Earlier this year, we challenged TriGirlz to find a team of 70.3 first timers to race against our editor, Sarah’s, individual time in the IRONMAN Sunshine Coast 70.3. Hailing from Ipswich, Queensland, Tracey, Taryn and Nicole stepped up to the challenge, which included a 1.9k swim, a 90k cycle and a 21.1k run. Whilst, as a team, they weren’t able to match Sarah’s overall time of 5:10:02, a win in the swim leg saw them finish just 39 minutes later – not bad for a first attempt, we say!
Having spoken to the girls on the eve of the race and tracked their performance on the day, we were eager to catch up with our triathlon rookies to see how they enjoyed the race.
TRACEY – Afraid of sharks, triathlon first timer, swim leg
How did you feel at the start of the race? Before the race I was extremely nervous as I have a very real fear of sharks, which was the main reason for my anxiety. Although others pointed out the statistics and near impossibility of a shark attack in a Triathlon, deep down I still felt terrified. I felt however that I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could overcome this fear. Thankfully I didn’t panic in the water! I had one fleeting thought of sharks and I actually told myself to stop being ridiculous! Besides, I was far too busy trying to spot the buoys and avoid other swimmers to give it much thought. The fear is definitely still there but I think I now know that I can deal with it and that the enjoyment of taking part in the event outweighs the fear.
Did you face any unexpected challenges during the race? For me the greatest challenge was learning to get into and swim in a wetsuit the week of the triathlon. I hadn’t considered water temperature until a friend pointed it out and I was lucky enough to be lent a wetsuit. I was amazed at the difference it made to body position in the water, which actually was of great help but in hindsight I really don’t think I had it on correctly as my shoulders and arms fatigued severely. I also found open water so much harder to swim in than a pool. The other unexpected challenge was that I have zero surf skills so there was nothing graceful about my entry and exit!
How did you feel at the end of the race? I actually felt quite proud of myself for conquering something that I had never imagined doing. As a team we were on a real high as we all were pushed outside of our comfort zones and managed to not only get through it but enjoy it at the same time. It was definitely very satisfying to take part in an event surrounded by so many amazing and inspiring athletes.
Have you been inspired to take part in any future races? I have definitely been inspired to complete some other events since this one. The three of us recently competed in a local duathlon – this was a pool swim so a little more within my comfort zone! I have also just run my first marathon in Melbourne, which was fabulous, I just loved every minute of it! Taryn and I have been involved with a few others in getting a little triathlon training group going amongst our local running friends – we have called it ‘what were we thinking’ and our focus is on fun, fitness and friendship whilst preparing for various tri events. I will give a few sprint distance triathlons a go over the next few months and next year I hope to tackle a half Ironman!
Did it take you long to recover after the event? As I had what I think was the easiest leg physically my recovery wasn’t too long. I did have sore arms and shoulders and a bit of a stiff neck but it really only lasted a day or two at most.
How did you celebrate? We had some lunch together afterwards with friends but I had to get back to Brisbane that afternoon so for me celebrations were limited. We were very excited on the finish line once Nicole completed her run and we may have got a little carried away displaying our Ironman medals!
TARYN – Cycle leg, never cycled further than 60km
Did you face any unexpected challenges? Nope. Everything went according to plan.
Before the race you spoke of apprehension of going past 60km – how did you find this on the day? On the day I just said to myself, ‘Do the best you can.’ Tracey did a brilliant swim so I was on the bike early. It wasn’t until about 70km when I started to think, ‘Yeah, I’ve had enough now’. My shoulder started to ache and I began to get quite uncomfortable. However, I was really pleased with my pace and exceeded my own expectations. Not only was it my longest ride to date but it was also my fastest. But I was still getting passed like I was standing still! Even by a crazy Women’s Running Editor with a mouth full of snickers!
You also spoke about looking good in the SOAS race gear, how did you find it on the day? I loved it. It was extremely comfortable. I was concerned about the two piece and the top riding up but that didn’t happen. I’m looking at buying a cycling jersey to match the bottoms so I can get some wear out of them!
How did you feel at the end of the race? I was so happy – really pleased with how I went. And I loved spending the next couple of hours watching all the runners come through and cheering everyone on.
Has the race inspired you to complete any other events? Absolutely! I’ve just registered for the Olympic Distance in Kingscliff next month and have my eyes on an IM70.3 next year.
Did you enjoy taking part as a team rather than an individual? I’m quite competitive so individual is my preference but I’d definitely consider a team event again if the opportunity arose.
Did it take you long to recover? No – obviously I didn’t work hard enough!
How did you celebrate? Some friends of ours were also doing the event as a team so we all went to lunch together and swapped stories. Most of us had to work the next day so no champagne popping I’m afraid.
NICOLE – Triathlon rookie, run leg
Before the race you spoke of your nervousness over the transition and getting it right – how did this pan out on the day? The transition ended up being really easy. My biggest challenges turned out to be food related and the heat.
How did you feel at the end of the race? I was glad to finish as I was sunburnt, but I loved the atmosphere and to run with two amazing team mates was fantastic.
Has the event inspired you to complete any other events? I would love to do more Ironman events or triathlons as part of a team. I’m hopeful one day I might be able to be a solo competitor but need lots of swimming and riding experience before that!!
Did it take you long to recover? I was lucky enough to do my ‘event’, which is the the run, so no issues with recovery, except a little sunburn.
Did you do anything to celebrate after the event? Just lunch and then team members had to go back to our real lives.
How did you find your SOAS gear? OMG I had never heard of the brand and am now in love and currently looking to purchase more – I could nearly be an ambassador (expect that I don’t do all disciplines!)