Monday, May 5, 2014

Janine Kaye's FANTASTIC race report

The Picture version is here

The Pictures help bring out the emotion of the day!


I wanted to write this race report as soon as possible while the events of the day were still fresh in my thoughts.. It was a HUGE day and it seems sort of surreal still.. although my aching, tired body is a constant reminder that it was VERY real!:) Grab a coffee.. this could be a long one….

Back in February I started training under the guidance of the amazing Kate Bevilaqua and Guy Crawford who together are GK Endurance. I made the commitment then dedicate myself to following the program they set me to the best of my ability, regardless of how “out of my league” it felt. The last 3 months have been amazing. I have trained harder and more consistently than I have ever done before. Early mornings, long distances, uncomfortable paces, lots of eating, sleeping, juggling and joy! I pushed myself harder than I thought I could and loved every second of it. I met some amazing people, found new fabulous training buddies and leant more about myself than I expected. And on saturday, those 3 months swirled around in my mind as I made my way through a 1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21km run.

The excitement of the week commenced early when we collected our race bags the sunday beforehand. I was thrilled to be a pink cap (yay for turning 40 and moving up an age category!). My wave was starting 5 minutes before my training buddy and 25 minutes before my hubby.. which made me the rabbit and them the greyhounds chasing me down:)It was then a pretty LONG week of tapering in the lead up to the race. I have never trained so hard for something… plus I have never experienced tapering from that level of training before. I was tired, grumpy, hungry, fidgety and fatigued. It was a tough couple of days. By thursday I was feeling a bit more “normal” thankfully and we drove down to Busselton on friday morning to check in our bikes, get our competitor tags and check out the event expo! We were staying with our amazing friends (who were doing the team event together) and they left me a beautiful message on the mirror of the bathroom when I woke up early on saturday morning..Brad and I had a quick breakfast, grabbed all our gear and headed into transition at around 5.30am. Brad checked my bike over for me before heading off to sort himself out. I then spent about 10 minutes fiddling around packing nutrition on my bike and getting my transition area ready. Off to the loo, met up with friends at the North coast tent and wriggled into my fabulous Huub wetsuit. It was about this time my emotional state got the better of me. It was such a weird sensation. I was excited, and a little scared.. but mostly I couldn’t explain what I was feeling. Lots of emotions bubbling under the surface and they were all trying to come out in tears. Thankfully I kept it in so I didn’t make a fool of myself by blubbering my way towards the start line:)I was so happy to have Marie (my awesome training buddy) and Brad (my amazing husband) beside me as we went to the start area.. they both calmed me down and pumped me up which I am so grateful for! A quick warm up swim and I my wave was called to the start area. I stood there trying to just focus on the swim and not let the nervous energy inside me escape. I wanted so badly to do a good swim. I wanted to make myself and my awesome swim coach Paul (Swimsmooth) proud, but also I felt like a good swim would set me up for a good day. I tried to breathe calmly and imagine myself starting the swim in control and staying consistent with my pacing (I have a tendency to go flat out straight away and then die in the arse at the end which I have been working a lot on!).

Goggles check, garmin check and suddenly the gun went bang and we were off. A couple of dolphin drives, some fast arm strokes and then I settled in. We were very bunched up for the first 500m or so and I struggled to get some clear water without bumping into someone. I tried drafting but I got frustrated with their pace and instead just tried to find some clear water and maintain a consistent pace. The course was a U shape out beside the jetty, across and then back in. By the time we got to the top of the U, the field had opened up and I was loving it! The water was perfect. Flat, calm and clear. You could see the bottom the whole way and it felt like swimming in a pool. I worked hard on maintaining my rhythm and focus. I kicked hard for the last 20m and stood up when my hands hit the sand, ready to run under the showers and into transition. I felt GREAT and couldn’t wait to get on my bike!

Swim: 34:49 (an improvement of over 8 minutes from last year! WOOT! and 3 minutes faster than I expected)

I am a little notorious for being a bit slow in transition.. I think I forget that I am racing .. LOL! This time, I focussed on what I needed to do and was surprised how quickly I got out of there, even after fumbling with my wetsuit and deciding to sit down to put my socks on. Onto my bike and off I went.

T1: 2:45

The bike course was 2 laps, out and back 45km each. The course is flat and fast… and I LOVED it! I decided early on that I really wanted to push hard on the bike.. mostly because I only had around 25 minutes head start on Brad and I really wanted to make it at least onto the second lap before he caught me. My aim for the day was to do the 90km in around 3 hours, 30km/hr, which is a little faster than I have averaged in training. After I started to ride and I felt good, I decided to see if I could push a little harder and tried to make sure I didn’t drop below 30km/hr for as much of the distance as possible. I got growled at by an official at one stage which shook me up a bit (the course was congested in some parts and it was hard not to “draft” when people overtook you and then tucked back in quickly). The course was beautiful and took you out into the Tuart forest and back into town before repeating for another lap. The forest was gorgeous and there was hardly any wind which I was very grateful for. The energy in town was sensational and it was fun to ride back through town and have everyone cheering for you. I felt great for most of the ride and was thrilled to finish 11 minutes faster than I expected. Plus Brad hadn’t caught me !! WOOHOO!!

BIKE: 2:49:44 (31.9km/hr)

Back into transition. Race belt on, runners and visor on and off I went. T2: 2:26

And this is where my race kind of went downhill..:(As soon as I started running, my legs started protesting. I figured it was just a bit more discomfort from having pushed a bit harder on the bike and that it would soon settle.. I was wrong. I stopped to have a quick pee at the first toilet and stretched my calves and adductors before taking off again but the discomfort didn’t settle.. it just got worse. (sidenote : Whilst I was visiting the loo, Brad started his run so it was great to see him as we passed each other in opposite directions) The course was 3 laps, all flat with aid stations at each end and one in the middle. My race plan was to run the entire first lap at a comfortable pace but not to stop at the aid stations (I could take nutrition on but no walking), then on the 2nd and 3rd laps I could walk the aid stations if needed, but try and hold the same pace and give it all I had left for the last 2km. That first 7 kms was a mental battle as my feet felt like they were being rubbed raw from my socks and I debated stopping and taking them off. My arches were aching and my calves had started to cramp slightly. I made it through the first lap, sipping electrolyte as I shuffled through the aid stations. I gladly walked the first aid station on the second lap and guzzled electrolyte and coke. I took on a gel and tried to stay positive as I headed off for lap 2. I was so frustrated that I felt physically fit and strong but my legs were giving out on me. By the 12 km mark, I was in the hurt locker. My calves were experiencing waves of cramping from the ankles to behind my knees and my lower back had started to spasm (I presume from me holding myself funny to try to protect my legs). I just kept plodding along, willing myself to not stop. I was determined to run the whole thing (excluding the aid stations to get nutrition in). And I did… but it HURT! The last lap was so painful. My toes had started to cramp up and had curled up under my feet making it almost impossible to move at one point. About 500m from the finish line, the crowds pick up as you hit club tent alley. As I reached that point, my left leg seized up completely and I had to stop (it was that or fall over). Thankfully a beautiful lady from the tri club was there along with 2 blokes dressed as a crocodile and something else (?) helped me to the curb and encouraged me to stretch my calf. I was almost in tears …so frustrated at my broken body. I felt so close to the end but that 500m seemed like another 21km away! The cramp subsided and I shuffled onwards.As I rounded the bend to the finish chute, the surface under my feet changed from bitumen to carpet and at the top of the 100m finish chute my entire left leg spasmed & cramped up and then my right leg cramped as well. I stopped. I could hear the announcer calling my name ” here comes Janine Kaye.. oh..maybe..? come on Janine..” I could hear him urging me on and the cheers of the crowd next to me but I literally couldn’t move. My toes had curled up in cramps and I was yelling at my legs to just keep moving. I did a drunken looking stumble thing towards the barricade and a lady pulled me over so I didn’t fall. I stretched my calf for what felt like forever but was only a few seconds.

The cramp eased slightly and I took a few steps towards the line. The announcer called my name again and the crowd let up a big cheer as I shuffled towards the line. I could see Brad standing there waiting for me and I was overcome with pain, embarrassment and frustration.. but the minute I fell into his arms, it all just faded away. He kept telling me I smashed it. I couldn’t really take it all in.I tried to look at the clock and do the math but I was shaking and still hurting too much to function properly. Brad worked out the math for me and I couldn’t believe it, I had smashed my hopeful time of 6hrs 30 minutes ..

RUN: 2:16:43

TOTAL TIME: 5:46:27 ( a PB of 1 hour and 20 minutes! WOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!)

My beautiful friend Trudy got this photo of me after she asked me to explain the experience seconds after I finished.. it is kind of horrific but also makes me giggle..:)

and this guy.. my amazing husband. What would I do without him, his love, support and maths skills! Busso was his second half ironman and he smashed it with a 30 minute PB, in 4:44!! AMAZING!! SOOO proud of him! I cannot wait to support him when he tackles his first ironman in December!!

Here is my awesome medal along with the words I wrote on my hands that helped get me through the day.

TRUST – my training, my coaches and myself

ENDURE – I read a quote that I loved that said that “the body can endure whatever the spirit believes” and this reminded me of that along with the fact that I am capable of enduring much more than I think! So suck it up princess;)

and a smiley face to remind me to HAVE FUN while sucking it up !!:)

Funnily enough, even though I was in so much pain during the run, I still had an absolute ball and cannot wait to get back into training and do another one! Personal pride in my effort/time etc aside, to be totally honest, the absolute best part of the day was hearing the joy of everyone around me as they chatted about the day and celebrated their success. My husband is just awesome, my fabulous coach Kate won the WHOLE friggen THING! (after coming 2nd 3 x previously), Captain Awesome Guy came 6th, my sensational training buddy Marie smashed her PB (and got the same time as me), and my gorgeous best friends all did PBs in their team event! SO PROUD OF ALL OF THEM!!! It was so much fun to see everyones smiling happy faces and share in all their joy and elation, while I nibbled on the recovery muffins and hurt all over:)You can see how broken I felt in the pic below that Marie’s hubby took of us.. oohh, my broken bottom…;)And there it is.. my second 70.3 but in my mind, it was my first real half ironman where I had trained consistently. Injury free and ready to race, not just participate. I have taken so much out of this experience and I am excited to take that knowledge into my training to get fitter, stronger and more prepared for the next one!:)Thank you to everyone who sent me messages of support and congratulations.. I am honoured to have so many amazingly encouraging people in my life!!! xxxxxx

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