IRONMUMS ambassador Belinda completed her first triathlon after an emotional 6 months. We at IRONMUMS couldn't be prouder of what she has achieved and are so glad that she was able to finish in style and a smile. Belinda tells us how the race went.
The weather had been horrible in the week leading up to the Mooloolaba Triathlon. Constant rain & extreme winds were whipped up from a low-pressure system off the coast & the conditions were looking less than ideal. Whatever faced us on Sunday morning, we couldn’t change & we would all have to go through it together.
The Ironmums Moo Tri 18 crew had organised a coffee catch up on Saturday afternoon after we had checked our bikes into transition. It was so lovely to finally meet the faces of the Mums I’d been communicating with over the past few weeks. We all wondered what weather we would be facing the next morning.
Saturday night I was ready for bed by 7pm. I fought the urge to go to bed for a couple of hours & finally got into bed about 9pm. My body was relaxed but my mind was in overdrive. Did I pack everything I needed? Was I going to get smashed by the ocean? Please don’t let me fall off my bike etc etc etc. All those things that go through your head the night before you race. I tossed & turned until about midnight & then woke up thinking it must be almost time to get up. No, it was only 2am. Blast! The tossing & turning continued until I finally gave in at 4:45am & got up & started to get myself ready for race day.
My tummy was churning. The thought of putting any food in it made me want to be sick. I forced a tiny bit down & headed to transition to make sure that 1 - my bike was still there & 2 - set up the rest of my gear. Luckily my bike was still where I had left it & with my transition all set, hubby & I settled in for the 2 hour wait before my age group started. This of course was agonising. Watching all the other competitors go before you was hard. Knowing that Lee & I were in the last wave of age groupers was not great for my already unsettled nerves.
Hubby & I sat on the break wall & watched as the first group of men approached the swim exit. As we sat & watched we could see a huge rip right were the swim exit was set up. We watched wave after wave of competitors being swept back out to sea. Some of the women even had to be carried out of the water. “Oh crap” I thought. This is going to be interesting. My nerves flared up again.
I finally found Lee & we got our before race picture & we started our long walk down the beach to the swim start. This of course did not go to plan at first as we ended up back at transition with no way of getting across to the beach. We turned around only to find that we had been followed by several other lost athletes. We apologised for leading them astray & finally made our way down to the beach. We gave ourselves a good 40 mins to walk up to the swim start. Luckily, we did…it was a long walk. But this long walk was exactly what I needed to settle the nerves.
We got to the start area & found Emma & Anthea & cheered them on their way. We jumped in the water for a quick warm up swim before we started. The water temp was perfect, but the quality was horrible. It was so murky & salty. The salt was so strong it stung the back of my throat. They called our age group & there I was about to start. I wished Lee a great race & I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths, gave myself some last second words of encouragement & we were off.
The first 5 minutes of the swim were horrible. The starter had said to us before we left that we would have times today that we would say why the “F%$k” am I doing this. That thought came to mind in my first 10 mins of the swim. I couldn’t see in front of my face & every time I took a breath I got smashed in the face by a wave & swallowed a mouthful of ocean. There were arms & legs everywhere & I couldn’t get a clear spot to swim in & I started to panic. I’d find a clearing for 30 secs and it would close again. I wanted to put my hand up & say, “right, I’ve had enough now let’s get out & go do something else”. I just kept turning the arms over, pop my head up ever second stroke to check my where the next buoy was & just keep on swimming.
Once I turned the second marker buoy I had found my space & finally started to relax. I found a nice rhythm & settled in. Then there were green swim caps all around me. Our wave colour caps were orange??? Oh no, the teams had caught up to me!! Nooooooo!! But then I realised that I had caught up to & was overtaking wave swimmers ahead of me. This made me more determined & I turned around the last two purple swim buoys & headed for the beach. I had the visions of the other swimmers from the first waves getting swept back out to sea & getting carried out. This wasn’t going to be me I told myself. Just get to the beach with your contact lens still in your eyes & then we can focus on the next part of the race.
I got to the breakers & one crashed right on top of me. I closed my eyes & held on. No somersaults please!! Phew…I stood up & I was right in the middle of the rip. I felt it pulling me backwards, but I stood my ground & started walking through it. I got out of the surf & started the run to transition. Hubby gave me a wave & a cheer & I was ready to get on the bike, but my legs weren’t.
As I ran up the beach to weave my way to find my bike my legs were screaming. This wasn’t the feeling I wanted when I’m about to use my legs for the n