I love this. It's beautiful and powerful.
Saturday, 5 November 2011
Me - far left - at the bike-run transition.
Last weekend was the focus of my training for much of the year. The Noosa Triathlon.
And what a weekend it was to become!
The first thing one notices when you arrive in Noosa on this particular weekend of the year is the mass of bicycles EVERYWHERE. And they're not just standard bikes. They're the carbon fibre / time trial / über expensive variety in all manner of shapes, colours and weights.
While they may be the first thing you notice they are by far not the predominant feature. The hot, fit men that abound is enough eye candy to create visual diabetes. And while I'm tempted to say I'd be happy to made ill from the abundance, that's a little too close to the bone for me for this particular weekend.
Pre-race preparation is all consuming - a combination of physical preparation / equipment organisation / hydration and rest. I find myself phasing out of conversations as I focus on my race plans and preparation in my head.
But this year things, all kinds of things, go horribly wrong, from way in advance right through the weekend. We'll start with my brother having to withdraw as result of his bike-car crash earlier in the year. A fews days before the weekend I develop a sore throat and cough, this was not in my pre-race plan. As the weekend arrives we discover that my partner and his team are in fact not registered for their team event. A technical glitch that wasn't a fun discovery for the team especially for the cyclist who had her own newly purchased über bike all prepped up with no place to ride. On Saturday Qantas grounds its entire fleet and our exit from Noosa becomes uncertain. Not that I'm too worried as staying in Noosa longer is never really a problem.
But wait, there's more.
Sunday, Race Day arrives and at 5am I'm awake and in preparation, pre-hydration and setting up gear in the transition zone. My race starts at 6:52. The swim is good, but I'm feeling a little congested with the cold I've developed, so not perfect. The cycle is hard work, more than I remember, but at the same time I'm feeling pretty strong and confident and I push myself hard. My legs don't feel as fast as they have been in the past few weeks though, not the strength I'm used to. Transition to running is easy, but by 2km the run hurts and there's 8 to go. I know I'm in a good position though with one or two ahead of me. But each km feels harder and harder. I'm loving the hose spraying locals who rain on me but the rehydration stations aren't frequent enough. It's getting close to the end, just 3 km to go. I'm feeling a little faster, but it' still hard work and then the next thing I know I'm in an ambulance, sirens and all, what the hell happened?
The ambulance officer comes in and out of blur. He asks me if I can see clearly yet. I wonder if he can read my mind but realise this is not the first time he's done this. He tells me what's been happening, I've collapsed, dehydrated with next to no blood pressure but never unconscious, though I recall nothing. He updates me on what's happening next and I close my eyes because it feels better that way. But that prompts him to ask me if I'm okay , or "keep with me" which he doesn't actually say but I hear it, so I keep my tired eyes open as he buzzes around me keeping going. We shake and shudder and wind our way to the emergency department by which time I've had 2 1/2 litres of fluid and where I then have another 2 more before leaving later that afternoon, somewhat dazed and very tired but still a little bit thirsty.
My support crew doesn't hear about me nor my whereabouts until 2 hours after I was due at the finish line. They're accordingly freaked out, but happy to discover I'm alive and deliver loads of big hugs when I get back to Noosa. It's big Pizza dinner, a lot of fluids and early to bed. How we get home is something for tomorrow.