Legs up all week with some ice and compression...
Short version: For those that details don’t matter, just the quicky
*4th place, 9 hours and 24 minutes
*Collect points for World Champs (pheww)
*Fastest bike split
*Post race mood-breathing a sigh of relief, happy
Long version: For those tri-peeps that feel the need to know every detail
The race start for pros was 5:30 am, the alarm was set for 3:20, my body was wide awake at 2:28. (That is seriously a ridiculous hour if you ask me!!). I went with it, landing at transition at 3:28, a full hour earlier than I wanted! I sat in the car with the heater full blasted, in a wetsuit, trying to warm up. OZ is so trippy, its freeeeeeezing in the morning & night and hot in the day.
It is difficult to put into words how excited to race I was. When my head and heart are happy good races most likely happen for me, and my head and heart were feeling amazing. I kept rereading a message Mike gave me. It summed up to say, “Never get discouraged out there, no matter what is happening, keep strong, it will be okay”. I had a lot of great messages of encouragement sent to me. But Mike knew I had a small problem going into this race. Yes, I did land my period (sorry for the gross, but it is something us girl racers have to handle for 140.6 miles sometimes, meaning we race with big(er) boobs and bellys). And ah, special thank you to Amanda Balding for giving me nice pink bike shorts. That was not the problem though, I planned to just drink a ton extra water and tuff it out. I hurt my foot.
Last week Kainoa jumped off the couch landing on the top of my left foot. In tears, barely walking, it began to get better without running. Only a few people knew because I didn’t want a pity party and truthfully I thought it would be okay. I finally ran on it Wednesday, cried my eyes out, and knew Sunday would take extra guts. It was frustrating to say the least as I’ve been working so hard and felt a great race day on the horizon. Truth was, my foot had a stress fracture and needed recovery time. I only told one prerace interview the story, only because I limped into the interview, other than that I played it off as if I was just as ready as all the other girls.
The swim was a choppy, bumpy, washing machine that I really enjoyed! Those kind of swims are my favorite, they are playful and remind me of home. Of course you do deal with chop scooping up other swimmers and dropping them on top of you! I found Jason Shortis and followed him and a Japanese man that looked like Mike. They made me feel safe from the Great White sharks. 4 of us girls got out within seconds of each other, sending us off in good position for the bike. Running to my bike hurt like a BLEEEEEEEP, but I ignored it because I had 112 miles of work to do. After a minute I was leading the bike and very happy about that, then Merium passed me and I let her go without any challenge. One thing I’ve thankfully learned about myself is I am a slow warmer-upper on the bike. It usually takes me 30 miles or so. On lap 2 I started feeling stronger and just after the halfway I went for the pass, she was about a minute up the road and riding strong. By lap 3 it was super hot, the winds were fully blowing, and all of a sudden it felt like home! I was loving it and began to sing songs of the islands. Just under 5 hours the bike was finished and it was time to run, my favorite part of the race. I cried the entire run through T2 and the change tent. To have worked so hard and already feel pain in my foot was so heart breaking for me. “Never get discouraged, never get discouraged…”I kept replaying Mikes letter in my head. I wiped the tears and walked out of the change tent. “Keep strong, keep strong, keep strong…” I replayed that part of the letter and came up with a brilliant plan: Run as strong as I can for as long as I can.
Lap one hurt but not horrible, lap 2 got a little worse but still manageable. I’ll be honest, it felt amazing to be winning Ironman Western Australia, in fact that joy was like medicine numbing my foot. I fed off the crowd support, I made a promise to my foot that I would stop at the finish line and let it have a big break if it would just hold up. By the end of lap 2 though, it was getting ugly. I was running ugly trying to land on my heal. The first turn of lap 3 was such a nightmare that I actually fell down. On my knees, trying to pick myself up, trying to run, it was like a bad dream. Bek Keat tried to encourage me, she showed unbelievable sportsmanship out there and in a small way helped save my race. At that point I just wanted top 5 for those Kona points, I had to find a way to keep moving forward for one and a half laps more. On the bike was AMB being the super cheerleader for the pro women, she pretty much was tuff love on a bike, “Bree, let your mind be your medicine”, it was good stuff having her out there…
Slowly I wobbled into second, then third. There was so much fight in me as my head, heart, and the rest of my body were strong, but landing on that foot was another sob story. Prayers were being prayed to just be able to finish. I remember this story of HB running with a fractured hip or something crazy like that, and of Crissie after a bike crash, I wanted to be that tuff too. I fell over one more time and then had an idea to try and run on the grassy parts of the road. It didn’t work, the pain was not the bottom of my foot, my shoe was killing me when it put pressure on the top of my foot. Maybe I should have taken it off?? Lap 4 finally came and I told myself I CAN DO ANYTHING FOR 6 MILES. Everyone in the crowd was screaming and yelling for me, they saw the pain and wobbles, cheering me every step I took. It was one wild Aussie man though that perked me up as I got lapped again and 5th place was closing in. He said, “Bree Wee you are the world’s best mum”. I kicked myself in the @$$ and gritted it out, I ran as hard as I possibly could promising my foot it was almost over. I think all moms are the world’s best, but I needed to hear that, to remind myself that I was hurting because I am a mom and to me that somehow made it better, ahhh motherhood.
Finally the finish line, my final fall into a wheel chair, right to medical. The nurse kept telling me I had to take some funky medicine for the pain and inflammation (it got swollen and bluer). I was refusing because I’m one of those weirdo people that don’t do medicine other than acupuncture. She got pretty forceful opening it, nearly stuffing it in my hands to take it, so I made her a deal, ONLY if she fed me first so I don’t barf on her for having medicine on an empty stomach. Deal. The doctor then gave me his 50 cents, basically telling me that was a dumb thing to do a marathon on my foot and I could be out for MONTHS (his words) if I keep running on it. My explanation was simple: The trip was set and I am crazy. Anyways, now I face 4-6wks of no running. I’m sad. But in the bright light of it all, it is the holidays (more family time without running), and it is the off-season, I need a rest anyways. Truly this season has seen some of my best racing and I’m feeling positive there are even better to come.
This has been such a brilliant, brilliant journey in my sport life. Thankful, greatful, appreciative, and everything in between those words too, is how I feel. My life is so beautiful not only because of the places I see, opportunities I experience, but because of the people in my life…
To the race directors and volunteers of Ironman Western Australia you have done well! I am looking so forward to racing here again in my life. The crowd, I am smiling to have felt so much love so far from home. The other pro women, well done and thank you for pushing me. My sponsors: Bike Works, Swift Carbon, Coconut Girls, Splish, Oden, Rolf Prima, THANK YOU. Training partners and Pablo for helping write me a plan, thank you for dealing with the sweaty mess I tend to be. Tammy, Brooke, my parents, for getting me financially on a plane to OZ. Nelsons and Wenders for helping with Kainoa on days I need help. Mike…for loving me.
(A band for each loop of the run we completed). These are my new favorite reminders that holding on is worth it...
Thanks for reading my race wrap up, really appreciate the support I receive from strangers and friends from all over. It was a very special day in my life as I had to face myself courageously, those days of suffering so deeply are rare, and within those moments are when we become better versions of ourselves…