Sunday 8 September was Sunshine Coast 70.3 1/2 Ironman. This was the 3rd year in a row that Wendy and I had gone up to do this event. I personally have found it a great way to keep motivated over the winter period to keep up the training in a bid to turn up in good shape.
All winter long after Cairns Ironman in June I kept pretty good consistency up and also managed to stay healthy and not get sick at all in the lead up which is unusual for me as most winters I at least get 1 cold that puts me out for a few days if not a week.
We left Newcastle for Mooloolaba Thursday evening after finishing work, we made it to Balina on the North Coast of NSW. There we pulled over in a truck stop and had a few hours of sleep and then got up early and finished of the Drive off. From there we were able to relax and get our accommodation sorted to settle in for the weekend.
Saturday Morning Wendy and I went for a short swim and ride. I went for a 20 minute run. Even by 10 am when I was finished by it was quite hot and there was a lot of dust and smoke in the air from a dust storm and bush-fires burning locally. I felt off in all 3 disciplines which was quite disconcerting. I felt constricted in my airways and couldn’t get a full breath of air in. Being the eternal leave the little big things alone type of guy I neglected to look at that and try to get it at least a little sorted and ignored it. We then went to an awesome lunch with the triathlon team that Wendy and I are part of called the Cupcake Cartel. There were about 30 people from all walks of life there chatting and getting to know each other in a great relaxed informal setting. The team owners who are professional triathletes themselves greeted us like we were long lost friends of many a year when infact we had only met over Facebook and online application. To be around so many positive people is so infectious, you can’t help feeling awesome.
Race morning it was quite windy from early on. We drove to the race at 4.30 am and realised today was going to be full of challenges that were missing previously at this race. The tightness in my chest was still there from the previous day but I chose to ignore it for now and get on with getting myself read for race start.
As per usual something usually complicates my race morning. This time a sticky valve in my tube raised the heart rate a few beats until I was able to get some assistance from the onsite mechanics in the start area. These guys were awesome and calm and helped settle me back down. Once my bike was set up in transition I was off to put my wetsuit on and get ready for race start. Mooloolaba is a great race because you are actually allowed in the water for a warm up pre race. I was able to go out for about 10 minutes and get my arms and legs going. Its a great way to settle the nerves a bit pre race.
In the swim itself I actually had a great race. I swam a PB by over a minute which was unexpected as I had felt my swimming had been more than a little off in training. I had good rhythm and got out of the water and saw the time and thought wow this might turn out to be a good day.
Halfway up the stairs coming of the beach I tripped and banged my knee a little bit but it didn’t really affect me at all through out the race. I spent way too long in there though as I tried standing to put my sock on and stumbled a few times trying to regain balance.
Out on to the bike I was putting out some pretty good power early on and seemed to be passing more people than were passing me. I realised it was a handy tail wind on the way out though when I was sitting up around 46 km/h with out too much effort at one stage. The wind was a large factor in the second half of the bike while riding and getting buffeted around causing a few interesting moment where my bike got pushed sideways nearly a meter in the cross winds.
At the end of the bike I was about 4 minutes slower than last year. My power was actually higher than last year but the wind really took it’s toll on my time. Out on to the run and the tightness in my chest came back with a vengeance. It felt like I was running along with a belt tied around my rib cage. As my heart rate lifted my breathing became raged and I had to slow down to cope. With reduced oxygen to my working muscles ,my legs ended up getting sore really quickly. With in 8 km it felt like I had already run a 1/2 marathon. Not long after that I rolled my left ankle off the side of the footpath and that really started to put the brakes on. In the end my run was 1 minute slower than last year.
Overall my time was 4 minutes slower than last year. But overall I am actually pretty happy considering everything that went on in the lead up and during the day. Upon return I used my Quanta Discs to help break up some of the inflammation in my lungs and can honestly say I felt a 50% improvement pretty quickly after putting them on. I have also gotten cold since getting back from the Sunshine Coast which tells me among other things I was quite run down leading in to the event. My bike power was up on last year even though I went slower. Given that my lungs were not at full capacity I feel this created a greater anaerobic load in my legs thus when getting off the bike to run they were more fatigued than they normal.
Of a greater importance this week was the loss of Danny Frawley AKA Spud. A well known TV AFL media personality. The man on the surface for the world to see was a funny, happy life of the party guy that had me laughing my head off every Sunday evening after the final game of AFL for the week.
He took his own life this week. He was suffering from depression and felt the only way to escape from it was to leave this world. Many are quick to judge when someone does this in the aftermath as most don’t understand how that person is feeling at the time. As someone that has dealt with depression I can only guess as to what he was thinking at the time but I will not judge I will only send love and compassion for those left behind and to those that loved him.
I am lucky. I am alive. I love and am loved.
To those that are dealing with depression you are loved. Please if you feel alone. Reach out and ask for help. Please talk to someone and allow their love keep you in this mortal world.
Please if you aren’t dealing with this yourself statistics say you know someone that is. Reach out, ask RU OK. Listen, Love and be there for someone that really does need to know they aren’t alone.
Until next time. Stay alive. Love each other and be safe.