THE perfect Ironman race.
If it exists and I had executed it at Ironman New Zealand earlier this month then I’d be planning my training schedule with coach Mark Turner for Kona in October.
Instead I’ve been served a massive carrot to chase after finishing third and sitting through a roll down ceremony where my name wasn’t called out.
That race is my best to date and I was excited by how the day played out but one placing away from booking a ticket to Hawaii is bittersweet.
Despite the disappointment, I would not change how I performed on Saturday, March 4 and have banked the experience as ammunition for the next one.
A long time ago the phrase, “control the controllables” was drilled into me on a netball court but those three words together apply just as well to the Ironman game.
Reactions to unexpected events over the course of the day determine results so I attempted to control what I could, which was my attitude, within a flexible race plan.
Mark and I have only recently realised I perform best when I follow strict instructions and ignore distractions which predominantly means other competitors.
So, on race eve, we met on the shores of Lake Taupo and went over exactly what I had to focus on during the swim, ride and run.
This meant breaking distances down into measurable segments and selecting meaningful words to stay centred on nothing else but the task.
Transition was used to mentally process the leg just completed and turn attention to what was to come.
This was particularly valuable when I finished the swim over the 60min target time.
I rarely train to heart rate so I cycled by perceived intensity during the three laps on the bike, using numbers on the Garmin only as a rough guide.
Mark’s words, “Don’t be afraid to go too hard” gave me confidence to push without fear of emptying the energy banks too early.
When my legs held up during dismount, I knew I had the strength to have a good crack on the run.
I can’t tell you just how good it is to set yourself the challenge of racing an Ironman or describe exactly how much it means to share the experience with a very patient and super supportive family.
Ask some of the champion squad members I spent the 16 weeks of training with and they may be able to give you a better idea.
Each day of those four months, and especially race day, I felt incredibly lucky.
Sign up, surround yourself with good people and work hard.
It’ll change your life.