Monday 20th June at 11.55pm I started my journey to the US. My route to Boise was going to be a long one but I was excited to finally see where coaches Kate and Guy spend their time when not in Perth! Perth > Sydney - 8hr stop over, Sydney > LA - 9hr stop over and 40min delay! LA > Salt Lake City – due to the delay I found myself running through the terminal to catch my next flight - SLC > Boise, arriving at 9.10pm on Tuesday. All up, over 33hrs of travel!
After some much needed sleep the next morning saw me unpack and start to ‘settle in’ and more importantly, time to get the body moving again with a swim and ride.
Friday bought cooler temperatures in CDA, with rain all day, some hail and temps around 16degress! Where was the summer weather I had come to the US for?! After waiting to see if the rain would pass (which it didn’t) I registered around 3.00pm before heading back home to have dinner.
Saturday had some cloudy skies but most importantly it was dry. A morning ride over the first section of the bike course and brief run enabled me to get the sessions done early and then check my bike into transition, followed by one last dip in the cool water. It was now time to head back and pack ready for tomorrow and try to relax.
With two alarms set, one for 4.00am and the other 4.15am I was already well awake before hearing them. I got up, dressed and quite nervously ate my breakfast. I felt the nerves for this race 4 days out. I had put in some good, solid and committed training so was nervous to see what I could do!
Transition was packed and very tight! I did not realise how big this event was with 3500 odd individual athletes registering and teams on top of this. I was quietly pumped. Being half way across the world I felt at ease with no extra pressure or expectation of extra eyes watching me through out the day.
Once exiting transition Guy made sure my wet suit was on snug and I was ready to go. Kate and Guy walked me to the start and it was ‘good luck, go get them’ and off I went. Knowing it was important to get into the water and warm up I did this as quickly as I could. It was my first rolling start and I was looking forward to it. I calmly made by way down the athlete line and then off I went, running into the beautiful clear water. It was a very easy course to sight. Simple - follow the buoys out on your left, make a left turn into the sun which did make sighting a little difficult for a few 100 meters, then take a left again and back into shore. Exit the water and run into T1.
SWIM . 29.47
I had a fairly quick transition. In and out as quick as I could and off onto that stunning bike course. The first section had a few twists and turns through town before out onto the open road, which also featured the first couple of climbs for the day. Once crossing the bridge and heading away from town I felt like the ride course was really starting and starting with a bang! A steady climb that yes, tickled but it was awesome. It was a beautiful day and by now the sun was well and truly out and I was having a blast. I enjoyed the climbs and for someone who is always a little sceptical descending, a little reassuring talk to myself and I found myself enjoying these too. At 65km I was feeling great. I had taken in my nutrition exactly when I needed to, hydrated well and felt awesome. My body and mind was totally with me today and I felt as long as I kept positive my legs would do what they needed to. The decent back into town saw the km's on my Garmin quickly grow from 70-85km and continuous chasing between myself and 2 other female athletes encouraged me to ride strong, knowing there was going to be a race on my hands. I came into T2 side by side with another female in my age but I dismounted quickly and powered through the long run into T2.
Running through transition I looked around and the lack of bikes already racked gave me some real confidence. I put my shoes and race belt on and grabbed my hat full of gels and my watch and ran out of there.
The run was just as enjoyable as the bike. So many passionate and encouraging spectators cheering you on, it felt like a home race. During the first 5km I felt good. The run was not a flat course and I was feeling the pinch during the small, sharp inclines but it was a good hurt, as I still felt strong.
Out onto the second lap I had spotted Kate and Guy. At the far turn I had 5km, 5km to bring it home! I could feel the blister growing on my foot. I started to feel tired but positive encouragement from Kate and Guy pushed me further and I kept running. I groaned and sighed and at this point I had my pain face on. In the last 3km’s I was bringing the hurt and for the first time I could feel someone over taking me. I now know that person was professional female Erin Crum and as she passed me she was giving me so much encouragement and support. "Lets go", "Come on girl, you've got this", "Any thing is possible". I was a little surprised by all this support and tried to latch on but only lasted a short stint before falling off the pace slightly. I kept looking at my watch. 2km, 1.9km, 1.8km, then I saw 1.4km. I visualised by run route at home, which at the last turn is 1.4km to the front door. Pushing trough the pain by now any incline felt like a massive, sharp climb. They were no longer tickling, they HURT!
Finally, I spotted the final sign 'FINISH LINE' and 500m to go. Over the road and one final left turn down Sherman. It was packed! There were so many people who had lined the streets and the Americans were so passionate cheering so loudly. There were only a few athletes at the finish chute so I really got to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy myself.
As I came down the chute they announced ‘Lisa Tyack, 1st 25-29 female and 1st female AG across the line’.
OMG?! What?! But as soon as I crossed the line I forgot about that and I was bent over, with hands on my knees to hold myself up! I was toasted. I stumbled through to Kate and Guy at the other end and was exhausted but excited! In my true style I even shed a little tear of joy!
FINISH TIME: 4.51.16
If my 3.30am phone call to Andy back home didn’t wake him up I’m pretty sure he could hear my excited and loud voice from America! I was just so happy and still in shock. This result far exceeded any expectations I was a result I never thought I would achieve. It’s been a dream to win an AG title and I was very excited this might now have become a reality. As I mentioned I felt ready to race. I was excited to see what I could do, but that result, I still can’t believe it! Being a rolling start it was now a nervous wait. Had I actually finished first 25-29 and first female Age Grouper?
After walking to the nearest shop for some choc milk, pringles and a twix ice cream it was back to the finish line to cheer on fellow GKE athletes Katey and Geoff and soak up a little more of that finish line atmosphere. Once they had finished it was time to head back for a shower and have a brief sit down before heading back to presentations. By this time majority of athletes had finished and I checked the results again.
1st female 25-29.
Female AG champion.
And I set the inaugural course record!
Still pinching myself!
Stress and pressure seem to get the better of me in races but for me this race was perfect. We all try to achieve perfection, knowing there is no such thing. We all chase bigger and better, want to be fitter and faster. Set new goals and chase PB’s. This race was a spare of the moment decision. It surfaced as an idea but I never really acknowledged it as a reality until it was finally booked. Andy had booked me a ticket to the US and registered me for IMCDA 70.3 the day before my birthday, leaving me with a 5-week training block. I was committed to my program and trained hard. Most importantly, during this process I trusted the process. There were run sessions in particular where I wished I was recovering better and that my legs would feel 100%. A little self-doubt crept in, but you still need to trust the process. I told myself - I’ve done his before, I know what I’m in for. I have a coach because I am not a coach. Trust! I felt in good shape, both strong and fit. I was quietly confident. Most importantly I had self-belief and great support.
For me I can reflect and know I pulled together a great race across all aspects and I think a big part of that was no pressure – I had so much fun out there and enjoyed myself. I was focused but also took time to enjoy the journey. I think this all contributed to executing for me, the ‘perfect race’. Not just my preparation, mental state, nutrition plan, swim, bike and run but most of all enjoyment was there too!
My secret – nutella banana for your race breakfast. Breakfast of champions!