When the hard work pays off …

Look, I realise this isn’t something new – it’s not ground breaking and let’s be honest, pretty much every other triathlete on the planet already knows this (especially those who have been in the sport for longer than *cough * eight years – me). And I realise those who know me will break out in a united eye roll when they read this (soz, guys!). And, my coach will probably do a little happy dance. I hear you Sez: “Hallelujah, she finally gets it!” Amirite? But here’s the thing … C.O.N.S.I.S.T.E.N.C.Y works. Who’d have guessed? High-five anyone? Oh, go on!

Let’s back track a little – Challenge Melbourne 2018.

WHAT. A. DAY!

After suffering through apocalyptic weather the last couple of years, Melbourne – the beautifully moody beast that it is decided to play nice. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions. Truly.

The swim was swimming pool flat, although a black line to follow would have been useful. Judging from my Garmin Connect data, I really need to learn to swim in a straight line. Or learn to swim. Period. But even though I was super slow in the water I felt a tiny bit stronger than previous years. Still, I feel I’ll be calling the local pool home for the next few months. Lesson learnt in the swim: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT look at your watch during the last few hundred metres of the swim, especially if you’re hoping for a PB rather than aiming simply for swim survival. Mum said to me after the race: “You did not look happy after the swim. But then you poked out your tongue, smiled and kept running.”

Next up, the bike.

What do you get when you combine close to zero wind and a fast, flat course? Some serious potential for massive PBs on the bike, that’s what. I love to ride so the bike is where I typically start the chase. Because I’m always so far behind the other girls in my age group coming out of the water (read: pretty much last) I’ve worked hard on the bike in training. “You can swim but can you ride? I’m comin’ for ya!” is literally what goes through my head as I come out of T1 and start the ride. I should point out here that I’m not some uber cyclist with sick bike skills, far from it. I mean did anyone see me unclip at the final turn around in Blackrock during the race? *Face palm* I almost landed in the gutter. How embarrassing! But I go OK on the bike and that’s when my race generally starts (the swim is clearly just my warm up – ha! I’m kidding).  

So I was all like, ‘get down low and go, go, go’ on the bike, even managing to create, what felt like, some sort of personal wind vortex (I swear I had a headwind in both directions). But mostly, I had fun trying to chase the others, on a fast, flat course. Lesson learnt during the bike: Three words – BIKE. HANDLING. SKILLS. Enough said.

Last but not least – the run.

This is the bit I was most nervous about coming into Challenge Melbourne. Nervous not because I didn’t think I’d be able to get through it but because I’ve done a lot of work in training to improve my running and have started seeing some pretty cool results, to the point where I recently started questioning my Garmin data. “Is my Garmin broken? Surely it’s picking up somebody else’s data?” It would seem it works just fine. So, despite the nerves and the initial uncertainty of what to expect, the instant I put my trucker cap on running out of T2 I somehow knew I would nail the run. Cocooned in my own little personal space, like nothing could get to me, I was quietly confident (for once) that I’d run a PB. I had numbers/pace targets to stick to, that coach and I had spoken about, and that’s what I focused on. And I ended up having the run of my life at Challenge. Not only was it a half iron distance run PB but an overall half marathon PB. So stoked! Lessons learnt in the run: Cocoon. Rhythm. Breathe. Celebrate at the finish line.

 

Unfortunately, on a high after coming across the finish line, seeing the clock, looking at my Garmin and then printing out the result docket to confirm this wasn’t all a dream, I totally forgot about the finish line beer. But I did come away from Challenge Melbourne with not only a medal, towel and sore pins but also a smile plastered across my face, a massive >30-minute PB (amazingly, I PB’d across all three disciplines!) and a top 10 finish (9th) in a pretty competitive age group. It would seem training consistently works. Who’d have thought, huh?

OK, so what’s next? Well, as mentioned above, I’ll be calling my local pool home for the next few months (there’s a big swim block coming up) and chlorine will now become my new perfume (fingers crossed the allergies stay quiet). But it’s now officially all systems go towards Ironman 70.3 Cairns next month. I’m so pumped to be going back to the place where I almost took up knitting

Margy Margs x

Side note: Because this isn’t a solo sport, huge shoutout to my incredible Challenge Melbourne support crew who chased down last minute race items that I’d forgotten about days out from the event; ducked back to the apartment to retrieve my forgotten front bottle on race morning while I set up my transition area; brought down pre race breakfast faves for me to have on race morning; chased, cheered and took race day happy snaps … this list could go on and on, and on. Thanks, guys! 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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