Something’s Brewing

Back in December last year, after Ironman 70.3 Ballarat, I had a fire in my belly. I had just completed another Ironman 70.3 and had finally put it all together – giving it my all, leaving nothing left out on course that day, the way I may have in the past. And despite not necessarily achieving a time-based PB, I had achieved PBs in so many other ways that day. I came away from that day motivated and on fire to continue pursuing my dreams – my dreams of becoming better at this sport, the sport that I love.

But shortly after Ironman 70.3 Ballarat things changed (click here for a recap). I’m not going to sit here making excuses or feeling sorry for myself… because #firstworldproblems much! But, the truth is, with my plans being derailed by something not entirely in my control – I got a bit down on myself. Reluctantly, I came to terms with the possibility that: “Hey, maybe long course isn’t really for me after all.” I told myself: “I’m probably never going to get any faster anyway”, “I’m never going to qualify for Kona”, “I’m never going to be this or that”… blah, blah, blah! And so this negative mindset continued. I got comfortable with putting my dreams on that ‘guest shelf’ – on the surface anyway, masking it all with, “Oh I’m taking a break from long course” every time someone asked me about my goals and what race I’m going to do next.

But this was never going to last – after all my work bio says ‘in training for Ironman number 5’. I’m not someone that stays comfortable sitting on the sidelines for very long.

Enter short course racing. Over the last couple of months, I’ve forayed back to short course racing, and it’s been exactly what I’ve needed to get my tri mojo back.

My latest sprint adventure was Challenge Melbourne Sprint. Here’s a very brief recap.

If you’re not starting a run by climbing a crazy long flight of stairs first, you’re contending with Armageddon. After a magical, summery start to the weekend, storms of Biblical proportions had rolled into town on Saturday night, and well and truly made themselves at home by Sunday. As we peeled on our wetsuits that morning (I really think putting on your wetsuit deserves it’s own ‘leg’ in a triathlon) there was thunder and lightning… it was, well, very, very frightening! It was absolutely nuts out there! Not wanting to play Russian roulette with Mother Nature, the race start was delayed by 15minutes leaving 100s of athletes itching to go by the time the start gun went off.

The swim.

After a running start (yes, I actually ran into the water this time… normally I walk because who runs to start a swim race – duh!) I felt comfortable and relaxed in the swim and even managed to hold on to feet – yep, total pro. I still need to work on my sighting (you should see my Strava file – yikes!) but I felt a lot stronger in the water this time. I came out of the water less shipwreck survivor this time and almost forgot to take off my swim cap and goggles in the excitement.

On to the bike.

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Grinding into the headwind just after the turn around.

How crazy was that wind change! It was nuts out there. One minute I’m enjoying the free ride the massive tailwind was providing (knowing full well it would be a tough slog coming home) hoping to catch up to as many ladies in my age group as possible, then, next minute – SLAM! Holy sh*t… it felt like I had face planted straight into a wall of wind. The wind changed to what felt like a mini tornado. The temperature dropped to freezing and, with teeth chattering, and hands and feet slowly going numb, it became a game of holding on for dear life. The aim was just to finish the bike after that, without being blown off. I was so glad I didn’t have to do two more laps in all that crazy like the half competitors.

Then came the run.

After practising running off the bike in training, I finally managed to have a strong, consistent run in a race – similar to the run I had at Ironman 70.3 Ballarat. I pushed and held my #racepace, which, let’s face it, is really more of a jogging pace for most. But I gave it all I had and came across the finish line very happy and satisfied. Satisfied because I didn’t walk and I pushed a harder pace for the entire race. Each time I race I discover – actually I CAN do this! On a side note – it did help that another competitor, who had run out of T2 around the time that I had, took it upon himself to pace me the entire way – thanks, random stranger, much appreciated.

So, where to next?

OK. Here it is. Sprint – you’ve been fun, but I think it’s time for me to go back long, #itsnotyouitsme… although, that’s not to say I won’t do more sprint – I probably will because I love this sport and being a triathlete. But my long course mojo is BACK BABY! Next stop – #IMWA. Ironman, I’m comin’ back at ya!    

~ Margy Margs x

Image: Juliet Cooper on Facebook

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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