Conquering 70.3 miles

Last Sunday I returned to longcourse triathlon racing and completed Western Sydney 70.3 (for those not connected to the triathlon world, this involves a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and a 21km run). 70.3 miles in total – which I hadn’t initially made the connection to the event name 😂😂.

It had been over 5 years since I raced over this distance before my two little boys were born. The build up involved a three month training program, designed by my husband coach which was a highly time efficient schedule to allow for his training too and all the kids activities. There was a copy etched onto the fridge and if we missed a slot there was no catching up!

I had a few build up events to keep me motivated before the big day, the Sydney half marathon, gears and beers ride (highly recommend!) and Nepean triathlon which all went well.

Race Day

Fast forward to race day and family Matthews decided last minute to stay over in Western Sydney the night before so it wasn’t such an early start on race day. Pretty much all of the good accomodation was taken and we managed to find a motel 16km away. There was no family room available so we all had to share a king size bed! Owain ended up down the other end after being kicked lots! In a funny way, it was actually quite a special moment all being together before the race and it’s interesting what kids remember, after the race Ethan wanted to go back to the holiday home as he’d had a great time 😂😂

On the race day I was grateful that everything came together as planned and I really enjoyed the experience. I finished 14th in my age group in a time of 5 hours and 10 minutes (approx a 43 min swim, 2 hour 38min bike and a 1hour 46min run plus transitions) which was 10 minutes faster than my projected time.

In brief summary, the swim was a rolling start and with this being my most challenging leg I was happy to start in the third group back and not be caught in the white wash. Wetsuits were allowed which helped things with a freshwater swim and I quite enjoyed the straight course, especially swimming under the bridge and seeing the Olympic Rings (the International Regatta Centre venue hosted the Olympic rowing back in 2000). Then onto the bike which I was looking forward to and just get my head down and play catch up. I felt strong and held my power at slightly above what was planned and even managed a few mindful moments to take in the countryside.

Then off the bike and onto the 21km run and my legs felt incredibly stiff for those first few hundred metres! I then settled into a rhythm and it was great to see some of my club mates racing and the awesome support crew, a highlight being giving Ethan a high five. I found the last few kms a punish and had to dig deep, you could see the finish line and it just seemed to keep stretching out! I enjoyed the finish shoot however and it was great to see the boys although Ethan was most interested in my medal (which he then dropped somewhere! I had to practice non-attachment!) and the ice pops I got for them in recovery. It was then great to cheer in a few friends and sit down on the grass!!

The Roll Down

Before having the boys I had set a goal to try and qualify for the 70.3 age group world champs event within the next few years. With having the boys this was pushed to the back of my mind but with the intention out there to Universe I was hopeful one day this would be achieved. For this race there were 8 qualification spots available for my age group.

I was in two minds about whether to go to the roll down awards ceremony. One because it wasn’t for another four hours after I finished and the boys were tired from supporting and two because with 8 spots available in my age group I didn’t think it would roll down to 14th. Then two things happened, my lovely friends Margie and Tom said they would give me a lift home if Owain wanted to take the boys home and when I took Ethan to pick up my bike in transition I explained the situation to him and asked him what he thought. He said go and try mummy and that he wanted to go to New Zealand 😂

Decision made, I stayed for the roll down and met some lovely people there. The first four ladies in my age group took their spots and I thought there was not much hope. Margie and I were laughing how roll downs could just prolong the disappointment! Then it got to the four women for tri spots and a few ladies had already qualified at the Sunshine Coast event previously and a couple weren’t there. Some hope building. I couldn’t believe it got to number 12 and there were still two spots left. Myself and number 16 place got them and I was in a bit of shock. My hands were shaking when filling in the paperwork (and handing over the entry fee!) and it was a special moment messaging my husband to share the good news who was very happy. Margie and Tom were there for a big hug too.

In the worlds of Ironman, anything is really possible!

Some people have asked how did I do it with young kids and a full time job. The real answer is, it definitely wasn’t easy and there were days where it all seemed too much. I recall a couple of times I really didn’t want to jump on the turbo after a big day at work (having started a new job at the same time as training began) but Owain would give me some tough love and I’d feel better after.

During one of the low points we had a girls’ book club dinner to debrief Mark Manson’s ‘The subtle art of not giving a f**k’. This was the perfect timing from the universe with some of his messages including:

• What kind of pain do I want? What you are willing to struggle for is a greater determinant of how our lives turn out

• If you are able to not give a f*** about the pain your goals require, then you become unstoppable.

After this I got my head down for the last couple of weeks and just got on with the job at hand and tried to enjoy the last part of the journey.

I try to live by not being too fixated on the destination and enjoying the journey to get there. In those last couple of weeks some highlights included finishing Workin Moms on Netflix and starting the Crown whilst on my bike turbo sessions, having a few ocean swims with the Elink girls and my last long ride / coffee with the wonderful Tim Tam who was also training for the event.

So where to from here? Well the next couple of nights there were some Prosecco and Aperol Spritz catch ups with friends and now it’s definitely time to have a rest, enjoy silly season and do some yoga and swimming in December. And how could I forget the BTC beer mile in December, being British I think this may be my calling 😂🍻 We’ll then head to Jindabyne with the Elink crew in January to kick start the New Year.

With the world champs not until late November next year I plan to focus on shorter racing for the first half of the year before building up again for long course after winter (good timing!).

We’ve also tag teamed with Owain now in New Zealand for his Pioneer mountain bike challenge (Good luck team SquareOne!) and then his own 70.3 goals.

The boys have plenty to keep us busy with too with a Sunday filled with Nippers, a city Christmas lights visit and unicorn party today. Never a dull moment 😂

Well done to everyone out racing in Busselton today and wishing you all a great festive period and all the best for any goals you are pursuing. Anything is possible!

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