19th March 2017
Ah Mooloolaba – the Loo with a View. What a day we had. A day where my race went down the toilet. A day of lessons. And the lesson I learned was that if anyone tells you “less is more”, don’t believe them.
I did less training (at least in the last 4 weeks of the lead up) to my first more distance (a.k.a Olympic) triathlon. It was NOT the optimal race prep.
2 weeks off training might have been fine. You won’t lose fitness in this period of time, according to sports science. But 4 weeks of enforced* rest? I could feel the lack of fitness whilst I trundled round Mooloolaba last weekend! (*OK. I admit: the initial 2 weeks were self-imposed).
I got away with it at Raby Bay, in many respects. My run suffered, as my knee had a hissy fit as I got off the bike. But I had a good swim and a good bike leg.
In fact, my swim was sufficiently good that it had pissed off a fellow participant, who I met at the start line in Mooloolaba. She commented that a lady in the wave in front of us looked to be struggling, but I just thought she was doing breaststroke. “Bless,” she said. “Oh, that’ll be me in a few minutes…” I said. “Were you at Raby Bay the other week?” she asked, an accusing tone entering her voice. “Erm, yes,” I said, as noncommittally as yes can be. “I was really dirty with some chick at Raby Bay. She was swimming faster than me and she was doing breaststroke.”
I think she might be the one I had the fight with….
I had attempted to do some training. I did get in the pool and do some water running.
At least, I told myself I was water running. The Grumpster appeared at the edge of the pool on one occasion and remarked “I thought you were supposed to be pool running. That looks more like walking!” So that’s why my heart rate was less elevated than I expected… OOPS.
And I did do most of the things Anna, my physio, told me. I was particularly good at icing and resting my leg. I was very happy to do more relaxing.
And I am more than happy to do more storing of the club trailer outside my house. I have an absurd, but nonetheless, intense dislike of people parking in front of our property. Which they do ALL the bloody time. So, it was a great joy to me to have the trailer marking my territory for a week.
I put the need for space down to being British. You know we need plenty of personal space. According to my mate Kylie, we also only hug dogs and horses.
Whatever, outside my property is my own private reserve. Neighbours, take note!
Talking of dogs (maybe not so much horses these days, as our own small horse, aka Gracie-Boo is no longer with us), we did more driving than was absolutely necessary.
Being such a half-ass takes a certain amount of discipline. Or possibly denial.
So, I had spent the entire lead-up to Mooloolaba in denial about race logistics. I blocked out all the chatter about accommodation and where everyone else was staying. I was staying at home. Why was that a problem?
I realised it was a problem when I finally got round to reading the race instructions. Which stated that all bikes must be racked on the Saturday.
So, we had to drive the 100km there with my bike (and the club trailer) and back on the Saturday. Dexter came too.
And timing was impeccable too. We managed to get to Mooloolaba just as the elite men’s race was about to begin. Maintaining the air of denial, we managed to get the trailer in position by removing the road block and driving across the course. Meh – they were in the water, swimming. It was no big deal…
We did get a good view as we walked back after racking my bike:
Those in the know know that Ironman brand events are not cheap. The entry for Mooloolaba is about 3 times the price of a Gatorade series race. But, the received wisdom is, you get more for your money.
And you do get some snazzy stickers to label your equipment, as well as temporary tattoos to stick on your arm.
My tattoos were so temporary, that half of the them never got as far as my arm. Some remained on the plastic protective coating. Some remained on my thumb.
It takes skills to be this inept!
There was also a pack with a towel in it. I’ve had face clothes that have more substance to them. And apparently, the norm is a visor and a water bottle, too. Neither of these items were included for this race. Which was pretty disappointing seeing as it was the 25th anniversary of the Mooloolaba event!
And you don’t get a finishers medal. OMG. Was I gutted!!!
I was pretty damn sure that Ironman events come with a finishers medal.
So much so, that, having picked up my free oversized face cloth on the Saturday and knowing I wasn’t in good condition for the morrow, the only reason I got out of bed on the Sunday was so I could pick up my bling at the finish line. #truefact
At least it was a pretty start to the day on Sunday. This is the view looking out over the bay.
The king tide that had been hurling waves onto the normally protected beach the previous day had lost its crown. The water was pretty flat and I wondered if, perhaps, it was a sign my day might be salvaged.
I deposited my belongings by my bike in transition.
And tried not to be intimidated by the throng of other competitors. I had done a thorough recce so I knew how to get to my bike!
And then I went and hung out at the club tent to take my mind off what promised to be an uncomfortable few hours ahead of me.
I don’t race. I participate. But I was a little anxious about finishing last in my category. (I don’t know if I did – Ironman were kind enough to only tell me my position in mycategory without mentioning how many others there were. Thank you Ironman. You are partially forgiven for your stingy race showboat).
Having discussed the fact that I would be breaststroking with my friend from Raby Bay, I set about swimming when the red hats* hooter went off. I had warmed up (which is code for having my customary pre-race wee in the sea) and was ready to go. The water was beautiful. Fairly warm, but not too much so and pretty flat. Committing to breaststroke meant that I stay relaxed, and whilst I spent the first 1000m bitching to myself about it being a pigging long swim and what was I thinking doing an Olympic distance, I finally found a rhythm and enjoyed the last 500m.
Which means the bloke who decided it was imperative that he swam on top of me because my little space in the ocean was the only place he needed to be, must have finished trying to drown me by then. Seriously, the dude was not going to win his wave. He was a long way off the front of his pack. I was not in the middle of a particularly tight huddle. Why do people think they have a right to drown you?
If I want to drown, I will swim freestyle. OK?
I do not need help!
I got out of the water 32 minutes after starting. From comparing notes, I had a very good swim. 😀
I think the bike leg was the bit I was most disappointed about. I’d made so many gains on the bike in the weeks I had trained consistently, that I could feel the progress. At our training camp in Pottesville, I had hung onto the back of riders I have no right to keep up with. At Raby Bay, my average speed was significantly faster than any previous race. The same could not be said for Mooloolaba. The bike course starts with a nasty bee sting of a hill, but then flattens out into around 18km of good quality flat tarmac. Out and back.
Yet my legs just could not make the most of the generous surface.
My friend from Raby Bay, who I clearly left behind in the swim again, came powering past me and I had nothing with which to respond. I pootled along, and my time was respectable. But it wasn’t the ride I wanted to record.
Let’s face it – there was no running. I thought about it. I tried it. But it wasn’t happening. A combination of no training, too much pool walking in place of pool running and the heat! Oh, the heat. Don’t let my earlier pictures fool you. The promised rain never arrived. Instead, the sun poked it’s head out, thought it looked like a great day for a party with South Bank Tri Club and came out to play. It was a scorcher.
And I had nothing.
Nothing whatsoever in the tank to deal with it.
I started out with some 20 steppers, but even that was proving too much. I was very quickly reduced to a walk.
I wasn’t alone. A lot of other participants were run/walking in the conditions.
Not many were just walking. But I was.
The girl who insists on breaststroking, also insisted on walking.
There’s a time and a place for being an individual. I’m just not convinced it’s in the midst of an Olympic distance triathlon…
But it got done.
I did run past the club tent. When you’ve got a bunch of rowdy clubmates roaring you on, it feels obligatory. (I was thankful for the bends in the road, though, which meant I could quickly give up my pretence and get back to a more comfortable pace).
I did run the 50m or so down to the finish line. I didn’t even want to do that. :/
Especially when I didn’t get presented with my medal!!!
Thankfully South Bank Tri Club live up to their name of being the fourth leg specialists. And it was such a relief to get back to the small tent village that Robin had organised and to the sustenance that Simone had provided.
An esky full of ice cold beer, cider and soft drinks to start with, then a plunge into the paddling pool alongside team mates who had been finished for ages.
A sausage and a steak cooked on the barby, and a bit of fun in the sun, kicking back and catching up on everyone’s race stories. It was certainly the highlight of my race.
Later that night, I did notice a bit of suntan poker being played on Facebook. Sarah and Trina were comparing their rather stunning tan lines from their air suits. Well girls, I’ll see your tan lines and raise you chafe. I think that might be one thing I did win on the day!
Whilst writing this, I have just watched Oscar try to leap onto the barbecue. And fail. I realise I may not be the only athletically challenged member of the family…
And Dexter is featured simply for handsomeness…
So, there you have it: more words, less achievement. But I had a great day regardless.
You definitely have more fun with the South Bank peeps.
*each race category enters the water in a wave, and the wave is denoted by the colour of the swim cap. Mine was red.