Thursday, December 11, 2008

IM WA as it unfolded

Going into this race as defending champion was very cool.
Race week was amazing, with so many people coming up and wishing me all the best. I had a few more media commitments this year, and I found it fun to do.
I felt great, training had been near perfect, and I was excited to be racing in my favourite location, Busselton, WA.

I knew that my main competition would come from Gina Ferguson and Lisbeth Kristensen. With such strong girls I would have to be on my game to regain my title. But I was confident that win or lose, I was going to have a great race. I would give it everything, and that’s the best I could do.

As the stakes are getting higher, my sleep the night before race day is getting shorter and shorter☺. My heart was pumping out of my chest and my mind would not stop thinking. But remarkably race morning I felt rested and ready to go.

Race day was still, clear skies and it seemed like we were in for a fast day☺
Game on! There was talk of the World Record…My first goal was to win, and I knew that to do that I would have to go faster than last year. I was right! I thought that with Gina and I pushing each other we might get near to the record mark, but certainly sub 9.

Unfortunately my swim let me down from the start, and I gave myself a 7-minute insurmountable deficit to Gina. I swam 57:35, to her 50:30, which was in fact the gap between us at the end of the day. I wasn’t thinking that I’d lost it at the time; I just got on with the race. Again I don’t think my swim reflected my swim training times. I just think I’ve got myself into a confidence lacking rut!

The bike felt great. I was racing on my new Kestrel Airfoil SE, and it felt fantastic, definitely stiffer and lighter than my last Airfoil. Scody had made me a race kit to match my new bike, and Oakley had given me a set of Endures to coordinate- I felt awesome. Never underestimate the “look good, feel good, feel fast, go fast” factor!

So the bike leg went quickly. I pushed hard the whole way. Kristian didn’t catch me this time! I wanted to average 3 x 1hour 38 min laps. I think the first 2 were very close, but the wind had really picked up by the last lap, to give me a 4:59, very similar to last year. I was really proud of the way I rode, pretty much entirely solo and well paced. I felt focused, strong and in control and I was confident to push hard and know I would still be able to run.

I was watching at each turn around for where Gina and I crossed. She was riding strong too, and I didn’t gain on her as I’d hoped. Lisbeth was only a few minutes ahead of me off the bike and I was confident I could out run her. There was also a young unknown, Kat Baker just a few minutes ahead too. She’d had an awesome day up till then, and I just hoped she wouldn’t be able to run!

Onto the run I was on a mission! It’s a totally flat run course, and I believed a sub 3-hour run was totally doable. I still do! However I didn’t manage to pull it off. Looking at my watch splits now I can see where I went wrong...

I took off fast. I had 10 minutes to make up, and I was going to give it a crack. Gina’s a strong runner, but usually not as quick as me. And if I ran sub 3, I thought the win would be mine. I caught both Lisbeth and Kat within the first 5kms. (Lisbeth ended up having to pull out due to stomach upset, and Kat had a breakthrough 3rd place in her first IM.)

I was thinking- catch Gina early, so that there’s no sprint finish or her finding a super-human effort to hang on to her lead. So I hit my watch at the first 2km marker and it said 8 mins 21. Perfect I thought. That was the pace I needed to give me a 2.56 marathon. So the next 2 kms I stayed at the same pace, and hit my watch again, 7 min 51! I was thinking what happened there? The markers must be out. What I didn’t realise at the time, and I only do now from looking at my watch, is that my first 2 km split included my T2 time!! Uh-oh. And I was trying to maintain that pace, wondering why it felt so hard!

So despite best efforts, I gained on Gina for the first 2 of the 3 laps, but faded on the third. I had heaps of people giving me splits, and thank you all so much for that; it drove me on! Starting lap 3 the gap was down to 6 minutes, but I just didn’t have anything left for lap 3. And I can see now why I didn’t☺.

I ran a 3:06, to give me 9:06:34 and 2nd place.
I was an emotional wreck at the finish! I was exhausted, and teary, and when I found out that Tim had won the mens I balled uncontrollably! I was so happy for him.

The atmosphere on the run was awesome. I had so much support from the crowd I loved every minute of it. The sun was shining and the views of the beach and turquoise waters of Geographe Bay were absolutely stunning.

I loved being IM Western Australia Champ in 07, and I really wanted that feeling again. The buzz of coming down the finish chute in 1st place is what has driven me in my training. And it will continue to drive me on. I gave it everything on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough. But I’m happy. Gina is a class athlete and she deserved the win this time, but we will meet again☺

My husband and ironguides coach stole the limelight this year by winning his age group- the first time he has been on the podium in IM- with another sub 9, 8:58. Like all age groupers he battled work commitments to get to the start line, but his consistency paid off.

For the first time in a long time I let my hair down at Awards Night! It’s been a turbulent year, but it got better and better, and I’ve ended it on a high. I now look forward to exploring my new location on the Sunshine Coast, hitting the beaches and kicking back until Christmas.

Thanks to my husband and coach, Kristian Manietta, my biggest fan, whose constant thirst for knowledge has brought me to ironguides and The Method. To my supporters and sponsors, whose belief in me is so encouraging, and whose help I honestly can’t do without, many thanks. Also the race organizers for having me back again for the 5th time; I love your race.

2009 will be bigger and better!


Kestrel * Scody * ironguides * Nike

Blue Seventy * TriTravel * High5 Sports Nutrition

Timex * BioCeuticals Sports Supplements

3T * Zipp * Oakley * TP Therapy

Aquashop * Compex * Hypo2 * Alkalife

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