back again, this time from the top west of the south island. the race? another notable event due to weather. in sun: i did it, finished, got the slot to kona, am well pleased.
imnz started perfectly with a calm lake & cloud cover. i was always with a goodly amount of people so i kept thinking that i was at least still in the hunt. when i saw the clock as i got out i was elated: my best IM swim ever. it turned out to be so for the field, with all starters completing the swim, & all under 2 hours.
the cloud cover was a bit darker by the start of the bike, & as soon as we got to the start of the 20+ mile straight-out road the wind made its presence known. in our faces. then mist, sprinkles, full-on rain, sprinkles, etc. the latter’s annoying, but it’s the wind that’s the slowing factor.
life changes at the turnaround, of course, since there’s now a tailwind. this seemed encouraging, & i was still full of some sort of hope for a good (for me) bike time. that hope headed for the sewer at the beginning of lap 2 with increased wind, rain and effort. since the word miserable kept popping to mind, & i’m hugely aware that this is a voluntary activity, i started mentally singing a song i’d sung 2 weeks ago in a big choir concert at the l.a. cathedral. it’s a cheerful melody, & generally about being grateful to god for a gazillio9n blessings. it stuck with me the entire race. it needed to.
i eventually finished the bike & was more than happy to get off the thing. likewise happy to put on different clothes & get on with the run.
by now i’d used up the time cushion i’d earned on the swim, so i decided a steady trot would have to do. we do over 1/2 a mile into town, pass the finish chute, get a wristband, then head out of town on a 6.5 mile undulating road. everyone is out there, on lap 1 or 2, except for the speedsters who’ve already finished the race. i’m pretty sure the correct attitude toward these fleet feet is pit…that they get so little race for their entry fee. i’m positive that their attitude toward people in my time league is unqualified pity.
a plus factor on the run is seeing competitor friends. at this race that included several from my l.a. tri club. in essence, my homies. that’s on lap 1—& mostly on the way out, since the increasing wind was big on the way back to town & started to blow good cheer out of us. lap 2 is in the dark, & a very wistful moment for me is passing the finish chute, & getting the wristband to start another 13.1 miles. but i did have a pepper-upper in the form of a can of red bull in my special needs bag there. next time i’m putting in 2 cans.
lap 2 was more rain & cold, so i pulled up my arm warmers & q was fine. the bill of the hat keeps rain out of my eyes.
by now, even with the tailwind, it was a slow slog, & i would have probably done some walk-run had i not gotten very useful time information from an l.a. tri friend at the turn-around. i ignore most comments as being not based on fact, but adam’s was fact only ("we have 2 hours") & i picked up the pace. that surely took effort, as it was again into the wind.
and then it was over. around the corner, onto the grass of the long chute, seeing friends mike reilly (announcer) yelling my name & particulars, & jane patterson (event director)….into the arms of each & over the line, & all to a deafening commotion from the crowds in the stands. it’s sort of overwhelming: because of the effort it’s taken, the success, the sweet people being so happy for you, wishing you well, the sheer magnitude of an IM & finishing it.
after finishing i sat. i had soup, was interviewed, talked to a fellow competitor. but i sat. happily. then was given a ride to my motel. then got clean & fell blissfully asleep. sunday was full of good things, ending with the very happy awards dinner.
monday i drove back to aukland, dropped off the car, stored bike & suitcase, flew down to wellington, caught the 3 hour ferry over to the south island, & spent the night there. yesterday i got a bus west for a 4 hour ride to the start of the abel tasman oceanside track. but it was a van. over mountainous roads. i’m queen of carsick & barely made it to the rest stop in nelson (after 3 hours). i used the break to book a flight out of there on the way back tomorrow.
i walked the track up to a nice beach & back yesterday. today i went with a sea kayak company & had a fabulous day doing that.
all’s good in nz. especially with IMNZ.