What a way to kick off my comeback! Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney was this weekend in Penrith and I cannot be happier with how it all unfolded. It has been a tough 5 months and I have never taken my eyes off my comeback. A lot of work, patience and emotional resilience went into my rehabilitation and to come out on top at my first race back is just unbelievable. I have been so fortunate to have such phenomenal support, encouragement and love from everyone. THANK YOU!
A good swim here meant, a small group formed ahead of some of the main threats, Tim Reed and Tim Van Berkel, but Sam “Appo” Appleton who is having a killer season was right in the mix alongside me. I really wanted to shake the guys on the bike and work to develop a lead over the 90km bike as with only 2 weeks of running under the belt I knew the run had a big question mark over how I would perform. Again I could not shake Appo, but the other 3 guys including Casey Munroe who would later finish in 3rdplace were soon off the back and Appo and I pushed hard to build a 10minute lead by T2. Our bike split for the 90km was 2hours 1minute.
In the closing kilometres of the bike Appo started to get a bloody nose, this may have been concerning to him, but I know in the past when I have had 2 of my best races I had actually got a bloody nose, so I was prepared for him to unleash absolute mayhem when we started running.
I was not expecting my legs to feel good and responsive on the run and when I started seeing my km splits ticking by at around 3:30 I was very surprised. I did some 1km repeats on Thursday and I was only just able to dip under this pace. I wasn’t sure how long it would last, but I did feel comfortable and in control. At 4km mark, I started seeing signs of Appo struggling, I moved to the front and kept the pressure on. Soon the rubber band snapped and I was opening up a good gap. Again who knew how long this was going to last, would he get a 2ndwind, would I blow, would my Achilles give me grief. I just kept doing what I could and the gap kept opening. It felt very sweet to get into the closing kilometres with a 2minute buffer and breaking the tape in 1stplace. Hopefully, this is the start of many more exciting things to come.
I was very lucky to have Kelly over here with me, she has been my rock for the past 5 months and given me every opportunity to make this possible.
A quick trip back to NZ, before jumping back over to Ironman Western Australia to maybe defend my title or maybe just get an ironman on the board before the year is out. Then all going well Ironman 70.3 Bahrain the following weekend to close out the season.