Taupo Half Ironman 2014

The start of the NZ summer triathlon season is here! On Saturday I competed in the Taupo Half Ironman, finishing my racing for 2014, but starting to build into the 2015 season.

I didn't go into it with any expectations. I just wanted to enjoy the race and also see if my body had recovered from the shut down at Xterra Worlds and Augusta Adventure races. I had a big break after those races, so I hadn't really done any real training for this race. I am a competitive person though so I was going out there to beat everyone I could.

Race day came and it is probably the first time I have ever been smiling when the 4am alarm clock went off. With Clare, one of my athletes, racing her first half Ironman I wasn't really focusing on myself. Instead I was just trying to make the morning a bit more fun, as I know it can be a very daunting time. Heading down to the race start and it was pretty cold. It was clear though so I knew it would heat up soon enough...

The lake was pretty cold so I didn't head in for too long a warm up. And when the swim is 2km long you have enough time to find your rhythm. There was a bit of confusion at the start this year. It was pretty hard to hear the organiser yelling the time splits until the start. I heard the one minute to go call, but I could tell most of those around me didn't. This meant I had a great start off the line, with a lot of athletes hesitating for a second when the gun went. I felt awesome in the swim and swam my own pace until the halfway mark when I caught another two athletes and formed a small group. I stayed with these two guys, moving to the front near the end of the swim as I was feeling pretty good. Out of the water and I had a great run to transition. Unfortunately my actual transition wasn't that fast...something to work on before Tauarnga! Out onto the bike and I got carried away a bit early on. I felt good but I know I wasn't going to hold it with the form I was in. I caught another couple of guys and worked together for quite a while. Riding in this pack frustrated me quite a bit as I felt that I wasn't able to ride my own effort with one guy keeping coming into the draft zone, passing me and then easing off. We always seemed to drop down a couple of k's an hour when this happened and was upsetting my rhythm. I put in a few surges to try and drop the other two but every time I did he would come around me and slow down.

Chris Sanson was flying and caught us at about the 30km mark. I was happy as I was hoping this was my ticket out of this group. We both put in a few big surges towards the 45km mark but weren't able to shake anyone. After the turn I decided to just sit 10m behind the others and let them set the tempo. Unfortunately I didn't realise one of the guys was starting to crack and Chris had established a small gap. I tried to close the 150m gap but he was pushing and I was starting to fade. My power slowly but surely started to drop and I switched my focus to finishing the last 20km of the ride as best I could and get ready for the run. I

finished with the other two but had a slick transition and was out onto the run ahead, with Chris (guessing) a couple of minutes ahead. I was feeling pretty stuffed from the ride so settled into a comfortable pace that I hoped I would be able to hold to the finish. One of the guys caught and passed me but I wasn't worried at all. I just wanted to pace my own race. Towards the end of the first lap I started to feel better and felt good until the 15km mark. I had a plan of attacking the last 5km but I could tell I was starting to run really inconsistently. I would be flying, then creeping, and then flying again. That doesn't produce great run splits unfortunately so I tried to hang tough to the finish and hold 8th. I was catching Hamish Hammond at the end but didn't manage to reel him in so 8th it was. I'm pretty happy with that. Off hardly any training to finish in 4.14 and have a 1.22 run split I was content with how it went knowing that when I put the training in I will go faster! Next up is the Tauranga Half Ironman on the 10th of January. Hopefully I don't eat to much over Christmas...

Hope you all have an awesome holiday break!