WDC - The Event

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WDC – the morning

I set the alarm for 4:45am; thankfully I didn’t have to negotiate with Rad about this (he planned to eat a light breakfast at 5:00am for his race start at 7:00am).  A slight night sweat had resulted in my hair looking like something between a sulphur crested cockatoo and Lee Lin Chin on a bad hair day, so I had a bath and washed my head into “down, girl” submission.  An annoying headache that persisted all yesterday localised over my right eye and temple was still present with some nausea.  Otherwise, I felt pretty good.  

I had lain out the gear the night before, and I must admit that the Cannibal race uniforms this year looked pretty damn good!  Predominately blue, with yellow on the back of the torso (for cycling safety), and flashes of yellow down the flanks with “Australia” in green.  I dressed, eventually managed to get my contact lenses in the correct eyes to see, and popped down the hall to kiss Bob good morning and wish him luck.  

Transition was a buzz with activity and nervous excitement.  I wondered what I was doing there, having cycled so infrequently in the last six months.  With Bob’s life consumed with the management task, I had a very lasae faire attitude to the event.  If I qualified, great, I may as well do with Bob up here.

Thus, my goals were very modest and realistic:  In descending order:

  1. To enjoy myself;

  2. To finish, hopefully in good enough condition to continue my training and events straight away;

  3. Have reasonable (on a personal level) run legs; and wish list goals

  4. Not finish last in the age group F40-44;

  5. Not finish last among the Australians in the F40-44 age group.

These may seem bordering on the defeatist; however I am not competitive in the sport and in many ways my heart wasn’t in it.

Although I do not have results, I can report that I fulfilled the first three items!

Chatted to Mr Strewth in transition, and keeled over when I bent down to pump up my tyres.  Bob and a fellow Canberran who had racked her bike next to me took over.  Managed to score perhaps the cheapest caffe dopio (double short black) at an espresso van for $2 before the race (it was good, too) and ran into a former work colleague who was there to spectate.  

There were 10 minutes between waves, and at 7:30am women 35-44 started.  I started near the back and started slowly.  One of those weird feelings came over me within the first 400m of the run – I felt like stopping.  I didn’t feel that comfortable and was actually going quite slowly.  This feeling was quite a shock . . . I hoped that I would run through it and warm up, although the head still hurt and the nausea wasn’t going away.  The new course went up over a gutter and then up a couple of stone steps before a U-Turn a few metres along before backtracking.  It was very difficult to tell where one was in the field as there were people from each of the previous four waves, some doing their second lap as well.  A straight sealed section then curved to the boundary fence of the transition area, and beyond that the first drink station.  There were no kilometre markers, but I first saw Rad here on his second lap and put my arm around his shoulder.  He was looking comfortable.  

After the drink station, one mounted a kerb again, and ran along a bunting chute over sand, grass and a section of woodchips.  Runners were returning in a parallel chute along here also.  A set of wooden steps (16 of them!) led to the breakwater and quite a few others were walking up these already.  Thankfully, there was not a strong wind, so the run out along the 2 metre wide breakwater was not unpleasant and afforded spectacular views.  Another U-Turn near the end meant one got to see lots of athletes heading out and back.  I was more comfortable running now, although still did not feel too good.  I was quite hot and was pleased to unzip my ‘ironman singlet’ (a.k.a. a sleeveless tri top – good too!) right down.  This section of the run continued past the steps to a 270° turn down along paving stones and grass to the return bunting chute along grass and sand.  One lap nearly done.  The second lap was more comfortable for me to run, and I started to hit my straps and overtook a few of those who went out too fast.

I took water at each of the drink stations, two were set up which could be accessed in both directions.  Uncommonly for me, I took water four times each of two laps in a 10km run, sipping at least some, and maybe tossing some on the back of my head or swilling some in my mouth before expelling it on the grass.  There were few bikes around me on the rack when I returned, and although not speedy it when fairly smoothly.  I mounted the bike well and was pedalling quickly from the mount line, although I was overtaken almost immediately.  The long slog began, and I stayed in the saddle most of the time and didn’t push too hard.  With such a hilly and technical course it was actually difficult to find time to safely drink.  By the time I began the second lap I was feeling significantly crook; on the trial course in April I did a total time of 2:45.  I broke the course into 7 sections; three 5km run legs and four 10km cycle legs.  On the basis of my April result and my current running form, I aimed to try and maintain around 23:45 for each section.  I was marginally ahead at the end of the first run, getting through transition and pedalling before the watch beeped for the second time.  By the time the watch beeped to indicate the end of the 1st cycle lap I still had a few k’s to do, which included the new sections of three sharp U-turns and a couple of short climbs.

I had stopped perspiring, had goosebumps and was unable to keep water down.  I was a sick puppy. I threw up a few times, and started to dry retch.  I still stayed in the saddle most of the time, going pretty slowly.  At the U-turns I took the longest outside line as speedy guys (and gals) swung around close to the bollards.  I attempted to smile or look passable when the photographer on the hill coming out of Bar Beach aimed.  It was not sincere!  On the 3rd lap I eventually managed to get a half a packet of Gu down.  Within a quarter of an hour I was feeling considerably better, and picked up enough to marvel at the sight of the bikes winding up and down the road alongside the coast from the higher road near the fort.  It was a magnificent sight.  Another Gu on the 4th lap went down completely this time, and didn’t hurt.  Although the watch had indicated the planned end of the cycle at the 3rd lap, my final cycle leg was the fastest (and longest).  

Still with head pain and nausea, I was delighted to get on the last 5km run leg.  I opted to remove my tri top at this stage and run in a crop top, however despite the warm weather I stayed perfectly, and too dry.  There were lots of people suffering on the run leg, and some young guys from the later waves flew past  at a blistering pace.  Although the 40k cycle took me an unbelievable 2 hours, I wasn’t feeling too bad.  More water, tossing plenty over me to evaporate as I wasn’t sweating.  

9 Responses to “WDC - The Event”

  1. Blogger Aki 

    Go Flashduck! Sounds like a warm day for it, and I know how frustrating slowing down for those drinks must have been for you. Still, it also sounds like a courageous amount of effort on your behalf. Congrats heaps, can't wait to hear more about it! :)

  2. Blogger CJ 

    Sounds like it was a hard one Carolyne but you kept going - good on you! And you met your first 3 goals.

  3. Blogger CJ 

    Forgot to say - our Cool Running Chickybabes team won our category in the Canberra Times fun run - yay!!!

  4. Blogger Sarah 

    Wow, can't you believe you managed to keep going in what seemed such a tough race!!!

    Can't wait to hear the rest.

    How did Rad go?

  5. Blogger Luckylegs 

    Sounds like a tough day, FD! But what a great effort you made to keep going when you weren't well...you constantly amaze me!

    Looking forward to your next report...great reading!

  6. Blogger Ingrid 

    That was an amazing report FD!!!
    I totally admire you
    Hope you get to relax and recover today, and feel awesome about your achievement yesterday..

  7. Blogger Wobbly man 

    Great report Flash - and clearly a tough day! Well done mate!

  8. Anonymous GRIFFIN 

    Wow, Flashduck what an absolutely inspirational read !

    I actually read it three times; because I was so amazed at your courage, you are an absolute champion in my books !

    It seemed to me that you were having a pretty tough time out there, yet you carried on, awesome Flash Duck !

    Can't wait for the rest of the report FD, oh and by the way...

    Congratulations on taking out the 'Open Women' Team event in the Canberra Times Fun Run, go you Cool Running Chicky Babe !

    All the best to you and the others, especially (your)Bob, Rad and Bob Chapman.

    A big hello also to Vicky Godfrey from my wife; Patricia Bowen !

    Yours in Running Writing

    Gary (GRIFFIN) Bowen

  9. Anonymous JS 

    True guts is not hammering yourself and getting that PB when all is going well, but hanging in there when it's gone pear shaped and/or its really, really tough - well done, it was a courageous effort and I hope you feel proud about it.

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