Some may have noticed that my bike top was the Welsh flag 😃 I had so many of the locals shouting out support for being Welsh even the official on the motor bike would shout prynhawn da (good afternoon) every time he passed me. As I finished the bike course, the volunteers were there to catch the bike and rack it while I headed to the change tent, on very wobbly legs.
I decided to do a full change into run gear and headed out to start my run 4 laps of 10.5 kms. So 42 km all up. On the first I found it really hard to find my run rhythm and would allow myself to walk just 10 steps when I needed to as my thigh muscles were just burning after the bike by the second lap I had found a run pace that I could maintain it was in my zone 1 so I probably could have gone faster but didn’t want to push it in case I got to stage where I couldn’t run anymore.
The run was stunning as most of it was around the lake and when the sun started setting I just thought “I am living the dream”. Every lap you collected a coloured band on your wrist so you didn’t miscount your laps. Once again the volunteers were amazing it seemed like the whole town had become involved in the event. Even late at night, you would have young kids asking what they could get you from the aid station ❤️❤️
By the time I was on my 3rd lap I realised I had made a mistake with the t-shirt I had worn as the chafing under my arms was raw. Luckily I had put a fresh t-shirt in my special needs bag so was able to quickly change while on course. I also had placed a headlamp in my special needs which came in very handy as the route was pretty dark once the sun had set. Martin was still out giving me comments, such as run faster 😬 (that was met with a grunt from me) however he was also communicating with Stuart Payne and would shout Stu said to up the pace, ok fair enough if Stu said it I better do it.
As I was halfway through 3rd lap Martin decided to go and get my bike so he could ride the last lap next to me, which was quite funny as I could hear him having a few near misses on the bike behind me but I had to keep running and just hope he was ok 😃. I also began to feel like I was going to vomit everywhere. Martin shouted, Stu said to drink flat coke which the had on course. I had held off drinking it as I thought it would give me a bad stomach but no it was like liquid gold, and I instantly felt better. Finally, I came to the red carpet with half an hour to spare. The atmosphere was electric with the support and music pumping it honestly felt very surreal,
I couldn’t believe I had done it.
It had taken me 16.5 hours, it was 12.30 at night. Once I received my medal a medic came and took me into the tent to be checked over. Apart from feeling a little sick all was good. I was allowed to go to the athlete’s food tent, which had a huge Buffett of hot and cold food, unfortunately, I didn’t want to eat anything apart from melon . I then began to shake uncontrollably which I understand is pretty normal after such a big event.
I could not believe I had done it, I became an IRONMAN in New Zealand at the age of 56 😃 I couldn’t have done this without the unwavering support of my amazing husband, Martin and my great coach Stuart Payne who always believed I could do it, when I constantly doubted myself 😃
Stuart has competed in triathlons from Sprint to Ironman distance. As a qualified Triathlon Australia, Australian Athletics Run Coach, and a certified Ironman coach, he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complementing other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments, etc.).
Contact Stuart at email@example.com
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