Race Report – Mooloolaba & National Surf Life Saving Champs5 Apr 2012
Before I start this report I would like to acknowledge Matthew Barclay’s Family and extend my thoughts to them. Such a tragedy at Aussies. Life is so precious.
I am one for taking opportunities and challenges when they come up. I decided that my focus would be Aussies (National Surf Life Saving Championships) to end my Summer Season of Surf Life Saving. I have never been to an Aussies and I heard it was an event not to be missed.
But then, triathlon enticed me….It dangled out that that more spots had opened for the Australian Championships in Olympic Distance at Mooloolaba. It WAS only the day before AND it was only 2 hours between the 2 events and I wanted some points towards getting in the Australian Team for World Championships in Auckland in October. Merida had just given me a bike (age-group sponsorship) and I just couldn’t give up the opportunity….so I signed up……
So began my silly season.
I began training for Ski Paddling, Board Paddling, Bike Riding, Running (2km and 10km) and Swimming, Brick training (Bike/Run) and Ironman Training (Board/Swim).
Needless to say that I stretched myself thin.
It didn’t help that work was insane and Todd had found a new job and would be disappearing for 2 weeks to Sydney and Mum needed to go down and help out in Newscastle.
I must say I started out very proud of myself. Paula (my surf life saving training partner) and I got our gear organised for Aussies and I got my stuff organised for triathlon. Well I thought I did a good job! Found out that we didn’t provide enough straps for our surf life saving gear and then on Monday Morning I found out that I took up the completely WRONG wetsuit to the Triathlon. I took up the oversized old wetsuit. Lucky it was a NO WETSUIT swim or I would have been in TROUBLE! I would not have known about it until it was too late…..PHEW! Got out of that one (although should have seen my face on Monday!).
I had no expectations for the Triathlon. Because of my many disciplined training program I got on my bike once a week (maybe twice occasionally) and no more than 1hr 30min. My run – I have been working on speed and not distance so I do not think I put more than a couple of 10km runs in. Mostly around 6km. Swimming I was happy with and prepared for (esp because it was an ocean swim and then a no wetsuit one) thanks to the training with Michael and Cheryl at the Port Mac Pool with the kids. I also knew I had 2 days of Aussie competition so didn’t want to kill myself in the Triathlon. I just wanted a good result with some points and to meet some of Team PureSport that I am a part of.
Well I shocked myself to say the least!!!!
Swim – Fine. Not much to say. Felt like a surf race (run in from the beach). Ocean swim – sweet. I was probably still in a bit of shock that my AGE-GROUP had 2 waves. Never had that many women in my age-group before – FANTASTIC! Caught a wave in and up to transition I went. 2nd out of the water.
As much as I would like to look like a professional fast age-grouper that jumps on the bike with the bike shoes on the bike, it is not going to happen anytime soon. Just have not practised and not very skilful so put the bike shoes next to my bike (probably the only 1 in 3000 athletes!!!) So gumby Mel stopped at the mounting line and clip my shoes in and took off.
The 40km Bike Ride was flat and fast and the first 20km we had a tail wind. My sperm helmet stayed nice and still and away my little legs pumped. There was a constant line of athletes and I just focused on working hard. I knew a beautiful headwind was going to greet me at the turnaround. I had fun as the road surface was smooth. My bits appreciated it.
Came in with a flying time on bike. Was stoked. About 1hr6min for 40km. I reckon that it about the fastest I have ever been. Couldn’t believe it – my legs must remember all their Ironman training – they didn’t have much else to fall back on!
I did look slightly more professional and took my feet out of the shoes (and left them off the bike)…although I destroyed all that good “Professional Look” by Stopping still at the mount line and putting my leg over the bike. HAH!
I was quite stressed about the run. I just assumed I would cramp (I have up to now and I know I haven’t got the strength in my legs to push it so hard on the bike) and I know 10km hurts in an Olympic Dist race. And both things DIDNT happen. I took Puresport Lemon and Lime Sports Drink and ElytroLite (like salt tablets). And no cramps on the run and I actually backed off (knowing I had the Aussies). Ran 43 and half. I really want to break 40min in an Olympic Dist and this race has given me the confidence that if I focus my training I can do it.
Total Time 2hr16min. WOW! And I kept it easy. Pumped to see what I can do when I train. No idea where I came although I knew that would have put me up there (based on previous times). Gotta love LIVE timing (Thanks USM)! And soon found out I was first OMG!
I thought that whole run that I was lucky with this race. I am all for minimalist training but I took that to the extreme. So once again I have completely surprised myself and surprised what my body does.
Crossed the line, went straight to massage and then got a bag of ice and chucked the ice in 2 bags and put ice on my legs for the next 2 hours (Thighs, Calves, Thighs, Calves, Hamstrings etc, etc, etc). Stretch, stretch, stretch. Eat, Recover, Drink water. I really wanted to do well at the 2km beach run at Aussies. We had lunch at a food stop on the way. Would have looked hilarious. Skins on (Top and bottom) with clothes over top. People were staring. Didn’t care though – my focus had shifted to Aussies.
I woke up of the morning of Aussies and hey I was not sore. Go figure!?
The conditions were worse than Coolangatta Gold but still OK for my current skill level. Thank goodness it was flat at the Gold and the swell wasnt that big at the time. Kurrawa was looking after me! (The Swell picked up by Wednesday AM after our competition had finished). The wind and current was strong.
This was my first time at Aussies. Triathlon “fit looking chicks” used to completely freak me out (thought they looked so fast so it must be that they were)! Tri chicks don’t freak me anymore as I just concentrate on my time and my goals but was THROWN BACK at Aussies at the 2km run. Fit looking chicks that looked like they would smash me. Kept talking to myself (must have looked crazy!).
I also was phsying myself out because I knew if the run was on soft sand, it was not going to play to my strengths. Again, training was just too varied that I didn’t focus it on soft sand running. And I knew I was going to pay. When I got to the beach most of the beach was hard sand…so I thought sweet….but then an official told me that the 2km run was “UP there”. Well “up there” was about the only part of the beach that had soft sand…Bastards!!! How can they be that cruel to Masters. We have injuries and high risk of injuries I thought. They should be nice to us! 2km is a long way for Surf Life Savers!
So I had to suck it up and just concentrate on running. The hard sand was nice, the soft sand killed me! I raced as well I could have expected for my training. Bronze at Aussies – cannot believe it. (and I beat the skinny chicks!) Sweet!!!
Throughout the next 2 days I had a blast. Racing and learning. I have not learnt how to “RACE” in Surf Life Saving – Yet. Still taking it all in and looking around a lot and being amazed by everything. I also am used to racing endurance distances which does not require any fast twitch fibers or need to ‘get out in front’. I see glimpses of my little fast twitch fibers surfacing but they like to hide – they are very shy. So I have much to work on.
I just loved seeing the skill of the women in the board, swim and ski. Very inspiring. We saw a 60 year old just pick up her ski and out she went for a paddle. I so want to be there doing exactly that at that age! These women are amazing and I have many women now to look up to.
The Double Ski was probably my favourite event although we got smashed! Jumped on, was going well and then I could hear the wave hit Paula (she was at the front). She bounced out of the ski with me following close behind. Got up, paddled and then BAM! Got hit again. Carnage everywhere. Half the field were over. Up we hopped. Apparently we had travelled North quite a way!! U don’t really notice because all the focus is Get on the Ski before another Wave Hits!!! We got around the cans and came in. A very steep wave decided to have a play with us. We tried to hold it but lost. We were off, but I kept my foot in the footwell and kept the ski with us. I popped up and was so pleased with myself that I had kept the craft with us (Clubbies are always telling me to NEVER Lose the craft). So I popped up very excited. Paula, however, popped up and nearly had a heart attack. She couldn’t see me or the ski. I hear a very panicked voice “Mel”, “MEL”! I yelled back “I HAVE THE SKI!” I don’t think she really appreciated my joy of holding the ski as she was still trying to get her heart rate down after ‘losing me’. We hopped on and finished 7th.
The Taplin Relay was the race I freaked out the most in. I was the Board Paddler. I am the Board Paddler not because of my skill. Paula is an amazing Ski Paddler (and neither Carolyn or I can ski) and Carolyn is an amazing swimmer. So I am left with the Board Paddler. I have SOOOO Much to learn on the board. I was freaked out that I would lose my craft and fail the team. Team events are STRESSFUL! no wonder I go with the Individual events! Having said that I really love the team events – I just wish I was more confident in my abilities! I just kept talking to myself “Keep hold of the craft” and I will be OK. Do not be a hero and try something that is beyond my capabilities. I was last leg to (just to add to the pressure) so if it was close they would be looking at me to have a great board paddle. I had butterflies EVERYWHERE! And my prediction came true. We came in with 2nd and 3rd. Shit! I went out to the cans and we stayed in a group. Sweet! But then my skills came out to bite me on the butt and they got away coming in. So 4th it was. I have improved so much so bring on next year!
My other events 4th in the swim, 2nd in the Rescue Tube and 3rd in the Board Rescue.
An amazing couple of days. I came home to the age-group/Masters reality of 3 kids missing me terribly and hypo when they saw me, parents and an aunty that were exhausted after 5 days of babysitting and a house that looks like a bomb has hit it (lowest of the lowest priority this last month).
But I have a fist full of fun memories and moments!
Thanks to everyone for making my dreams and aspirations come true!