Taupo threw everything it had to us on Saturday - sun, wind, heat, rain, tailwind, headwind, gale force winds... I tend to get quite psyched out by bad weather so was a bit stressed in the days leading up to the race but as race day approached it seemed that the weather would be fine until later in the afternoon which is pretty much exactly how it turned out.
I started the swim about 3 rows back near the middle and almost drowned in the first 200m. It was the most aggresive swim start I have been in for a while, even 1000m down the road I would have the occasional person pushing me under. The lake was flat and a perfect temperature so good conditions for fast swimming. Sometimes when I am swimming I look around me and am surrounded by people with terrible technique who look like they can't even swim properly - this is quite disheartening. This time however it seemed my fellow swimmers looked like they knew how to swim which gave me hope for a good time. My standard Taupo time is 1.04 so I was expecting something in the 1.04-1.06 range. When I finally got back to shore I looked at the clock it said 1:00.00 - OH MY GOD! And then I saw the man on the ladder fiddling with it, and then it jumped to 1:05.00 - hmmmm, I checked my watch which just showed the time of day and assuming we had started at 7am I had swum 1.03 - a new PB!
|Prepare to be dunked|
It started to drizzle after about 5km on the bike and by 15km I was deeply regretting not using my In Case of Emergency warm clothes options in my T1 bag. Lucky for me after about 25km the sun was trying to bust through the clouds and soon the cold wasn't a problem anymore. I had used a lot of energy keeping warm in the first hour and hadn't been looking at my power and as a result it was way too high so I tried to back off and used the tailwind on the first return leg to bring it down.
|Thanks T the P for the photo|
There was a lot of people around me on the road with a lot of people passing me and me passing a lot of people. There were also a lot of drafting marshalls and I saw a few penalties being given out but also a lot of people getting away with things they shouldn't. Ironically it was when there weren't many people on the course at about 110km mark that I was given a drafting penalty. There was only one guy ahead of me and I was keeping what I thought was a legal distance but I guess the drafting marshall disagreed. What happened next then made me question whether the drafting marshall knew what he was doing though... While he was telling me I had a penalty I had approached the start of an aid station and the bottle drop zone. I chucked my empty bottle while the motorbike was still next to me and he said "Go back and pick that up", I was like "Huh?!" - this time he said it as if I was a three year old - "GO BACK AND PICK IT UP!". I was very confused now. I stopped and unclipped and looked back at my bottle in front of the drop zone banner with all the other discarded bottles on the ground and a volunteer picking them up. I think I stood there for a few seconds not sure what to do. Are you not allowed to discard bottles when you have a drafting penalty? Is this some rule I don't know about? The marshall then realized he was wrong and said I could carry on - is that time going to come off my penalty?!
The next penalty box was about 15km away so I rode hard until then knowing I would get a 5 minute rest. There was one guy there when I got there and three more pulled up after me so at least I wasn't alone. I didn't let the penalty get to me - just saw it as a five minute rest before I tackled the last 10km or so into the wind. As I saw written on the back of a tourist camper van the other day - 'put it in the fuck it bucket and move on'. Maybe the worst part was seeing Jared going the other way while I was at the penalty tent - oh the shame.
|Getting my aero on|
|Come on leggies we can do this|
|Being broadcasted on the line|
I ended up missing out on a Kona spot by one place but wasn't at the ceremony because I didn't want to take it but still felt put out that I hadn't qualified. I would have loved to have been on the podium for my age group but with my fastest time ever I can't be upset that the other girls were faster. The 30-34 age group is ridiculously fast and next time I do Ironman I will have moved up an age group so will have to race before these other girls move up too...
Jared had a good race despite some mechanical issues on the bike and was my 4th place male counterpart in the M30-34 age group - such symmetry!
|We even had matching race numbers|