‘Chloe Kay you are an Ironman’… Six words I NEVER expected to hear in 2014.I joined Noosa Tri Club at the start of 2014, Mooloolaba kicked off the year as my first ever Olympic distance tri, which spurred me on to register for the Sunshine Coast 70.3. The training increased dramatically but so did my enjoyment. In the midst of training for the 70.3 I came across Ironman Cozumel- which was going to be on whilst I was in Mexico in November. At this stage it was about 4-5 months away and I was still nervous I wouldn’t even make the cut off times for the 70.3 so left Cozumel as a dream in the pipelines.
I finished the 70.3 in 6:09, I was over the moon. Clearly not a podium finish but I had given it everything I had and loved (nearly) every second of it. So the next day I signed up for Ironman Cozumel! Now a mere 11 weeks away. I don’t know who I was more nervous about telling… My family or my coach! Not sure if it was because of the venue or the enormity of the goal but news spread like wildfire. Club members I didn’t even know were wishing me luck.In the weeks leading up to my race the friendship, advice and support from Noosa Tri Club members was amazing. It was a roller coaster of emotions and as cliche as it may sound I couldn’t have done it without the support and kindness of each and everyone one of them.
Which brings me to race day… After 3 days of high seas and wild weather I woke up on race day to calm conditions with a spring in my step! Although by the time I reached the swim start I was freaking out just a little- what the hell had I got myself into? But as my AG wave set off, I found a nice rhythm and pretty much had a perfect swim. Clear and calm waters, colourful fish, gentle current, diving cameramen and underwater motivational signs on the ocean floor kept it interesting. Swim time 1:00:35, maybe the current was more than gentle!
A quick change into my cycling gear, and a slip, slop and slap and I was off onto the bike course. I’ll never forget the feeling of being 3km into the ride and it hit me exactly the enormity of what I was doing, I still had 177km to go… All I could think about was ‘what on earth am I going to think about for the next 12+ hours?’ As it turned out time flew and many things crossed my mind over the course of the day- I was not left bored! The ride was 3x60km loops of the island, 20km of each loop being a strong headwind… Needless to say by the 3rd lap I was a tad over it, tired and bursting to get off the bike and onto the run.
After 7.5 hours I finally reached T2. I’ve never been so glad to hand my bike over to strangers! It turned out the run wasn’t the dreamboat experience I’d expected it to be. Severe stomach cramps got the better of me and it was a 42km run/walk struggle, run time 5:05. It wasn’t all bad though, the camaraderie of athletes was amazing, the support of spectators and volunteers phenomenal. And that finishers chute feeling…. What can I say? It’s everything people speak about and more. Talk about overwhelming! I was a bawling mess by the time I crossed the finish line. But I did it, in 13:44 I became an Ironwoman!
I went into the race thinking ‘You’ve got what it takes, but it will take everything you’ve got.’ I definitely wasn’t the fastest or the strongest out there but can guarantee you I gave it my all and was pretty happy with the result. The memories I have of that day will last forever, and as time passes the bad bits are fading and I can hardly wait for the time chance to give it another go.