Sams first 70.3

MTD Discovering the Hashtag in you:

Race day arrives, I’ve checked my bike, all good to go, I’m about to head down to the beach to find my buddies, and then I realise it, I have forgotten my race chip. It is literally the one thing they tell you not to forget, I forgot it. And while this should have unrattled me, I was only imagining the chirps, and comments, and fines I was going to get for this. Thankfully I know they have replacement ones at the start, and I get one.

I find my people on the beach endured the necessary abuse, about the timing chip, and then it was game time, and we were heading to the start. I am not sure when it hits you that you have made some questionable decisions in your life and they have somehow lead you to this very moment. But here we are, on a beach, the mayor has spoken, the anthem has played, and the pro’s are off, Go CLAIRE! Janine and I look at each other, mumble words that cannot be repeated and then burst out laughing. And off we go. This is actually happening. 1.9km of swimming starts NOW.

Now in theory you swim from one buoy in the straightest line to the next and continue in this style until you find yourself back on the beach. But then there’s me and apparently my lovely coach as well, we don’t like to swim in a straight line, we are special. I think I swam so far off the line, that I faintly recall head butting a Maersk cargo ship and I definitely cut-off one or two tug boats along the way. And somewhere along the second and third buoy the thought of giving up did enter my mind  when I saw one of the other swimmers raise his arm in defeat, but thankfully this was just a fleeting moment, and our mantra #pedalmoron quickly got adapted to #swimmoron, and this moron swam, knowing once I got to the second buoy things got a bit better and I hated life a little less. So that’s what I did, swam, buoy to buoy until eventually I washed up on shore, 2.3km later. Swim done. 

We all knew that the bike ride was going to be tough, tougher for some then others, it was up hill for 45km, and Sammy don’t do hills. #pedalmoron But I can do this, Claire has given me a number to stick to, I just had to hit those numbers and I would be fine, and I knew that I could hit those numbers, because, they were based on my training week in and out, these numbers where not mystical ones, not just random numbers plucked from the sky, they were manageable, some might go so far as to say scientifically calculated numbers. These numbers were written on my arm in ink and everything, and so as it is written so it shall be followed. I just happened to have followed the wrong number, but that’s another story.

The bike route is something that you fear, for months you have been told how awful it is, how it is the toughest bike course they have, this is because you climb uphill for 45km and even when you turn to come back, you aren’t faced with a 45km downhill, but rather “rolling Horner hills” back.

So one way its ridiculously hard, and the other is only very hard. But strangely I was having fun with it, and once we turned, I was planning on taking full advantage of the gravitational upper hand I had on all the svelte streamlined athletes, fully intending to set some epic strava segments on the way home. At this stage, the rain also had picked up a bit, and was coming down hard, on us. Making the ride back fast and fun, well for me it was.

I was flying, well flying for me, home, and in a rather impressive move to avoid colliding with another athlete that was in the middle of passing another, I went over the white line, to avoid bining it on the bike, unfortunately, I did this right in front of an official. This, an apparent “no-no” earned me a time penalty.

I served my time in the penalty tent, even managed to have a few laughs with the officials. Apparently, no one has ever asked them why they don’t serve a complimentary cup of coffee to the naughty people serving their time in the penalty tent.

Right time out served. Bike dismounted, and I’m off on my run. I had made the rather daft decision to put elastic lock laces in my shoes, because you know the 9 second I save not having to tie my laces, could be the difference between position; well no where and who cares. But this was a stupid decision, as my feet were in excruciating pain, and I eventually had to undo them anyway.

We have all be warned about the horror of the ride, but what people have failed to mention to us at all was just how tough the run was going to be. Now usually when I run at home, I don’t even take water along, yet here I was stopping at every single water stop, not only was I drinking coke and High5, I was drinking everrrrrything, all the time. Gels, yes please, coke, make mine a double extra ice please sir. No wonder I felt sick on the run. Train how you race, and race how you train #moron.

I seem to have also suffered a minor panic attack in the beginning of the run couldn’t breathe, tight chest, such fun, but this eventually went away, thank goodness. And then it became “enjoyable” I started seeing some familiar MTD faces on the route, all at various stages of their race, some of them finishing before I even started my run, but all of them smiled or waved, and chirps were flying, and this seemed to relax me, and I managed to find a bit of a rhythm and even some abstract version of a personality.

At some stage between the 7th and 10th km, I was convinced I had dropped a spleen. Bunkers hill oddly enough wasn’t so bad, but it might have been the fact that I was so busy consuming the sponsors product the entire time, that I missed the hill completely, as I had my nose buried in one of those paper cups.

Downhill was special, got a stitch from trying to outsprint “other clubs” athlete, and just before I was contemplating throwing myself off the pier, I saw the very awesome Candice Bailey cheering me on, so I picked up my lip, adjusted my crown, and kept going, I had just over 10km to go, I was basically done. You just need to run to the Tokai market and back was all I had to do, I lied. Oh crap, I start to feel my hip-flexor pulling, Janine had done her best to put me back together the week before, but now it was growling. Oh no, I could feel the all to familiar tick in my toe, cramp, I was about to start cramping. Oh crap, this isn’t going to be fun, stitch, hip, spleen, cramp.

Then I see Claire hoping to the fence to shout at me, (she’s mortal and cramps as well, this gives me hope) as I run out on my final lap, I see those who have finished, all smiling with their medals and drinks. On the run I see Lexi, she had almost 1 Km to go, Kallis was crushing it, Rainey was not far behind her, Rooibos, aka Jolly was STILL chatting away, Annamarie is already tasting her finishers coffee. This is awesome, these are my mates, and look how well they are doing. And now it was my turn, I had run (use this term very loosely here) with toes curled up, cramping so badly, but it didn’t matter, I was about to finish my race, I had long given up on chasing a time, the run felt so bad that I just wanted to finish.

When I eventually ran through the finish, I didn’t even turn around to check my time. I wanted to find my MTD Family and see how they had done. I hugged Claire and my friends, everyone’s all excited, talking all at once about their race, they had done so well. That moment was awesome, so proud of them and the entire MTD Team’s achievements.

The race was unbelievably hard, but it was incredible I loved it. Next year I will be fitter, I will be faster, I will pack my timing chip, and I will learn how to sight, and I will tie my own laces. Make no mistake I will be back again!

#pedalmoron #hornerlove #MTDfamily #coffeerides #popcornsocks #unrushed

Claire’s predictions

  • swim – 40min
  • bike – 3:45
  • run – 2:45 (7:49pace)
  • 7hr20

Actual Times:

  • Swim – 42:45 (2.3km)
  • Bike – 3:35
  • Run – 2:45
  • 7hr16


Claire clearly knows her stuff!


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