Helen’s Ironman Experience

Saturday, 3 March 2018 – IRONMAN NEW ZEALAND, Taupo

Trying to write this event report still seems somewhat surreal. After three consecutive attempts to officially finish an ultra-distance triathlon – the first being Challenge Wanaka in 2016, NZ Ironman in 2017, and back at NZ Ironman this year – I finally officially finished.

The last 12 months of training has had a few hiccups – mostly due to injury and sickness -from flu(s) to achilles tendonitis to nearly taking the top off my finger in a silly bike crash. In saying that outside of these the rest of the time I felt great, on-track and going well.

One of the best things I learnt was to not get flustered or upset when things didn’t go to plan.

I also had the benefit of nutritionist advice in the six months leading up to Race Day. This is a very crucial thing.  In fact some call it the 4th discipline, as this was an area I had struggled with previously.

I headed up to Taupo on Tuesday before IMNZ. Given all the road works on the way heading north, I’m glad I wasn’t in a rush. I really enjoyed having the little bit of extra time to get settled in and start sorting things through.

This year there was the opportunity to go for a 5km run with one of the pros – Laura Siddall – thanks to Hoka One One and Women for Tri on the Wednesday morning. That was such a cool thing, fairly low key, but really enjoyable. This was then followed up by a breakfast and chat with four amazing women – Laura Siddall, Jocelyn MacCauley, Julie Moss and Sam Bradley (Warriner). It was really well run, casual and real. I got to ask a question of them – “what was their favourite stretch” to my surprise they all said they didn’t really do any – Sam Bradley does do some pilates, and Julie Moss has been practicing yoga for a while but Jocelyn and Laura did a lot of strength and core work.

Later in the day I did a gentle 30 minute swim in the lake from in front of the yacht club around where we were due to start on Saturday. The water was a lovely temperature and so clear and calm, even though it was a tad cloudy. Fingers were crossed that it would be like this on race day.

Thursday I did some stretching and rolling before heading down to registration.  It only took an hour to get through and along the way I met up with Shirley Day (#100DaysofTri machine) and Ann Bondy (Wellington Tri Legend). It was lovely to see familiar faces in what can be a time where nerves start to hit hard. Time for lunch then back to start sorting gear bags and dinner.  I also checked out the merchandise store and expo (as well as a little spend).

Friday started with a short 30 minute ride to make sure the bike was good to go – tyres pumped, numbers attached, chain oiled etc. Time to check and re-check the gear bags – T1 swim to bike, T2 bike to run, special needs bags for both bike and run and foods for all.

I had a lovely relaxing afternoon/evening with a yummy nutritionist approved steak, eggs and chips for dinner.

Sleep wasn’t too bad, especially prior to such a massive event.

Rise and shine.  Thanks to the civilised start time of 7am, I got up just around 5am to have my comfort breakfast of porridge with a mug of coffee. Headed to transition to put drink bottles on the bike (cold, but non-frozen – learnt from a previous event). Had to turn my bike around on the rack, even though it was swinging off the ground it was the only way the bottles (and my fluids) were going to stay on and in.

ironman NZHeaded down to the swim start with my partner and met up with some fabulous friends, two of whom were only there after supporting me last year and wanted to join me in my return. They are experienced IM competitors so were happy to get me in the water in a good starting area to get me underway. Had a good swim, trying to stay with people, on their feet or at sides. I did get a couple of knocks in the goggles, but it just took a couple of quick readjustments to sort (thanks to squad hustle and hurt practice at Fitness Goals). I was pleased to come out around 1hr16 and head up the carpet in good spirits to T1.

Transition was great.  I took things pretty calmly – great assistance from the volunteer crew. Headed out on the bike fully focused on trying to stay focused and keep to my nutrition plan.

Ironman TrainingHad a great first lap on the bike, kept to target, going strong but not pushing too high. At 120km my bike computer ran out of battery as I’d left my alerts on (which drains things pretty quickly on such a course). Great thing I wasn’t fazed – just kept on trying to keep up momentum. On the final length back into town I was catching various cyclists and tried to ask their speed so I could get some idea of how I was doing – only one spoke English and he was using miles!

Got into T2 just off 1st target and feeling good. Again the volunteers were fantastic in the tents, so friendly and relaxed – doing nothing to hamper transition and everything to help.

Out on the run and I felt good – except for the heat. I tried running to the first aid station but lost steam quickly, so tried to keep walking minimal and get back to a goal pace as soon as possible. I slowed to a walk at each aid station and walked up each “hill”. Through the whole run I stayed very positive and only really started to feel the fatigue in the body on the last run into town – possibly due to the run/walk, but also fantastic support from friends out on the course, supporting others

Swim 1.17 / T1 11.23 / Bike 8.12.21 / T2 10.35 / Run 6.50.54

16.42.13  all up

ironman NZI did it! I achieved my goal! I accomplished what I set out to do! I am so proud of myself!

“She Believed She Could So She Did”

– Helen Majorhazi


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