8 Kids, Full-Time Nurse, Double Masters Student and recent Ironman finisher!!
IRONMUMS community Member Heather fills us in on life and her recent Ironman race at Cairns. As a mother of 5 of my own and 3 step children the thought of training for an Ironman is not usually what people imagine. I work full time as a Hospital Manager and ANUM in NICU at RCH Melbourne. I also am completing a double masters in business administration and health administration.
My husband and I run his legal practice in Montmorency and that takes a lot of time but we make time to be with each other training and that is our relationship saver. We are also with Eltham Tri Club.
Last year 6 weeks out from Cairns I was hit by a car whilst completing a big 5 hour ride/run brick session on Beach road when a car turned in front of me into a side street. Although I didn’t suffer any fractures I was not able to train due to bruising of my ribs, arm and hands. The fear of riding on the road took around 9 months to get over, even now a close car or truck I still cringe.
We went to Cairns both of us with assignments due in for University and flat out. My coach didn’t want me to race as I was not very well still not able to breath well during short runs, swims and rides.
During the race however due to vomiting and dizziness I pulled out at the 90 km mark on the bike section and ended up in ED at Cairns. I was utterly devastated. Disappointed in myself, and the what if I had just pushed harder and harder.
Bring on 2018 Cairns and I was just happy to be there in Palm Cove, when an accidental double booking of accommodation meant flying up my two youngest kids escorted by my beautiful friend Ruth Bloom to at least use the 5 star beach front accomodation. We have done 70:3 races with kids in tow but not IM and it is definitely more tiring doing the tourist stuff with them
Race lead up, I am the mechanical one who takes care of packing and assembling and servicing the bikes and Rob had new wheels and a few teething issues meant I probably didn’t have enough time to get my own gear sorted and was feeling very blonde and disorganized.
I had our bikes serviced but I had issues with my rear tyre not inflating to 110 only 100 but ran out of time race morning to do anything.
We met up with Ruth before the race and my nausea was bad and I couldn’t relax, I just told her don’t ask, don’t talk to me I too nervous. Even the race announcer gave me a hug at the swim start as I looked so nervous after kissing Rob for the final time. This time last year I had kissed Rob and cried knowing I wasn’t going to finish this IM it was horrible feeling as I had never doubted myself before. But I had promised Zac my coach that I would pull out and be sensible if needed.
I have had bad swims here so I was nervous in my new wetsuit.
It felt too buoyant and difficult to swim except breathing every stroke due to the swell of the waves. It was a long swim, ticking off each buoy as Zac had said to do don’t think too far ahead, and a whole group of us heading for the wrong final pink tin can at the end meant swimming 4.2 kms and a long 2 hour swim. Oh well I survived lets ride now.
I love the bike its my strongest leg but I felt nauseous and my Gatorade the new formula was making me vomit, so I mixed up having water and gel intake to try keep up my energy. I was tired from the swim and kept nanna napping on the bike -not ideal. On my final lap from Port Douglas felt my rear tyre might be low but the time cut off was looming and I was still passing people on the hill till the mechanic yelled out do you have any air in your tyres. NO I didn’t, two flat tyres and who knows how long that had been that way. We tried pumping them up, then the foam, no good, so we replaced the rear and sealed the front. My valve extender was loose and had been the reason it hadn’t pumped up fully and he pointed out the mechanic should’ve replaced my aging tubular tyres. I had even asked them if they had needed replacing, lucky I had a brand new spare. No wonder I felt like I was needing to push harder today than usual.
Back into Cairns I re passed all the back end riders and got back to where I had been despite all the time lost changing tyres and a few pit stops due to vomiting along the ride… slow for me but lets get onto the run.
Relieved as I rode in to hear Ruth yelling out Frangapani go girl (as I wear flowers in my hair) and my husband on their first lap of the run. My feet were red raw from my shoes, never happened before, covered them with Vaseline and got jogging. I did the calculations, if I run walk as my coach suggested I should be fine. No records today. Aim to get the towel and medal and finisher shirt. The signs saying you paid for this race and encouragement from everyone really helped. Great atmosphere.
During the run my hamstring which I have been nursing along since January when I did a cartwheel on the jumping pillow at Echuca and went pop in my butt had been very tight and hurt even more during my power walking but I still passed some people.
My coachs instructions pre race to me to dig deep this is my strength in every race echoed in my head. And I did. The motivation to finish with some time to spare was very strong.
The crowds of people were amazing. Everyone loving the Ironmums log yelling out great things and really spurring me along. Even the officials said I was one of the only ones still running an looked strong. Running is my weakest but I just kept my posture upright swung my upper body using my core and kept those legs moving despite the agony I was in especially after a dark path my foot slipped and I further pulled my left hamstring. I used my special needs drugs, four nurofen totally killing my gut but got me to the end. I had regular fuel stops and the supplies were always amazing even coke and red bull right to the end. Cairns really put on an amazing race.
The final run lap was tough but I brought home the last 3 kms so much so my husband missed me finishing. But he was able to have a photo together which meant the world to me. As he normally ends up in the first aid tent 😊
No food left in recovery but the lady gave me an apple……an ironman and I get fruit at the end lol. We went to maccas but couldn’t stomach anything and laid on the seats looking like a drunk. We caught a taxi who was either drunk or early parkinsons disease as he was stop start and rough but very nice. Rob and I nearly vomited getting out in Palm Cove lol.
I am so proud. We have pulled up well. We are both signed up for next year 9th June is my birthday 48 years old next year. So many goals before then. Cant wait to start another year of training.