drug testers had other ideas and they bundled me up and took me away for drug testing.
Fortunately I got back to the finish in time to see my good friend and training partner Luke McKenzie smash the field and cross for the 4th IM win of his career- he is such an amazing athlete and a wonderful person. I was so happy for him and his fiance Amanda. I then waited patiently for Justin to arrive. I knew it was going to be a long day for him- he was not going to be breaking any records today but it was a goal of his to do two IM races two week's apart, so I knew he would make it to that finish line any way he could. He managed to put in a solid run in the tough conditions after struggling big time on the bike and crossed the line in 7th place- not too bad at all after finishing 4th in IM Malaysia. Of course he was out of the 8% cut-off for prize money but he was not upset by it. He was just happy that he could tick the 'double' of his list of 'things to do'.

After the race we headed back to Singapore for a day of shopping. I loved it- I had made a pact with Justin that if I won both of my races then I could do some guilt-free shopping post-race. We had 6 hours in Singapore before our flight back to Brisbane- a small window of opportunity but one that I treated with the same enthusiasm and intensity and precision that I would a race. Honestly I truly believe that if there was a 'World Championship' for the Best Shopper', I would definitely be in the running for the crown. I would be like the 'Chrissie Wellington' of Ironman- unstoppable.
But back to reality now- back home and back into training. I am taking this next week fairly steady. I have a big block of training coming up as my next race will not be until the Rohto Ironman 70.3 Hawaii on the 5th of June. I am looking forward to spending the next few months here in Noosa and getting myself strong and fit before I head to a training camp in Kona for the month of June. The most exciting thing about this camp is that Hillary and Maik are also joining Justin and I for the month= HAPPY TRAINING!!!

Next up I will be making the trip down to Port Mac this weekend to watch Ironman Australia- I have not been down for quite a few years now so I am actually really looking forward to it.
Hope to see some of you down there.

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