I'll keep this short and sweet because this race was, and will be, well covered. This year I was privileged to stay closer to the race venue which made for a relaxing weekend overlooking the beautiful beaches. The weather was all over the place on Friday and Saturday but as it does, Mooloolaba turned on a show for race morning.
I had tonnes of fun on Saturday handing out finishers medals to the kids in the IronKids race with Sam Betten. I can't get over the quality of the experience these kids get. Apart from the distance the little guys get a very similar experience to the adults and it is fantastic to see how happy they are when they cross the line.
Photo: Ironman Asia Pacific
The rest of my day was spent between relaxing on my balcony overlooking the stunning Mooloolaba beach and the Lot 104 coffee shop. I had a tidy schedule that kept me on track with rego etc and I was relaxed and feeling excited to race at (near) home.
Pre-race was quite uneventful. Before I knew it I was on the start line. It was stunning starting the race so early and seeing the sun rise over the swim course. We had an epic field, which made for an exciting race. It was noted as the largest Ironman 70.3 field we have ever had in Asia Pacifc.
I have no idea what happened but I had a terrible start and found myself in the second pack. I settled in at the back and conserved energy. There was not much I could do to change my poor start. I was so amazing to be able to see the crowed on the sand and the rock wall from the back straight of the swim as the sun came up. Near the end I body surfed a wave and popped out near the front of the second group.
I had a good transition and was out on the road chasing down the gap. I have a new RETUL bike set up thanks to Nick Formosa and it really was noticeable. I felt so much lower, aero and above all comfortable. I have had the changes for a while but had not raced on it. I put in a big effort on the first lap and started to pick up riders that had fragmented from the first swim group. I settled in to a chain with Lisa M and Bec K. To be frank, the second lap was frustrating, there were a lot of athletes all over the road and it was hard to feel like I had free road, particularly when heading back to Mooloolaba the second time. I was super cautious. Nothing much changed after that.
Photo: Aimee Johnsen
I think around 6 of us came in to T2 together. I made an executive decision not to wear socks and rather get moving ASAP onto the run. I felt really comfortable on the run and ran solid for the first 7k but noticed a strong southerly at Alex and decided to back it off for about 4ks. I think possibly I may have sold myself a little short here. I should have attacked the section harder. I eyeballed Radka out the back of the course on the first lap and knew she would respond. I even had her within eyeshot. Anyway those are the decisions we make. I held it together and finished with a solid fourth.
Photo: Rebecca Ohlwein
It's amazing the strength of the women's fields now and I am excited to race in more events with lists of this quality. It is so much fun. It was also awesome to have such a high profile race so close to home and be able to experience it with the Red Dog crew on course. The club ended up Division 1 club winners for the day, which puts sugar on top.
Photo: Steph Hansen, www.wItsup.com