2 years ago IRONMUMS athlete Carol broke her leg falling off her bike, into the gutter. She smashed both leg bones in 4 places and displaced her ankle at the time she was training for Shepparton. Carol takes us on her journey to Geelong Ironman 70.3. Take it away Carol......
Now that I have recovered from the broken bones I have goals to chase and I am not backing down I'm going to give it a good crack! . November 2017 was when I decided that I would like to have a crack at a 70.3, it was Cairns in June 2018 that I had in mind.
I approached Naomi (AKA Nac) to ask if she was interested in being my coach, she accepted the mission with pure delight.
So, in December I started my training for Cairns, it was a fantastic plan and I got stuck into it right away. With my work, I am deployed to emergency events, so this was something that I knew that I would have to work around. Sure enough, I was deployed 3 times to remote locations where all I could do was run, so run I did! Naomi adjusted my plan to suit which was fantastic! At the end of December, I started to hear good things about Geelong 70.3 and started to toy with the idea that maybe I could do that one first. Naomi thought that it was a terrific idea, next thing I knew I had hit the registration button and I was signed up! Shit! Now I am committed. So, my plan changed dramatically and I was swimming, biking and running distances that I never thought possible, but I did them and felt a real accomplishment after each session. In the end, all but one bike training session was done on the wind trainer, I have Meniere’s Disease so I have limited hearing and my family have forbidden me to go riding alone, so if no one comes with me, I do it in the lounge room. After my fall I decided not use cleats on my bike shoes as I am still a bit scared to after my fall, one day maybe I will again.
February 18th is creeping up like crazy, not long to go now! Shit! I will have trained for this in 8 weeks, am I crazy?
I live in Sale so it’s about a 4-hour drive, we left on Saturday morning and arrived at Geelong and checked in to the sound of the “First Timer” bell…glad there wasn’t many people around for that one! I racked my bike and headed to our accommodation, now the nerves are kicking in and shits becoming real! I got to catch up with Naomi which was fantastic, she helped me with any doubts I had, I have earned the right to be here with everyone else, this settled the nerves a little.
It was an early night in a crap bed, sleep was minimal and the alarm screamed at me at 04:30, it’s time to rock! After a soggy few spoons of oats and honey – forgot the banana damn it! We headed off and arrived at the event, of course the roads are closed so the 500m trek with the tri bag to transition seemed to take forever! The atmosphere was electric and I chatted with a few other ladies in my age group, I’m not the only first timer! Funny how that helped with the anxiousness just a little. Ok, so swimming is not my forte, oh god, this is my second ever open water swim, are they sure the orange cones are all for us, that 800m one is right out where the cruise ship was yesterday! Shit! Our age group is called, ok, you can do this, due to my Meniere’s Disease, I have to try and keep water out of my ears, so I wear earplugs and a nose plug, I look like a bloody science project once I am all plugged up…. So off we go, the adrenalin is pumping, I’ve never swam this far, I can’t swim, I can’t breathe, oh god I'm going to drown. I taught myself to swim last year, now I wish I had of had swimming lessons.
Ok, get it together, pace yourself and do one orange cone at a time, oh great, there goes my nose plug, its ok, just keep going, don’t stop – Naomi’s words ringing in my head.
I re-group take a step back and start again, I breathe every stroke for a while and then get into a rhythm, ok now we are swimming, I go out to the side a bit so when the next wave of athletes come through I am out of the way. This strategy works great, not too much washing machine action for me. My strategy of one cone at a time works well, I finish the swim and get out of the water, I am feeling a bit tired but stoked that I did it!
Off to transition and on the bike, I now understand what the term “Technical” means, it means hilly, tight corners, bumpy and rough. I feel I had a good ride, Leopold Hill was a toughy but I kept focus and took it one peddle at a time. I used my nutrition that I had trained with and even though the wind picked up and was throwing me a around a bit, I really enjoyed the bike leg, especially with my new Giant Liv bike.
2 laps down and back into transition, I have to wear an ankle brace when I run so that takes time to fit and of course my IRONMUMS visor to wear, off I go. Oh shit, I can’t feel my legs, how the heck can I run for 21.1kms with concrete legs, man! I hobble along until the blood returns to my legs and I run as much as I can and stop at the water stations and take some water and watermelon, off I go again, I walked and ran as much as I could, I had it worked out on my watch where I needed to be at a time to make cut off. This helped me greatly, it kept me going especially when I got to the 16km mark when I thought that there was no way I would make it. I had to fight with the voices in my head to get over that hump, that last lap was a killer, Thanks to Naomi and a random lady that ran with me for while to keep me going. I thought I was coming last a few times until I spotted others and that perked me up. I crossed the finish line in 7 hrs 53 minutes with a smile and was so relieved.
Things I learnt – don’t doubt myself so much, Stop worrying about what other people think, Just keep going, don’t stop, enjoy the day, if you want it – you can do it.