Yesterday was the toughest last 60 minutes of running I have ever had to do – it wasn’t the fastest – but it was the toughest!
I had the swim of my life getting out of the water with Karen Smyers and less than 2 minutes behind Belinda Granger and Jo Lawn. I had the bike ride of my life catching the Jo Lawn, Gina Kehr and Kate Allen pack by about 40 km to go. I let them go in the final 20 km after getting sick of playing the “speed up and slow down” game associated with being swallowed up in a huge pack of age group men – I wasn’t going to risk a drafting call or win this race wondering if I had an unfair advantage. Integrity and fear won out and I got off the bike a bit over a minute behind that pack and a solid 11 minutes down on the leader Michellie Jones. I was ecstatic – that was my smallest bike to run deficit ever!!! I had accomplished my goal of setting myself up to use my run following a solid swim-bike combination. I then had the run of my life – for the first 2 hours, that is – and then, the marathon – true to its history – got very difficult indeed. By about 2 hours into the marathon, I was in third place having just passed 6-time champion, Natasha Badmann. What an absolute thrill it was for me to pass this incredible, gracious woman. And then I entered the Energy Lab still feeling good but hearing the pitter-patter of Gina Kehr’s feet behind me. I picked up the pace to try to break her, but she persisted. Then on the way out of the Energy Lab, on the slight uphill with a tailwind that made it feel like a sauna, Gina passed me and I moved into 4th. I could not respond at all. I felt like I was moving backward.
At this point, we were about 11 km from the finish line. This was the roughest patch of the race for me. It is interesting how you can go from running 3 hour marathon pace to wanting to lay down on the side of the road and go to sleep. I didn’t want to slow down – I just wanted to stop! I stopped for a little porta potty break hoping to relieve my GI issues and then I re-grouped, re-focused and returned to running. With 2 km to go, I re-passed Gina who had put over 1 minute into me out of the Energy Lab. At this point the race has a significant downhill followed by a flat and another slight downhill and then a flat to the finish line. I hammered as hard as I could without looking back – not wanting to relinquish my first ever podium and hoping somewhere along the line, I might even snag 2nd place.
Thankfully, I crossed the line in 3rd place – my best finish ever in the Hawaii Ironman World Championships! The top ten women all finished within 20 minutes of each other for one of the most competitive days in history. My beautiful husband, Dave Cracknell, was there at the finish line with a wonderful hug – my reward for a hard day’s work! It was, after all, our 1st wedding anniversary – my first podium and my first anniversary all on one fantastic day.
Thank you for all of your cheers and support – it means the world to me. More later – there are photos on www.tridubai.com as well as those below. Click an image for full size.
Ed. Note – When you’re really fast, you get your own
personalized shoes, or ‘Magic Slippers’ as Lisa calls them.