Everyone says NEVER try anything new on race day. Well there I was, 2nd row from the front in a brand new 2xu wetsuit I bought at the expo the day before because I confussed my original one, for Amanda's old one when I packed to jet set half way across the globe. Not the start I was looking for but I had total faith in my swim ability that it didn't faze me one bit. As we dove into the water (yes a diving start) I found myself in the lead group. After a tiny bit of argy-bargy in the 1st 200m or so I found my rhythm in the calm lake holding a steady pace. As I got out of the water I looked at my watch to see what time I did only to realise I didn't hit START at the start of the swim so no splits to determine how fast I swam only to find out after my race I nailed a 52 min splash and 6th overall. F#$%en wrapped.
Out of T2 with a quick transition I was on the bike. The air temp was only 13 degrees at this point so with a wet tri-suit I was a tad cold but knew the sun was going to stick it's hot head out for the rest of the day so embrassed the cooler conditions while it lasted.
The 1st 8k on the bike was a gradual but constant climb. Most in aero until the last 1k where I hopped off out of the saddle but rode to my prescribed power up the hill (A shy under 300w) as I knew what goes up must come down. Flying down the hill well over 60k/hr (69kph I topped out at) that's where I settled into my bike rhythm and started the 3 loop part of the ride with a goal to avg 200w.
Such a great ride course through the South Korean country side. Farmers were out attending to their fields but most were on the side of the road cheering you on and some waiving the Korean flag. It was A pretty surreal experience. The first loop we (As in the lead guys) had nothing but fresh air. The second loop was another story as the rest of the competitors started trickling through. By this stage I was about 80k in and loving life. Nutrition was on point, the sun was out, hot of course, and to my surprise only 1 guy had passed me. Starting my second loop I heard and saw my mum on the side of the road cheering me on that put a massive smile on my dial. Second and 3rd loop was a lot more congested but was cool flying on the outside of the road passing hundreds of other riders at the same time was a great feeling.
By the 3rd loop and around the 120k mark it was getting fairly hot but was still holding my prescribed 200watts which was mega tough to do knowing you can ride harder but saving the legs for the run was my plan. The last 20k after finishing the 3 loops was where I made most my gains. I managed to pass 3 guys in my age group but at the same time still holding power. The last 20k was flat and a massive headwind and straight as a ruler as we were on the open highway by this stage. Coming into T2 in 4th position and a bike split of 5 hours 38mins gave me a heap of confidence going into the run as I backed myself and my training knowing I could run a solid run.
The run. Boy-o-boy.
A 3 loop course. I ran roughly the 1st 10k all to feel. I felt great. I looked at my watch once in that time and it was reading 4:45 pace. I backed it off a tiny bit but was still feeling good. I didn't stop at any aid station though running through grabbing an icy sponge, cola and water.
This was all new territory for me as my only 2 ironmans I have cooked myself and walked nearly every aid station so powering through grabbing essentials like a pro I embrassed. I saw my mum on the run for the first time which inspired my to continue to run to feel. By about the 15k mark i could feel my foot injury poking its head out every now and again which I was a bit worried about but didn't think much of it as I was starting to hurt everywhere else regardless. Slowing down a bit coming into the half was point of the run and onto my second lap was where shit started to get real. Every couple of ks I'd check my watch and it was ready 5:15- 5:20 pace. A tad under my goal race pace of 5:00 min ks but thought, ok slow for a bit then pick up the pace. Uhh-uhh. My legs had different ideas.
By about the 24k mark my legs felt like concrete and jelly mushed together. By this stage I was walking aid stations and shuffling to get to the next one. Was a bit of relief when I saw Amanda in the distance (yep I lapped her. Sorry babe) but seeing her for that split second took my mind off the pain but only for a short while. When I was walking in between aid stations I knew I was in trouble. I smashed a gel and a bunch of salt tables but that didn't help. My right leg locked up with crap, hammy and calf, twice, but managed to stretch it out and continued to shuffle. Heading into the 30kers of the run I was in survival mode. My foot injury was here to stay, the pain wasn't going away in my legs and the finish line seemed a distant speck over the horizon.
Jog, walk was my reality and pushing to each aid station my new goal. Seeing mum on the final lap and knowing the finish line was 6k away I had one last push to the finish. Hearing the music at the arena holding a not so respectable 5:40 pace was all I could muster to the main stadium to the finish chute. Running to the finish line to the red carpet, knowing I gave it everything I had and mum cheering me on as I gave her a high 5 on the red carpet, i couldn't have asked for a better race experience with a run time of 3:48 marathon and an overall time of 10:25. 8th in my age group and 37th overall. Im stoked with my effort and time, well over an hour PB but I will be back for more.