This was a different one, with the swim and bike in Frankston, and then the run from Frankston to finish in St Kilda.
Cold. The swim was in Frankston, around the pier area. The water was clear and relatively calm, but absolutely bloody freezing. When I finished I couldn’t feel my face and could hardly speak – I think the volunteer helping me in the change tent must have been having a laugh as I felt like I’d been to the dentist and had anesthetic in both cheeks! Aside from that, uneventful. I’m very much a backmarker, so I start at the back in clear water and just cruise through, trying to keep out of anyone’s splash zone. Having said that, you can tell pool swimmers from open water swimmers. On the last leg I was unfortunately in the same area as 2 others I called zig and zag. Both were slightly faster than me, but neither could swim straight and kept cutting across me. One each way. Slightly annoying.
Cold. The bike was 2 laps of Eastlink to Springvale. Thought to be a flat fast course, it was just that – for the pros. For me, nothing is fast except downhill with a tailwind. The open course with no real turns or sharp ups or downs was a little tedious for me. For this reason, I don’t see myself going back this course any time soon. I lie to race where I can enjoy the view (after all, I’ll be out there a while!). Going through the tunnel was cool – probably hit 80kmph on the down, and around 0.8kmph on the up. But it was also the warmest part of the course! I finally got my arm-warmers off at 120km, but had the wind vest on the whole way. I REALLY hate the cold. And it is one of the triggers for my asthma, so i was wheezy and phlegmy all the way. Yay.
Warmer. Buy this point it had warmed up a bit, and I started off running OK. I had one pit stop near the start, but aside from that my stomach was pretty good. The first half was running along one lane of the Nepean Hwy, which was a pain due to the camber on the road. A fair few of us ended up running on the foootpath, but this was only possible where there were no shops or people.
We cut onto the walking/bike track at Mordy, and that was where I started to run into troubles. Mental ones. I realised I wasn’t going to make my goal time. At this point (around 25km into the run), I completely fell apart mentally. I actually considered how I could “fall” off the edge of the path and slightly hurt myself so I wouldn’t have to continue, but wouldn’t be quitting. Being a point to point run course, there weren’t other competitor around. I wasn’t passing anyone, and by this point there was pretty much no one left to pass me. So if I was going to get out of the hole, I needed to pull myself out of it. There was no one else there to draw on. In the end, after walking for 8km or so, I pulled myself together and began to run/walk again. I found a better place and and managed to finish with a smile.
Mentally, it took me a while to crawl out of that hole and even get back on the bike. Maybe 2-3 months? But then came the email advertising entries to IM Cairns the next year. The location appealed and I thought it would be a good chance to get my head right and appreciate why I am doing this – because I can. To appreciate all the advantages I have (such as health and fitness) that enable me to take advantage of these opportunities. It doesn’t matter what time I finish in. or whether I’m dead last. The fact is I am out there, enjoying it and having a go. Challenging myself in some way.