Come back Queen snares 4th place in Western Sydney 70.3

Date: 27.11.2016   Distance: 70.3 (Half-iron)

For those of you who don’t know me that well, I’ve been playing this game for a long time. I have been the girl who trains 30 hours a week, who eats, sleeps and breaths triathlon.  The one who completes every session, rain, hail or shine, through sickness and in health. And I’ve been the one who would pick apart her performance and find every possible negative even though I might have won the race.  That was my old life.

These days things are a little different, if I get to train 12 hours a week, it’s a good week. I am learning to fit in training whenever an opportunity may arise and I’m also learning to roll with the punches.  If I miss a session because I’ve been up all night with a screaming baby that’s ok.  I no longer beat myself up over it. One thing that has come out of my current situation is the opportunity to see how this different way of doing things translates come race day.  Therefore I went in to IM 70.3 Western Sydney a little unsure but also a little excited.  I felt kind of ready, I think, maybe?

The circus (my husband, baby, bike, suitcase, pram, cot, car seat, nappy bag, tri gear and myself) headed up to Sydney on the Friday morning.  After we got our hands on a car big enough to fit all our stuff we headed west where we were staying with family.  It was shorts and T-shirt weather, something Melbourne hadn’t given us much practice with lately.  On the following afternoon we headed out to the Sydney International Regatta Centre to check in and drop my bike off.  By current Melbourne standards it was hot.  Sweat was dripping off me as I racked my bike.  I looked around, there was not a lot of shade. I have done enough racing in hot conditions to know that coming from the cold to hot weather and not having the best part of a week to acclimatize is not the ideal way to do things.  Though as I often remind myself when it comes to racing, I’ve raced in the middle of the desert, acclimatized or not, I’ll be fine.

I was told many months ago that last year the water was too warm for wetsuits to be legal, so I went in to the race expecting that to be the case again this year.  And it didn’t disappoint (well it did, I’d rather wear a wetsuit), a balmy 25.3 on race morning.  As always I went prepared, everywhere the wetsuit goes a speed suit goes too, just in case.  A speed suit that generally gets a holiday to Kona every year with one friend or another that might be racing.  A speed suit I have worn once, more than four years ago.  Fingers crossed it still fitted.  In the past a non-wetsuit swim would have freaked me out but this time round (the new me) I’m like sure, whatever, my swim will be a couple of minutes slower.  And that’s exactly how it panned out.  Other than missing the starters horn because was trying to pull strapping off my foot whilst treading water and having to do the entire swim with it flapping behind me, the swim was quiet uneventful. Its pancake flat, there are marker buoys for the rowing every 100m or so (that’s a guess, I’m not a rower), so sighting is super easy.  I swam on my own for the first 500m as I missed out on jumping on some feet at the start line, then I found a couple of girls going at an ok pace so I just made sure I stayed in touch with them.  8th out of the water in my AG, not a super time but that’s fine, it’s the placing that I’m always the most interested in at the end of the day and a top 10 swim in an IM 70.3 is a good result for me, especially when its non-wetsuit.

T1 once again uneventful, I collected my calf guards off my husband on the way through (long story but it would help if all TO knew the non-wetsuit rules), tore the rest of the strapping off my foot and away I went.

Going in to this race I felt the bike leg was the unknown. It’s hard to get out and do my long rides these days so for the most part I do my riding on my Kickr in my garage (watching Dance Moms or Keeping up with the Kardashians). So to feel as strong, fast and comfortable as I did for the first 2 hours of the ride, I was pretty stoked.  After 2 hours though my lack of long hard rides started to kick in. I slowed, cadence slowed but thankfully I was able to hold my head together (major issue in IM 70.3 Cairns) and just keep going as well as I could manage.  I kind of knew this time would come so I just tried to power through knowing that that elusive 2:30 bike split would not be happening this race (not a split that had even entered my head going in to the race).  Then whilst I was just minding my own business, doing my own thing with about 10km to go there was a left hand turn and one lady who I was about to overtake decided to go right! So I hit the road and another lady who was situated between me and the wrong direction woman. It seemed that I was heading over the handlebars but all I came away with was a scraped knee, some bruises on my legs from my handlebars and a dropped chain.  Sweet, so I got up and kept at it. Nothing like a bit of adrenaline to get you smashing through the headwind home.  Apart from the crash the bike split was a pleasant surprise.  I only got overtaken by one girl for the whole ride, who I managed to peg back in the last 10km, and it wasn’t until the 26.6km that I got overtaken by a guy.  I’ll take that.  Oh and did I mention that I did not see a single case of drafting for the entire race?

T2 slower than I would like seeing as I had to put my calf guards on.  Not to mention socks!

The run started off well, at least from a pace perspective. Bang on what I had planned for the first 5km, but it never felt great. Then the sun beating down on the long hot road with no shade in sight started to get the better of me and my pace started to slip.  Also not knowing the course (my ‘whatever’ attitude before the race) and the first turn around coming 20mins later than I thought it was going to didn’t help.  By the 10km mark I was just surviving, making sure I took in enough fluids whilst I jogged along. This was a little disappointing I thought my run was tracking along better than this (even though I had just had 3 weeks off running due to calf unhappiness), but on the upside I did manage to overtake and put 16mins between me and 5th, and I pulled up surprisingly well.

All in all it was a fun event with many positives to take out of it.  I’m not race fit just yet but I’m getting there.

Big thanks to my family in Sydney for letting us stay, coming out to support and looking after Cadence. My training buddies, especially one Mrs Z Ferg who I have cancelled on more times than I care to remember over the past year due to lack of sleep, yet she always seems to understand and is there waiting for me at the next session we have planned.  To the team that help keeps my body in one piece, Brad @ Performance Health Care, Bayden (and Bell) @ McKenzie Chiro, Paul and Alana @ Windy Hill Physio, I probably wouldn’t be able to get out of bed if it wasn’t for these guys. Wheelscience for my awesome wheels, I just sit there and hold on tight.  My folks, the no need to ask babysitters whenever they are around and of course Greg for everything J

CompetitorTimeCategoryCateogory PositionOverall PositionSwim BikeRun
Danae Sinclair-Clift5:00.20F 30-34420434:592:38:001:43:25