Breakfast: Jumbo oats with fruit
Pre race: carb bar, carb energy drink, water
Lunch: Subway small roll
Dinner: shared nachos and shared starter platter (& hard earned beer!)
Exercise: 3.8km swim to start the Challenge Wanaka team race
I started off our team race, and I was feeling just fine, in fact excited somewhat. Until around10-15 minutes before hand, which is usually when I feel the nerves. Although triathlon is just fine, there were some unknowns in this race. I usually know my opposition so can gauge well where to place myself in the pack. I didn’t have a clue today, but guessed that the teams wave start (remarkably small 38 in total) would include some really good and some not so good / experienced swimmers. For that reason I positioned myself further to the right, further from the left turn up ahead but giving myself space to get away from swimmers if I needed to, rather than get boxed in with people who cannot navigate too well.
A beach start into shallow water is always hard work, dolphin diving etc to find deep water meant it took me a wee while to get the breathing under control again. I didn’t worry this was a long race, I had plenty of time. The swimmers around me disappeared off ahead. It’s ok, I’ll see you later I thought. The first and second turn were clear, then it was into the rising sun, which even with tinted goggles was blinding. I was catching the yellow hats off in front again, and having to navigate inexperienced swimmers close proximity. It was easy enough, the water was so clear I could see them all around me, under the water. This made it easy for me to know when to kick and when to sharpen my elbows! I got rid of the small group. Then could see very few yellow hats up ahead.
As I started the second lap I also started catching the next wave who had started, the blue hatted half challenge teams. Some were already struggling and one was hauled out right in front of me.
I had a few more yellow hats around me, under water their stroke looked less tidy, so I knew I could get round them in the same way as before. A wee spurt, a kick to get rid of the swimmer tailing me, stick elbows out to get rid of the swimmer beside me and I was away and clear.
All I had in front was blue hats, soak nagvigated all the swimmers ahead easily, the clear water making it really easy to gauge a path as I approached each person.
The last leg was again a challenge into the sun and I couldn’t see the buoy at all, but I had eyed up the exit last time round and roughly know where I was going. I also was being caught by the leaders of the individual half, who had begun flying past, just a little to fast to catch their feet, but giving me something to follow at least.
I exited the lake and it took me a while to engage my legs, I had paced it perfectly and upped the effort of lap 2. 1:18 and at the upper end of my projected time bracket, I handed the chip to Ben and off he went.
Ben set off feeling good, and looking forward to his ride. He completed the first leg ahead of time and we were hoping he had not set off too fast. We waved him past and waited for him to come by on lap 2. He was still looking good, and on schedule. However what we didn’t know was he was already having issues and couldn’t keep any nutrition down. I got a call from race control saying he had stopped at Hawea Flat and decided not to continue. This was most odd, I know that Ben doesn’t do that so I was immediately concerned for him. I had to wait for him to be brought back to transition, meanwhile they allowed Mark to start the marathon with a new timing chip to monitor him for safety reasons. We had no way of knowing his pace though. Ben came back shortly after, and after force feeding him sandwiches and water he began to feel much better. The medics all came to see him later to say they were glad he was feeling ok. Nice touch.
Mark started the run heading into run at the hottest time of day, but didn’t hesitate at all when given the option to not continue. Fair play to him. Became through lap one of two just ten min behind schedule, but looking flipping hot. Shouts of support from us, and off he went on his last lap.
We waited for him on the hill before central lakeshore and saw him coming up the hill 4:40 after he set out. It had started to cool down now, I was so proud of him. We ran with him all the way into the finish and crossed as a team: triumphant, what a journey.
Then he also ended up in the medical tent! He was ok though,nothing that more force feeding of sandwiches and water wouldn’t fix!
Well done TEAM MARBEL I am proud of you all!