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 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.
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.
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.
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 :]