The Unknown- Challenge Melbourne

Over December and January I decided to discover the unknown. I have never done a half ironman before but I was excited to give the challenge a go. With the decision to stay home and not go to Falls Creek this year, it gave me something to train for whilst being at home. I gradually started to build up the km’s on the bike to more specific TT efforts and longer tempo runs. Every week was a similar session so I got plenty of consistency to see how I was improving. I also added 3 days a week of gym at NSWIS into my program which has helped me build a lot of strength.

Challenge Melbourne came around a lot faster than I ever thought as I felt like yesterday I was counting down the days till I could taper. I was feeling good and had confidence in the training that I had been doing. I took the week leading in quite easy with a small Aquathon race on Australia Day. The thing that hurt me the most was probably the 4am start on race morning. The weather was perfect for us as predicted storms had blown over. The 6.15am start turned into 6.30am as it was so dark, no one could see the buoys.The swim was a good tempo for the 1.9km and I lead out of the swim with Annabel and Ellie on my feet.

The wind starting picking up and the three of us started the 3 laps of 30km together. I had a solid nutrition plan from our AIS dietician, Greg Cox who called the bike a rolling buffet. I knew I had to listen to my body and take in nutrition at the right stages of the bike. Within the first lap, Annabel had a mechanical so it was just Ellie and I for the next 75km. On the second lap, I
dropped my water bottle which at first I freaked out alittle but then I just tried to focus on the task ahead. The ride was solid and very consistent with the power and cadence I have been training at. The wind started to pick up even more and by the last lap heading back to transition, I started to feel like the elastic band break in the last 5km. Within that 5km, Ellie gained 30 seconds on me coming into transition.

A lot of people have told me don't go too hard in the first few kms. The run was 3 laps of 7 kms. Out on the winding trails and then back on the concrete path. It didn't make it fast but at least it kept it interesting. I have been doing a lot of run/walks so I knew if I needed to walk the aid station I could. The middle lap was probably the slowest for me and I just tried to keep form and focus on the process. The last 3.5 km, I probably felt the best and tapped out my way to the finish. 4 hours and 15 mins later, I finished up with a 2nd in my debut half.

I have learnt a lot about mental toughness over the past 2 months and what it takes to change distance. It's been a real positive experience for me and one that I will take plenty of experience and learning from. Thank you to everyone that helped me out with advice or equipment to get me to the start line with the best knowledge and equipment possible. Thanks to Sydney City Cycles for the final tune up pre race and Ryan from 3D bike fit for getting me the best fit possible. Also thank you to Stef Hanson from Witsup for all the pictures in my report! It's now back to ITU racing with my next one being Abu Dubai WTS in March!



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