When I was planning the 2016-2017 season Wollongong Olympic was just a race to do because it was local and easy to get to. Also, when Miss 9 does an event I like to do it too so she feels it’s more like something we are both doing together. Initially Husky Ultimate was meant to be the race that I gave it my all, and Wollongong was just a filler before the big first Ironman in May. When I came down so unwell for Husky on the Friday I knew my goals needed to change; Husky was then just to complete and I would give my all at Wollongong Olympic in two weeks’ time.
The week leading into Wollongong was a very wet one. We had over 200mm in about 5 days and the ground could take no more water. The reports had always said that Sunday would be the driest day, Nope! They got the forecast wrong again! Surprise Surprise! I was initially worried about my long ride on Saturday and riding in such wet conditions, though I manned up and got out there on the Saturday and rode my programmed 120kms in absolutely sheeting down rain, at points in my ride the puddles where coming up over my shoes on the down stroke. Although it was wet on my Saturday long ride I knew I had to get it done because if it was wet on Ironman day or even tomorrow I need to have riding in the wet practice; I also had Debi Hazelton in my mind; the super mum doing the 100 half Ironmans in 100 days in Centennial Park Sydney to raise money for the red cross. She has completed these in 40+ weather and flooding and anywhere in between. Pure grit and determination!
So, Saturday before race day was relaxing being a local. After the drenching long ride, I met Miss 9 and hubby at the Mini man event in still; yep you guessed it, pouring rain! They cancelled the kids bike leg due to the being too much water on the road for the kids, so it was an aquathon for all the brave Ironkids that showed up. I then collected my race pack and it was home to prep for my race and get warm and dry for race day tomorrow. Oh, and clean up my TT after its thorough soaking through.
I woke at 5am and had muesli and an instant coffee. I never have either of those things before a race but I think because I was at home and not in a hotel I just had what I would usually have before work. It was raining lightly when I hoped on the Dino the TT to ride the 1km to transition. I felt like the queen just rolling on down to transition on my bike! Haha. As normal transition was buzzing with chatter and nerves of first timers, newbies and old timers. Rain seeming to be the main subject line. I set up my transition with a towel over it as the rain had really picked up now. I was even hopeful it would clear and left my sunnies with transition (wishful thinking).
In the time I was waiting for the race briefing I saw two girls come off their bikes riding them into transition, the roads where just that wet and slippery. I even slipped in a huge pile of run off mud on the way to the bathroom. There was just mud and puddles everywhere already! I also meet gorgeous Ironmum Stephanie in race briefing because she was wearing the Ironmums trisuit that looked wonderful on her. I wished her a great race.
I wasn’t nervous really it was only my second Olympic (same course last year) although I have done 3 halves’ now. I was just buzzing to be local and I found myself giving some girls that where nervous about riding in the wet some tips on where to watch out for in the road.
They had changed the swim course due to water conditions and made it 3 laps in the harbor instead of 2 longer laps going outside the harbor. I was happy with anything really; I swim with the Tri Club in the harbor every week so it didn’t faze me. I was in the second wave 7.03am which was great, I love getting in as early as possible. At this stage, it was bucketing down, girls where really getting concerned how they going to ride in it. And the hooter goes… It was a beach start so off we run, the tide was out so far, we had the dolphin dive numerous times to get some decent depth. Straight away I noticed the terrible water conditions compared to our usual clear clean harbor. It was so murky and I felt like in my catch of the swim I was picking up buckets of sand in my hand! Just don’t swallow any water was my motto!
The swim being my weakest leg I’m usually almost last out of the water. Although lately I been working on swimming harder for longer and a coach at Tri Club had said I would find I can probably push harder in the swim and not feel it later in the race. So as instructed for Husky (but now Wollongong) I pushed harder in the swim. It was a rough swim with some swell and lots of stray arm and legs. I just kept pushing my hardest. The rain was so hard while we were in water at times I couldn’t even see the next buoy when I tried to sight.
Before I knew it, I was done my 3 laps and heading into the shore line to get out of this gross water. On my way out of the water my running buddy Jess was there doing her long run in the torrential rain taking photos of me! Hahaha what a gem! Made me laugh and feel loved as hubby and kids where going to stay home if the rain continued.
I then went to look at my swim time and press “lap” on my watch when my beloved Fenix 3 came off into my hand! WHAT! On closer inspection the buckle had broken, I tried to do it up again but it wasn’t going to happen. So I would be racing naked.
I ran up into transition watch in hand. Got to my bike and removed my wet suit fairly easily for once. I started the bike leg on my watch before I left transition so I could put it in the back pocket of my tri suit for the ride.
In transition I had heard some men in the wave before us say “Great swim girls” In my head I was like “ great swim? Who is he talking to?” As I didn’t get to see my swim time I had no idea what time I had done.