Category Archives: work hard

Event Day – Ironman

Pre Start

Breakfast, getting dressed, heading into Taupo and sorting my gear in transition was all done in a relaxed and timely way. I felt calm and was happy the day was finally here. I got to spend time with my main supporters, husband Graeme and parents Janice and Barry. They were in for a tough day also.

The swim


The water wasn’t cold and I got in about the third row back of swimmers. A loud cannon boom for the start and we were off. This is where the washing machine begins and you bump your way in among swimmers all around the course.

I managed to swipe a buoy on the way past it (how is that for following the course line) but then I managed to swim within the end buoy and had to go out around it with many others that had done the same thing.

I had a little twinge in my calf with cramp so swam with my foot flat for a bit until it disappeared. The swim felt a long way but when I ran out and saw my time I couldn’t believe it (1:01). It was faster than I though I would do.

I was a wobbly mess getting out of the water and then in transition, I was so glad I could sit down to do everything and had two volunteers that had to pull my wetsuit off and pull my arm warmers on. They were very helpful and this was the start of learning how amazing the volunteers are everywhere on the course.

Bike Leg

Bike transition

On the outward leg to Reporoa I had an awesome tail wind so I utilised it and enjoyed that hooning feeling. I freaked out going down one hill as it felt a little too fast (later checked my bike computer and my fastest time was 61.7k/hr – never done that before).

When I got out to the Reporoa turn around, there were a herd of cows being moved and a huge dust cloud was sweeping over the road. I inhaled my dust quoter for the day and celebrated ¼ of the ride done.

My experience in a triathlon due to being able to swim well, is that once I get on the bike, I am constantly past by many people. I don’t let it bother me, as they usual go by quite fast and I’m just doing my own thing.

Until I had one rider go past me, pull in front of me and then not pull away. Along comes the motorbike officials and they tell me I’m drafting.

I resisted all arguments as I knew it was pointless and pulled into the next penalty box for a four minute stand down. I was laughing to myself how drafting is so far from my mind and here I am waiting. I’ll just call it a little rest stop from the head wind that was waiting for the journey back to Taupo.

The Taupo turn around was great as I saw my supporters in the stand and it was fast smooth roads. But then of course it was hill time again. They were worse in my mind than in reality. It was just a shame the tail wind wasn’t as good on the second time out to Reporoa.

Last leg back to Taupo, dealing with the wind and of course things start to feel less than perfect. Forearms not so comfortable on the tri bars, butt sick of being on a bike seat and twinges of cramp in the legs.

Nutrition on the bike was all about getting in as much as possible but I felt sick so often and was very lucky not to be puking on the side of the road. When I had 11km to go I started thinking about the run and got excited I had nearly finish two parts of Ironman (6:36:30 for the cycle).

Transition was interesting. I announced to my lovely volunteer that I’m cramping lots so am needing help. She helped me get out of cycling gear and into lovely fresh clothes. I’m so glad I packed little chocolate bars to sneak a thank you to the transition volunteers as they were brilliant for me each time.

Run/walk time

run course

I spent the first part of the run leg running and in shock that I was running. When I got to the first hill, I started walking due to the cramping in my leg. This was the pattern for the first half of the run course.

Not far into the run, a voice behind me said “I like your walk run pattern” and then I met Shannon, who became my company for the rest of the course. It was great having someone to talk to and someone to distract me from the pain.

On the second lap, we changed our tactics to walking four minutes then running one minute and that got us most of the way through. I was very happy to get the orange wrist band on the last lap knowing the return trip was all that was to go.

I was only running some down hills now and walking the majority. The cramping had gone from calves, to quads, to hamstrings and then to muscles I couldn’t even name. Of course my foot was sore (that had been sore for months so I was used to it) but still added to the grit required.

I had 5 toilet stops on the run which I took to mean I was well hydrated and had a blister stop too. It started getting dark towards the end but that is when my smile got bigger. Everyone supporting knew I was nearly there and cheered extra loud. I loved it and enjoyed soaking it up. I was glad I had the energy left to make the most of the finish.

Running down the red carpet to the finish line felt incredible and of course being announced “Kylie Lang, you are an Ironman” makes it all worth while. I have a medal to prove it!


I wish I could have run more is my only regret but not a strong enough regret to sign up to do it all over again (6:13:37 for the run and 14:04:21 total).

I was blown away with all the supporters on the course I knew. Thank you. Also those that supported everyone and read my name on my race number to say “Go Kylie”. Thank you. Those that followed me on line, I’m glad you could keep track of my progress and watch me crossing that finish line. Thank you.

A big thanks to my husband, Graeme for putting up with the training for the last five months and being brilliant support. I promise to return to normal now.

Whats next?

Two days later, I’m still a bit sore and swollen but feeling proud. It is time to rest up and support those around me at running events in the next couple of months (I’m so looking forward to being on the sideline). Ironman isn’t on the cards for me again as I have ticked that box but walking the length of New Zealand….now that sounds like the next big challenge for me :]

My Not So Smooth Journey to Ironman

ironman symbol

Decision Time

Making the decision to sign up to Ironman was a scary time. I had just come off two big challenges – the Tarawera Ultramarathon 60 km run and the Oxfam Trailwalker 100 km walk so I knew I could do the training and had the mental strength.

My main concern was that I had a holiday booked for six weeks in South America and when I got back from that, there would only be five months to go. So in reality I would have only five months of training to do an Ironman – was that enough?

Pre-holiday Training

Prior to my holiday, I did keep my fitness up but minimally. A lot of training was done inside due to the weather. The pressure to train wasn’t there as the holiday loomed.

The start of my Ironman journey included spending a lot of money. Entry to the event isn’t cheap and then the amount of gear that is required is huge. You can do the basics but it also helps to have a wind trainer, wet suit, padded bike shorts and a camel back. Another cost is the nutrition – gels and drink supplements.

Training in June had work dominating with it being the longest hours and the hardest I have ever worked. I also got run down and sick so the training went out the window. I knew I was going backwards and then went on holiday till the end of September and went backwards some more.

Getting back into it, after the holiday

Astrid Gaston South America

I had a great time on holiday but ate and drank too much. I put on four kilograms and lost most of my fitness. The first two weeks after the holiday were all about getting back into moving the body and the routine of training each day again.

In all honesty it was very hard and a time of feeling negative and being mad at myself for entering Ironman. I kept asking what was I thinking??? It was a horrible feeling to be starting at the beginning again and only have five months to go. I went through a really negative buzz because everything I did was hard and I felt so unfit.

Into the swing of things

When I was three weeks back into training I felt a lot better – tired and still struggling but coping with the training. The gear was mostly sussed with only a wetsuit to go. The bike was getting more comfortable. Eight weeks until I do my first half Ironman – now that is scary.

Moaning Time!

I’m feeling really deflated that the weight is not falling off me after the travel with all the training I am doing. I wish it would just hurry up and happen – I bet I sound like all spoilt brats that want things right now! I guess I would like a little bit of progress just to keep me motivated. I feel like I am putting in the work so I should get some benefits!!!

I wish someone had told me how tiring it is training for Ironman. I don’t know how I am going to handle being tired for four months straight. It is a constant feeling of having no energy and no zing to get up and do anything else. It also zaps you mentally so you aren’t functioning in that area either. It is like you are there but the lights are on dim.

One of my training weekends, I did a three hour ride but later found out two others doing Ironman did a six hour ride so I felt really far behind them. I keep feeling everyone is miles ahead of me in the training stakes but what I need to do is concentrate on my achievements.

This is one of the things you have to learn about the training process – I am not to worry about what everyone else is doing and just focus on myself. My programme suits me and the time I have to build up.

Being Positive

I think I have been feeling so tired lately and haven’t really been looking for small goals to achieve to keep me feeling positive. I don’t even think, I celebrated achieving a quarter Ironman enough from last weekend. As really that was a first for me, doing all that distance joined together. Also a first, for me, swimming in my new wet suit. I should be proud of myself for completing it.

Injury Time

At exactly 1 hour 30 into my run, my right calf made me stop running – pain and it wouldn’t let me start again so I had a 25 minute walk home. I spent the rest of the day hobbling and I massaged my calf and my left sole as that was pretty sore too.

That night I was meant to run but my heel was still very sore, limping sore. My husband and I went grocery shopping and as we drove up the drive home I began laughing hysterically as I realised in 11 days I have to do a half Ironman and I can’t even walk properly. I can’t think about it too much as I am scared and can’t comprehend pulling out or not being able to run. I think I need therapy!!!

Saturday 14th December Taupo Half Ironman

Before Taupo Half Ironman

Up early 4.45 am and eating breakfast. Off down to get my gear into transition as it is only open from 5a m until 6 am. I taped on some gels to my tri-bars and that worked really well. For the swim, I got in amongst the swimmers and sort of second in line. I did get hit around a bit but I did plenty of hitting myself.

It was easier to judge myself off the other swimmers than look up as couldn’t really see the bouys. I didn’t really enjoy the swim as I couldn’t judge my pace and my wetsuit was only the second time I had worn it. It actually rubbed on my neck which I didn’t find out until later.

I ended up doing the swim in 33.34 which is about the same time I would do that distance in a pool. The run from the water up to the bike transition is really long and up stairs. Luckily they put down fake grass to go on. I got passed by heaps of people but didn’t care.

In transition I couldn’t get my wetsuit off the bottom of my legs. Frustrating! All else went well. The first part of the bike was hills so this was pretty hard and I had heaps of people pass me. After that though the course was awesome with lots of flat and small hills.

I spent a lot of time on my tri bars and felt like I had a tail wind out but when I turned around there was no wind so hooned back again. It was great having the turn around to see who was in front of me and who was behind. I loved the drop zone where you can chuck all your rubbish and pick up fresh water or sports drink. The volunteers are great, running beside you.

Probably in the last 10 km of the cycle I noticed my legs but could still push it.  I was really happy as I ended up taking 3 hours for the 90 km. I thought I would do 3 hours 30.

Transition 2 went smoothly and I was in and out within 2 mins. I found I was puffing heaps and couldn’t get my breathing under control. It was quite stressful. I managed probably half a kilometer and then my right calf felt like it was going to go ping. I stopped and walked and it was painful and felt like I was going to do damage.

I made a tough decision and hobbled back to tell officials I had pulled out. Felt yuck! Hard to walk after that and hard to deal with the emotions of not completing.

I did learn a lot in what I did do though so have to be thankful for that.

Saturday 4th January Tauranga Half Ironman (time to improve from the last one)

Up at 4.45 am which is hard work. I got transition sussed, joined a port-a-loo cue and then put on the wetsuit. The swim was salty and I caught up to the men so had to swim through them. I kind of cruised a bit and didn’t have any rubbing of my wetsuit this time. Same time as the last swim 34 minutes.

The transition went well and I got my wetsuit off ok. The cycle leg I went out fast and kept above 30 km/hr and kept it up. There were a couple of turn around that slowed things. I enjoyed the drop zones again. I pushed hard and went under 3 hours just – 2 hours 58 and then only a couple of minutes in transition.

Now for the run….oh no! The pain in my foot was straight away so it was trying to run normally and then run through the pain. It was hard, I wont deny it but I focused on keeping moving and walking the fuel stations and the hills around the mount. It got me through and I ended up doing 2 hours 22 which isn’t that bad for my running.

So all together I did 6 hours and 19 seconds. It would have been nice to go under 6 hours but who really cares, I had made it.

Half Ironman Medal

Long Training Sessions

On Sunday 19th January I did a 5 hour bike ride. There was some good wind which has been normal for cycle training. I got a sore butt and everything else held up. I didn’t have enough food but drank plenty. I played mental games the whole time and did congratulate myself at every mile stone. Like wicked 50 km, yeah 2 hours down or sticking to 30 km/hr. Time does eventually pass but it is such a long time on a bike.

This is becoming my most common thought: I don’t feel like I got much done today! The days go so fast and fitting in training takes so much time and energy. I find it hard to concentrate as I am so tired sometimes.

Four weeks to go until Ironman. Holy Moley!!!

Oh no! Not more injury

On Friday 7th February I started off with a 1 hour 30 mins bike ride. It was windy as usual but ok. Then I got in my running gear with camel back and headed to the forest. I felt terrible to start with and had my sore foot but then got into it and chugged along at a good pace.

I had done about 6+km and all of a sudden I was flying and had a long fall to the ground on rocks and dust. I didn’t know it was coming at all, not even sure what I tripped on. I rolled over and saw a big gash in my right shin. My hands were burning but not cut up and my elbow was grazed. I grabbed a tissue to mop the blood – not much as it was a dent wound. I was completely covered in dust.

Two ladies walking their dogs came across me and one gave me a ride home. I managed a shower and got Mum to take me to Lakes Care. There was a long wait there but eventually I got cleaned up by a lovely nurse. She had to localise numb the area so she could scrub the wound with a brush and get any dirt out. She then gave me stitches and bandaged me up. I hobbled out. It was couch time for the rest of the day.

Melt Down Time

I got very upset about not being able to walk and having Ironman in just over 2 weeks. I really have taken on a hard challenge and now it is harder because of my sore foot and harder again from my stitches in my leg. I felt emotional as I’m finding it hard enough training for Ironman without the need for extra setbacks.

Two Weeks To Go

I had a four day celebration for my 40th birthday. My brother and sister-in-law visited from Australia so I ate heaps and drank lots of alcohol and got not much sleep. Not the best in the lead up during tapering time.

Into the last week

I have spent the last two days feeling terrible and have a can’t be bothered feeling. Something happened on Tuesday though that made me realise I had energy and some zing to me. I really needed this boost.

Reading through the race guidelines has got me amped. Ironman is getting really close now!!!! Three days to go and I’m heading to Taupo tomorrow. All focus is on Saturday and I am looking forward to enjoying the day.

I am also looking forward to Sunday when it is all over (I don’t think I’ll be walking much) and hopefully I will have achieved my goal of completing Ironman.

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So what is your big challenge for 2014?


My big challenge for 2014

One of my challenges this year is to complete Ironman on Saturday the 1st of March. For those of you who don’t know what Ironman is, brace yourself, it is a 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km cycle and then finished off with a 42.2km run.

So an Ironman is not for the faint-hearted. It is actually for those that are a little insane and those that like to set goals that are so big they are scared by them.

Why I enter events

I grew up being a swimmer and in my adult years I got into running. I was never any good or very fast but it kept me fit and helped me not put on weight. Well, more likely, helped me justify my love of cakes and desserts.

I have run a few half marathons and didn’t really enjoy them. I never trained enough sessions or for long enough time frame so have found them ok to start with and then at around 15km I had had enough. I could always be found saying afterwards, never again!

In 2012, I forgot this rule and signed up to do my first marathon. I joined a local running club, Lakecity Athletics and found out the fun of running with a group that has a common goal. It is such a great distraction to talk to others while running. I wouldn’t be looking at my watch all the time and I wouldn’t notice my puffing so much.

I have run a marathon twice now and I didn’t really enjoy them either. So now I’m wondering why I do this to myself? The answer is I am not just about the end goal. I benefit from the journey and the learning along the way.

What I have learned from running

These types of goals are not just about the event day, they are about many steps that grow over time to deliver you to the finish. It is all about following those steps in order, to get you to the end.

For my running history something has always gone wrong toward the end, mainly injury and then I miss some of the final crucial steps. But I’m still signed up to the challenge so still run at the event. I guess that is why I keep going back for more so I get it right eventually. Maybe some day I will.

Have you done any event where you have had the perfect day?

Or have you had a not so perfect lead up like me?

Please leave your comments below, I’d love to hear your story.

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Everyone must have a job!

Everyone must have a job!

Did you know that a common belief that is shared by most and is an unwritten rule is that you must have a job? You will understand what I mean by the way when you first meet someone they ask you what you do (and they don’t mean for leisure) and then define you by that.

When you don’t have an answer to this question, as I do at the moment, people don’t quite know what to do. I am messing with their belief that everyone must have a job.

I have had the sympathy look, when they know that they couldn’t survive without their job so can not imagine I can. They are feeling sorry for me and are thankful that they’re not in my shoes.

I have had the “are you crazy” look. It is so normal to go to work everyday that it is frowned upon to be different.

I have told people I have resigned from my job and they question what job am I going to or am I looking for work. They tell me something will come up for me. They think they are being supportive and some of them may even worry about me not having a job when they have a moment to ponder.

I have had the “I am so jealous” comment. This is from people who aren’t crazy about their jobs and love the thought of leaving but never will as they are stuck in the living from one pay check to the next. They would never dream of leaving.

I have had the good on you comment. This I take two ways as I know some people know me well and know I do things that others don’t do. But also there is the under tone of that is great for you, you must have a rich husband or a large bank account.

I must confess I have a lie I am telling others when I have this lack of job conversation. I am telling them I am trying new ventures and I have 12 months to make them work and if they don’t I’ll return to the work force and get a real job. On this matter I am completely lying.

I’ve been out two weeks and I know I’m never going back. I have never worked so hard these last two weeks but it has been on what I want to do. It has been when and where I want to. I have fit in the other areas of my life that I want so I am training, cooking and being social. This lifestyle is for me and in 12 months a real job wont even be on my radar.