Ballarat 70.3 - Race Report
It's Not Just About The Towel
***** Warning...confronting topic...and maybe some colourful words ******
Well...that was bloody hard.
But I did it.
Zero sleep the night before....not even 1 minute.
Certainly not in the time I wanted, nor with the lead up I would have liked, but I crossed the line. But was it my worse race... No.
THE LEAD UP....
With surgery in June and then a very painful recovery, followed up by Damian walking away from our nearly 2 year relationship, giving me excuses to make it easier for him that completely depleted my confidence and made question everything. Then falling ill a week out of the race which then triggered my asthma, handed a redundancy letter last Friday, and then running into Damian at the event holding hands only 2 1/2 months after walking away with his new interest didn't assist in my preparation. My head was a mess.
I won't lie...with all that going on, I have been battling anxiety and depression. There have been some pretty dark days, and I contemplated some pretty dark thoughts. It was only the thought of my friends and family being left with the aftermath that stopped me (It's ok....it's not a taboo topic and I'm actioning it too).
Turned up at 5:30am. It was freezing. Water temp 16.1°. Georgette and I kept looking at each other questioning what the hell we were doing. We were the 3rd wave after the pro's. Georgette and I moved into the water together and made our way to the start line. We had only just got to the start line when the horn went....no time to think about it...we were off. Overall, I was happy with the swim. Again, not fast, but pace was consistent and I was able to manage my breathing quite well.
Got on the bike. My back started cramping up around the 20km mark. The pain was excruciating - I seriously thought about pulling out. But then I thought about everything that happened prior to the race, as well as those who helped me get there and willed myself to push through it.
Going out of town was ok..coming back into town was bloody hard! I just watched as rider after rider pass me. On my second return lap I counted only 20 people behind me. Shit. Looks like another last place finish. Finally made it back into transition. Come on Meags...only the run to go. Let's get this done.
Headed out on the run. It was getting really hot on the course. I couldn't get enough ice or water at the aid stations. Legs cramped almost immediately. NO!! I was having to walk most of it. Every time I tried running, my calfs and front left shin cramped almost immediately. Almost towards the end of the 2nd lap, the "Bearded Man" on his motorbike informed me I was 5 minutes ahead of cut-off. Bloody Hell....I have never had that tap on the shoulder before. Started heading into the 3rd leg, my head going crazy...how will I get through this. I'm not going through all this to be taken off the course. Then my coach - Chris White started running with me. Oh, there is a God! He got my breathing more controlled, and had me run/walking, and stretching my calfs. Then all of a sudden, there was a woman in a fluro yellow vest sitting behind me on a bike. I told her to 'go away! I'm finishing this'. She said "yes you are...I'm here to escort you". So for the next 6kms, she, Chris and I pushed through the final lap. Oh no...the Bearded Man is back. Leave me alone!! But then he said "Meagan...you have made up time. You have 8 minutes to get to the next aid station". Chris stepped it up and pushed me through. By this stage, all the coke I had consumed was starting to churn in my stomach.
Bearded Man is back again. My god...what now! "Meagan...you have 11 minutes to get to the next Aid station....and the person coming 2nd last is just up ahead...and hurting". Chris liked this! 'Come on Meagan. We are f&@$ing doing this. You are going to catch that f&$@er!' Alrighty then! We started catching up to him. Bearded Man is back again...'Meagan.... You have 8 minutes to get to the end and you are about 1.3km out. Pete Murray is ready to call your name'.
I replied "Is Pete Murray announcing? Right...can you put a call through to say that I want a really big cheer and a big hug from Peter Murray?" Chris laughed and you said he had never heard of anyone negotiating terms to enter the finishing shoot before. Bearded Man got on the radio. A couple of minutes later, and 1km to go "Meagan....it's all sorted".
So as I passed the 2nd last runner, we approached the tents. Most had been packed up and gone home, but there were still some people there....and they were cheering!! Yay! I made it. And there was Pete Murray standing in the middle of the shoot with his arms opened wide. I got the best hug from him (he is rather handsome isn't he). Then finally crossed the line!
I didn't even look at the time.
I didn't care.
I did it.
POST-RACE REFLECTIONS & THANK YOUS
With all the crap leading up to the race and with the easy option to pull out, I pushed on. I may not be fast, I may not be strong, I may not be lean. But I don't quit.
So slowest race.....yes. Worse race....no....up there now with the best and most special.
I would like to give my sincere thanks to my coach Chris White whom I am sure at times must have shaken his head and thought 'who have I taken on here'?
But Chris, without your words of belief and motivation and of course training plans, I wouldn't even have made it to the start line. And to have you run with me for the final lap (after you had done your own half marathon) was so special, and I wouldn't have made it without you there. Thank you...you have managed my surgery, my heartbreak and my health condition over the last 6 or so months. You designed a plan around being a single mum working full time sharing 3 children. You have truly helped me through this last year in more ways than swim/bike/run.
To my dear friend Georgette Page who I later found out needed to be pulled out off the swim due to hypothermia...you are amazing. You rode with me at ridiculous hours of the morning, you ran with me and you consoled me during a very hard time. You are a beautiful sole and I am all the better for meeting you and being able to call you my friend. We will work on another race for you my friend and nail it.
To my incredible support crew...my mum (Lesley Edwards) and dad who have had to see me go through so many emotions, take all the heartbreaking phone calls ....thank you. You are always there and I don't have the right words.
Melissa McMillan, Anita Schwarzbauer, Catherine Cunningham, Ann Crockett, Robyn Green, Maria Callow
...thank you for being there for me, encouraging me, and believing in me. You are all amazing women, and I love all of you dearly. Thank you.
To Tony Ruddick & Kathryn Ruddick, Al and Allan, Thomas and Felicity....thank you for your support over the day....I'm sorry I made it a much longer day than planned Kathryn, your hug was very special.
Time to relax now and try to find me again, heal and move forward. Bring on 2