On Sunday the 12th of June I raced in the Ironman Asia Pacific Championships in Cairns. A great deal of preparation in the months prior had gone in to ensuring I was physically and mental prepared for the day. I came from an endurance sporting background, having rowed at a national level in my youth. I transitioned into long distance triathlon as a means to continue my competitive pursuits and engage in something challenging but highly rewarding.
I have competed in many half Ironman distance races and was encouraged to give the full distance a go by my training partners; Tom Clarke, Marcus Albiston, Michael Boffa & Georgia Stott, all of whom are high level amateur athletes. We have completed hundreds of hours training together at ridiculous hours in the morning and sometimes in horrendous weather conditions. Some may argue that’s what makes it an effort just get to the start line.
Anyone who has raced Ironman will understand that so much of racing is about training smart. Over the last six months especially I have learnt what that is. I didn’t realise how much of the training and event preparation was understanding concepts that now make so much sense to me and appear so logical. From training, nutrition, recovery, work, social and mental balance, it’s all connected. It is getting these right, combined with having the support off the training track, which drives your success.
The swim portion of the race started at Palm Cove some 30 minutes north of Cairns by car. It was two 1.9km rectangular loops off the beach. Conditions were pretty rough and wild. The wind whipped up quite a chop and many competitors had a serious look of concern on their face before the start. We wished each other well and the next thing you know, we were off. I was fortunate to have a clean swim and came out of the water in a strong position.
The second leg was the ride. The course took competitors up the Captain Cook Highway to Port Douglas before returning to Wangetti, back in to Port Douglas and then finally into Cairns for the finish of the 180km’s. The wet and windy conditions combined with the exposed course and humidity made the ride really tough.
The final leg was a three lap, 42.2km run around the Cairns Esplanade. It was great to see so many people out in force enjoying the exciting atmosphere and cheering on all manner of participants. This was an especially difficult time for many including myself as fatigue and exhaustion really began to play a part. I was fortunate enough to have a fantastic support crew up in Cairns supporting my team mates and I along the run. I can’t thank them enough as it really makes a difference when you are deep into a marathon and struggling, having just rode 180km’s and swam 3.8km’s.
The event was well organised and I would like to thank the volunteers who manned the aid stations all day. A special mention must go the team in the Richmond office especially, but all the staff at Income Solutions who encouraged and supported my endeavor. Overall the experience was highly rewarding and one I will never forget.