Experience the Difference

Kira’s Ironman WA 2013 Race Report

KIRA FLANAGAN- Race Report

 

Busselton Ironman: 8th December 2013

10th Anniversary. My 3rd IM.

 

It’s funny how race day can come around so quickly slowly. All the effort, personal hurdles and long days along the way can sometimes make it seem like an unachievable goal or one too big to think about in any detail until closer to the day….an then that day arrives. Everyone has a different story leading up to it, some easy and some not so. What I love is that come race day we are all in it together, toe to toe on one of the biggest sporting event days you could ever have.

I started the day like every other triathlete that morning waking (if I even slept) before the alarm went off at 0300hours and then thinking for a split second: I must be crazy doing this. Then realised I/we ARE in fact crazy and felt immediately reassured! Breakfast. Sunscreen (post tattoo application of course). Race kit on. More sunscreen. First nervous toilet visit. Drive to transition. Check bike; tyres still inflated so don’t touch them. Another nervous toilet visit….number 1 or 2? I’ll leave you in suspense and neither confirm or deny. Good morning greetings all round to fellow weirdos taking on the IM and it’s all going well. So far so good!

Waiting for our start (0545hrs) is usually when I feel myself starting to focus in on the event ahead and tune out everything around me. Once that wetsuit is on and zipped I feel like its “Showtime”, just without the burlesque dancers and gyrating Miley Cyrus’s. For me, the race is as good as started. Quick good luck hugs to my fellow Elite Sportz team mates and coach Andrew Ivey (it’s a long day too for the coaches out there tracking their athletes) and it’s time to blend into the crowd and silently wait.

0530hrs Pro men. 0535hrs Pro females. 0545hrs AG carnage begins!! Ocean was thankfully calm and though a little choppy out the back near end of jetty nothing like I’ve seen it in years gone by. It was a welcomed sight for pool swimmers like myself (something I have to work on hopefully with Paul Newsome from Swim Smooth Perth). So apart from a blow to the nose which had me thinking “It’s freaking broken” (it wasn’t) nothing much to report. I had clear water most of the way and swam a relatively quick time of 55 minutes in my flashy Elite Rocket Science Sports wettie. Happy days…or one third of a day anyway.

Running into T1 to the lovely volunteers is always a welcome sight. The lovely ladies helped me un-suit and sunscreen up (I did ask them to just smash me with the block) and before long this albino was on her way to the 180km bike leg….Yay??!!

First time riding with an Elite Sportz disc meant I spent most of the ride thinking I was cycling on a flat because I wasn’t aware that they actually DO make strange wind related/channelling noises…like ALOT. My rationale side knew I was ok but the crazy/fatigue setting in therefore irrational side dominates made me worry more than I needed to. Otherwise again I thank my lucky stars that it was a largely uneventful 180km ride. Not known for my nutrition skills regarding intake during races, I made a concerted effort to sip away at my Hammer Perpetuem and swallow down a Hammer gel or two. As the product doesn’t rely on sickly sweet sugar it is more palatable over the longer distances and I was able to tolerate more than I usually do. Still a work in progress though.

Some great support out on the bike course from random photographers, Simon and Pete on the microphone, triathlon clubs, Andrew and ESpz teammates and volunteers (especially the Bunbury Runners crew) all screaming out encouragement and keeping the smiles dialled high. Makes such a difference so thank you to everyone. Finished with a 5:10hr bike which is great for me. Definitely an area I need to work on but one that is improving and will no doubt keep doing so over next few years.

T2 was much the same. Friendly and very capable volunteers. Helmet off. Sunscreen smash fest. Spiffy Saucony joggers on. Race belt on and I’m off and running. Wasn’t sure how I would go (whoever is??) as was a little bit weary on and coming off the bike. Just told myself to get through the first lap and then see how I was feeling after that. And then after the next lap. Next lap after that too. Oh look…..it’s the 4th lap so might as well just finish the damn thing!! Waalaa. So easy really isn’t it?

Honestly though, it was a great run for me. Apart from my right foot going numb for 70% of the race (my elastic laces. Still not sure whether to persist with them or take the extra time in T2 to just tie laces. Again another work in progress/practice practice). I felt great and perhaps even enjoyed the run. I was hurting yes but I never felt I couldn’t go on. I just kept ticking off the landmarks; people and environment wise. Again the support was un-freaking-real. There were so many shouts of “Go Kira!” that I couldn’t help but feel fast and at least try and smile/wave in acknowledgement. Kudo’s as well to fellow competitors out there on the day encouraging myself and others to just keep going. Keep pushing. It’s a long day when the run doesn’t go your way and I saw plenty of warriors out there battling away. Respect.

In the end I ran a 3:10hour marathon which just blows me away HAHA still does now. No way did I ever think I was going to run that and NO FREAKING WAY did I even consider a 9:20hour finish. I am still flabbergasted to the extreme with that because it was a genuine surprise. Just to finish is such an accomplishment and I think some people take that for granted. As my coach says: in an Ironman there is 9hours plus for things to go right but also for things to go wrong. I was so lucky that on Sunday 8th most things went to plan and I pulled off the race I hadn’t even dreamt of. I really hope you did too but firstly I hope you finished. That is goal number one and I for one will never take that for granted. Everything else is the icing. We (Andrew and I) freaking iced 10 cakes that day. I’m that damn proud J

Thank you to DAVID WILLIAMS from HAMMER NUTRITION for helping me start my nutrition journey. It is far from perfect but your advice and knowledge will ensure I get there…..one day! I’m also loving the fructose-free and gluten-free gels/fuel but if you could work on a peanut butter flavour I’d be even more excited!! Haha

SCOTT HOLLOW from ROCKET SCIENCE SPORTS for the awesome wetsuit. Yes I know everyone loves their sponsor’s goodies (surprise!!) but RSS truly do produce a quality, choke-free(!) and magnetic zipped (fancy hey!!)wet suit. Get on it guys.

TEAM HURRICANE from SAUCONY. I received my fancy shoes and clothing the week before ironman and was overjoyed. I chose to run in Kinvara’s for the light weight yet supportive sole they provide and they start with ‘K’ so it’s a no-brainer J. The shoe colours are also a little bit fancy so just to my liking regarding spicing up the race kit. Matching everything is sooo 90’s people!! Haha

Elizabeth Lyles. 2013 IMWA Female Champion and all round lovely lady. It was great having you stay with us and share all the goss. I can’t believe what you said about that triathlete and how about that other triathlete who’s now shacked up with what’s his face…….haha no no not much gossip but plenty of advice and despite your American sense of humour you fitted in surprisingly well. We’ll have you back anytime….what!!?

My Elite Sportz team mates/triathlon family. You. Guys. Freaking. Rock. What a bunch of positive and talented individuals who unite to form this squad. I am so privileged to train with them. It’s funny that triathlon is seen as an individual sport as I quite honestly don’t feel that is true. To me, it is 100% team work and I love these guys. Truly. Thank you xx Special shout out to my training buddy Andrea Miller for hanging tough and completing her first IM. Was such a buzz to see you cross the line and I’m super proud of you woman. Also Ciel Letts; you weren’t able to make it this year but we’ll be there to bring you home in spectacular fashion 2014!

Lastly only in regards to this write up is my rock of a coach/extended member of my family Andrew Ivey. I’m not going to babble as even then words aren’t enough. Andrew puts in 500% to everything and every athlete he coaches. People don’t see the hours he puts away writing programs and then re-writing those programs, tweaking them again, setting up and packing away wind trainers/cones/equipment, giving out Elite Sportz kit and nutrition to athletes and not expecting/asking for money or anything in return. Love and respect this guy 100%. It’s going to be an exciting few years ahead for us. Whatever it brings I know I’ll manage with Andrew there J Thanks also to Jayne Ivey in letting her husband roam free most weekends during the season!!

Thank you to each and every one of the supporters and volunteers that day including Simon Beaumont on the mike (what a legend). There are too many to name but having people from Bunbury/Perth/UK/East coast screaming me on and keeping my spirits up was just phenomenal. Pro athletes coming up to congratulate me was also super exciting and really makes me dance like an excited puppy on the inside! It honestly gave me such a buzz and I am truly flattered by the attention I received from everyone. Thank you. Thank you!! xxxx

 

What a day. There may never be a race for me like that again or there may be plenty. I am just grateful for that one and happy to enjoy it for now. I hope my fellow competitors can too. We are definitely the bee’s knees!!

 

Oww and yes I took Kona.

 

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