Catching up with my sis- hadn't seen her for such a long time- loved getting to spend time with her.
Being inducted into the Australian Ironman Hall of Fame- what an honour.
DAY 1 -
Well it has been quite a while since our last true family road trip. We all decided that Ironman Australia in Port Macquarie would be the perfect excuse to get the entire family together again. So my parents, Justin and I started the 8hour journey down the coast to Port, while my sister and her boyfriend made the 5 hour journey up the coast to join us. It was going to be a fun-filled, albeit, loud weekend.
For an athlete, being hauled up in the backseat of a car for 8 hours is almost on par with pulling your toenails out. For me personally, being on the hyperactive side, it is just about as bad as it can get. But my parents and Justin are keeping me thoroughly entertained and it also has given me the opportunity to update my blog and get up to speed with all of the latest 'goings-on' in the world of triathlon and facebook of course.
I am actually really looking forward to the weekend. I cannot remember the last time I was at Ironman Australia as a spectator and not as a participant- it could have been as far back as 1998! I am excited about the women's race and I love the fact that I am going to be able to socialise and mingle at the expo for as long as I want without being worried about wearing out my legs, although there is a very good chance that I will be wearing out my mouth.
I am heading to the carbo dinner tonight and then the expo tent tomorrow- I am going to be at the TP Therapy booth at 11.30 and then the Powerbar booth after lunch- if you are at the expo then swing by and say hello- you know I will be up for a good chat. Race day I will be on the microphone for at least a couple of hours- I love to commentate (shock, horror) and it is something I am really keen on exploring post-racing.
Well the carbo night was a huge surprise- during the night I was called up on stage as I was inducted into the 'Ironman Hall of Fame'. What an enormous honour it was. I never, ever dreamt that I would be included in this very elite club of amazing athletes and contributors to the sport of Ironman. The most unbelievable thing was that my dad actually had tears on his cheeks when I returned to the table after giving a 'short' speech. It was such a wonderful and unforgettable night and I was just so happy to have been able to share it with my family and friends. We continued to celebrate well into the night- yes quite a few red wines were consumed.
We got up quite early as a group of us wanted to get a ride in before we hit the expo tent . We rode on the race course- good to see a lot of cyclists out and about getting their last little ride in before race day. The course here at Port Mac is definitely not flat. It is a solid, demanding course and has everything from hills to bumpy roads and wind. It really has a bit of everything. It is a three loop course so you get to know it quite well by the time you are finished with it.
After the ride we all went for breakfast at a cafe called 'Crema'. It is a bit of a favourite amongst the athletes and I can understand why- great coffee and good healthy food. After brekky it was time to hit the expo. I loved catching up with sponsors and friends- some I had not seen for quite a few years. I stopped by Powerbar and TP Therapy for quite a while and chatted with athletes. I was getting so excited for them all. For sure there was a part of me that wished I was also racing along side them. By the time I left the expo tent most athletes had racked their bikes- the transition was packed solid with bikes of all sizes. It is such an amazing sight- so many cool bikes- loads sporting disc wheels- lets hope the wind does not rear it's ugly head tomorrow.
Saturday night we had a bbq at out apartment. It was supposed to be a fairly quiet night as we knew we had to be up early the next morning for the race start at 6.45am. Well lets just say it was an extremely fun night and we will leave it at that. I blame my sister for bringing up too many great bottles of red wine (she works in the industry).
DAY 3- RACE DAY!
I awoke nice and early and I admit I was not feeling so chirpy, but I was up and at it and out the door by 6.30am. I was meeting some friends for a run as soon as the starting cannon went off at 6.45. We ran along the foreshore so that we could see the swimmers and then out along the first part of the run course and it was so still and so eerily quiet- we knew this was all going to change once the athletes hit the run course later in the day. We then ran back into town to watch the athletes riding out of town. It was so exciting to watch them exit the water and jump on their bikes- it is such a different perspective watching rather than racing. I was getting so hyperactive watching everyone. The swim times were super fast and the pro girls were right up there. I couldn't wait to see how the race was going to pan out for them.
After the run we all went for a quick bite to eat and then Luke McKenzie and I had some commentating to do. We wanted to be to in the tower when the athletes were dismounting their bikes in T2. I was actually able to go into the T2 tent and give the spectators a 'birds-eye view' so to speak of the pro girls and how they looked heading out for the run. The girls looked great and it really did look like it was going to be a close and hard-fought race. One thing I did notice though was that most of the professional athletes that left T2 looking great, did not finish looking so good. The athletes that started the run a little more conservatively ended up being the athletes that held it together and came home strong. It really showed me the importance of being patient during the marathon- taking it out at a steady and controlled pace rather than going crazy and not being dictated by other athletes around them or in front of them. Being able to view the results now and looking back at the way athletes left T2 you could have picked the athletes that were going out way too hard. I learnt a valuable lesson that is for sure.
At the end of the day both winners were deserving- they had controlled, strong races and never really looked like faulting. They stuck to their race plans and it paid off. Carrie made a decisive move on the bike and then was able to control the run- with such a huge lead off the bike it enabled her to just run her own pace on the marathon and the girls never really got close enough to have her concerned enough to change her pace. What an amazing effort for her very first ironman.
Well we are on our way back up to Noosa now after an awesome weekend. I loved every second of it. I really wanted to stay for the Awards night but I knew I needed to get back home as my own training needs to hit top gear again. I have taken a good break after IM Malaysia and China 70.3. It is now time to get moving and prepared for the next round of races. First up of course is defending my title at Hawaii 70.3 in June.