IRONMUMS Lee raced the Ironman World Championships in Kona here is her race recap...….
On November 10, 2013, a terrified but determined 36-year-old version of me stood at the start line of my very first triathlon. It was a sprint distance and I was wearing my brand-new tri-suit for the first time. It was bitterly cold and the sea was huge – I had swum in the ocean before but never in any kind of race environment, and in the first 50 metres of that swim I came the closest I’d ever been to drowning. I battled on and crossed my first ever finish line with a new respect for my body and my mind. She had no idea of it at the time, but that 36 year old had just taken her first steps on her journey towards the Ironman World Championships. And this is her story...
After a quite stressful start to my trip, where, after arriving with hours to spare ahead of my Melbourne—Sydney—Honolulu—Kona flight, I was told that the luggage belt had malfunctioned and, as a result, QANTAS was “unfortunately unable to guarantee” that my bike would make it to Kona on my flight, or even at all, in time for the race in four days’ time. The best they could hope for was that the belt would be fixed before my flight left; however, the staff stressed that I wouldn’t know whether the bike had made it onto the plane until I arrived in Honolulu some 15 hours later. There was nothing I could do but hope desperately for the best outcome. In the meantime, my plans for a peaceful, stress-free flight were definitely dampened and I spent the entire flight not completely confident I’d even have a bike to race on! Luckily for me, the baggage belt was repaired in time and my bike arrived safely in Honolulu, and later, in Kona. I’d dodged my first potential disaster on my way to the start line. Phew!
I finally arrived at my hotel in Kona at 3pm on Wednesday afternoon where a quick check of the race schedule revealed I was already too late for athlete check-in on that day, so I’d have to wait until the next day. I’d also missed the final bus into town to meet up with my Eltham Tri Club-mates Luke and Tarryn, who were also racing and who had kindly offered to cook me dinner on my first night there. A very expensive taxi ride into town later and I was finally at their resort, where they gave me the gift of a “normal” meal in the comforting presence of their kids and Luke’s parents. Luke drove me back to my hotel afterwards and even reassembled my bike for me, turning a potentially 2-hour job into a simple 10-minute one – the people of triathlon are indeed a good bunch.
The next morning, I set off on my bike commute to the athlete village – on the “wrong” side of the road and in stifling heat even at 6:30am. I rode into Tarryn and Luke’s resort again and tested my legs with a 5km run off the bike. I really felt the sting of the sun and a little flutter of panic bubbled up inside as I wondered how I would possibly run 8 times that distance in the full sun in two days’ time...
I was really trying to stay on top of my nerves, but there were j