This was my first foray into longer distance triathlon.
I had only just moved back to Australia in early 2005, after spending 3 years living and working in California. Towards the end of my stay I had done 2 short triathlons – a small womens only sprint (800/20/5), and the Treasure Island Tri in San Francisco (Olympic distance, 1.5/40/10). After moving to Mildura, I got in contact with the local tri club and started doing some rides with them. I was talked into doing the Meningie half later in the year, and the rest is history I suppose!
I travelled down there the night before and then did a silly thing – listened to others and changed what I was going to have for brekky before the race. This is something you NEVER do. Needless to say it wasn’t a good move and my stomach suffered for it.
The swim in Lake Alexandrina was ABSOLUTELY FREEZING, and required a couple of swim caps. Uneventful, and I think the longest I had swum. Pretty sure I came out last!
Coming from the riding I was doing in the US I was happiest on the bike and put my head down for a good bike. It was 2 out and back laps with a killer headwind. I made up a few places and went into the run feeling not too bad
It had turned into a pretty sunny day by this point, and I had very deliberately laid out suncreen to put on before heading out on the run. Do I need to tell you that I obviously forgot it? Probably not. I ended up as red as a tomato, and very sore to boot!
I really suffered on the run for a variety of reasons:
- Not run fit
- Messed up my nutrition and stomach
- It was hot and I didin’t have any sunscreen
- Not run fit
- Fat and unfit
- Ambitions bigger than my abilities
- Not run fit
After 21km of running along the lake shoreline in blazing sun, I finally finished. Dead last. Waaaaay dead last. And yet it was such a small race, I can also claim THIRD IN MY AGE GROUP!!!!.
At this point in history, the next length up of Ironman was still just starting out in Australia. Ironman Australia was just about to move to Port Macquarie from Forster, and you needed to quality to race there. The way it worked was that every age group in every half race in the country had at least one qualifying spot to IM Aus – more if there were a lot of folks racing.
As luck (?) would have it, the ladies who came in 1st and 2nd in my age group didn’t want to do an IM. If someone passes on the spot it rolls down through the group until someone says YES. Well, the one spot for my age group cam rolling my way and I SAID YES!! At this point I didn’t know that IM was soon to become non-qualifying and this might have been the only opportunity I would ever have to get to an IM.
And the rest, as they say, is history ! That was the last year you had to qualify, so the fact I’m slow now doesn’t mean I can’t have a crack at IM. Unfortunately, it was also the last year of the Meningie race, due to water levels/quality in the Lake.