May 23 2011
It’s a great story – a beginning in Galveston, a middle in St Croix and an end in the Woodlands. Yesterday was the inaugural Texas Ironman, the last of my three competitions Stateside. In truth, this race was the main reason for my 6 week stay in the US. With the new Kona qualifying points system in operation I had to get me some of those babies on the board. I was calmly nervous. In my heart and in my head I knew that I was capable of a solid performance, I just needed to stay in control and focus on each moment in the present. My last 6 weeks of training in Austin had prepared me for the heat and humidity insofar as I knew how horrendous I was going to feel. But it is an Ironman and regardless of the environmental conditions it’s an undertaking not to be underestimated. I still classify myself as a bit of a rookie ironman athlete. That’s a grand total of 3 completed races under my belt, but I continue to learn and experience new things with every race. Yesterday I learnt not to be phased. I dropped feet in the swim, but kept determined and pushed the limits alone. Despite fearing the worst when I got into transition I was happy to find that I was only 3mins down on the lead. My chip fell off before the start, nothing much I could do there except ask nicely in T2 for the volunteers to take the replacement one out of the plastic bag and put it onto a band as I collected my bike gear. I stayed with the bike plan, riding to my power protocol and not getting anxious when others were biking by. And I took my bike position penalty on the chin, even thanking the volunteers in the penalty tent as I left. On the run I tried to relax and enjoy as best I could the wonderful support that the Woodlands spectators and volunteers provided throughout the entire day. The result was a relaxed Cat and that, I feel, allowed me to gain interest from all my training rather than go into the red in the race and sabotage myself. It’s a running theme to my race days and on race build-ups: Richard constantly tells me not to sabotage myself and yesterday I think that I finally came to terms with what this really means in practice. It’s been a fruitful, eventful and memorable 5 week stint in Texas. There’s a lot to be said for “keepin’ the heed”.
It’s been a 3 race, 3 win trip. Y’all gotta be satisfied with that! I want to thank Phil my coach (www.physfarm.com) for putting up with me and also dealing very well with my blonde incidents (2 inch left foot blister 2 weeks before the ironman). As always, my wonderful and long suffering husband Richard has been at my beck and call, albeit on Skype and on the phone. Without his support and that of all my friends and family the magic would not happen. My sponsors have been amazing and have made sure that I make it through training and racing in the best form possible. Texas truly is the friendliest place and I was blessed and honoured to interact with so many fantastic people. Most of all I want to say special THANK YOUs to: Lulu and Frank my homestay in Galveston; Fred in Austin who let me have the run of his house for 4 weeks; the amazing Trinkle clan in the Woodlands; triathlete chums Michael, Desiree, Kelzie, Dede, Kelly and Derick for helping me find my feet in Austin and to Laurie, Sabine and Alex for being my personal Austin guides and buddies. Thank you also to Kendal, Terra and Karen for keeping my body on the road. Extra special mention for Alex for coming to the Woodlands yesterday armed with a Saltire to make sure that I got to the finish line properly attired for the occasion.