Cairns 70.3 – The Final Dress Rehearsal

Cairns – it’s paradise. It’s also the place I almost took up knitting two years ago

I’m happy to report there have been no scarves knitted since that wet, hot and humid day in June 2016 – by far the hardest Ironman I’ve done to date. The wool stayed at Lincraft, and the knitting needles never made an appearance. My feet have stopped burning and, despite some road bumps and detours along the way, for the most part, I’ve quietly kept chipping away at my swim/bike/run dream.

The only difference this year is that I’m not going back to claim my personal victory over that Ironman course (I’ll get you one day, Ironman Cairns!). I’m heading up to do the half, my last hit out before the Ironman 70.3 World Champs in September; my final dress rehearsal.

The days before a destination race are always a flurry of fun and excitement. There are 4000 lists written and rewritten; bags are packed, repacked, and repacked again. You know, just to make sure! And there’s that last minute run around to Woolies and Chemist Warehouse. I’ve even managed to rope my mum into the excitement this time. She sent me a text this morning: “My beautiful daughter, I bought you 20-metres of bubble wrap this morning.” Ha! Twenty metres! Bless. I’m pretty sure I asked for maybe two metres… Oh well. My bike will definitely be well packed.

There’s also the race week training to get done – too late for panic training; it’s all about sharpening and fine-tuning. I always get a little bit ancy about this one. No matter how much I’ve trained leading into a race or how consistent I’ve been I’m always, always plagued with the anxious thought: “Have I done enough?” I think I go through my TrainingPeaks about 101 times before a race – happy with all the green boxes, frowning at the yellows and feeling serious guilt about the red ones. Shoulda, woulda, coulda but didn’t! Too late now.

Since Challenge Melbourne last month I’ve spent a big-ish portion of my training time in the pool motivated by, well, the fear of being eaten by a croc! I’ve tried to replicate the Cairns bike course, making sure to include some hills and undulations during my rides. Running has stayed on track (no pun intended) and there might (might!) even be a new secret race pace target to aim for at Cairns – if my feet play nice this time. A couple of things did happen in the last month that had the potential to derail it all, but for the most part, I’ve managed to maintain motivation and have continued to truck along getting it done. It hasn’t been glamorous or exciting – just hard work, day after day. As they say, hard work happens when no one is watching…or, well, when your mum is taking your #timetrialtuesday Insta pic… haha!

So, fast forward two years, and here we are. I’m just days away from getting on that 6am flight (6am – ouch!) to head back to that place in paradise where I almost gave up the long course dream.

I’m looking forward to getting back there – to nailing that brutal but beautiful course. But mostly I’m excited about having the opportunity to test my limits and to see what I’m made of. Cairns – I’m comin’ for ya!

See you there!

Margy Margs x


Margaret Mielczarek

Margaret Mielczarek is the deputy editor at Australian Triathlete Magazine and writes the web series 'Shenanigans of a Deputy 2.0'. She is a passionate age-group triathlete and four-time Ironman finisher - currently in training for Ironman number five!

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