It’s been almost three months since my last post. My only excuse is that training for my first Ironman took absolute priority. The summer, especially from Christmas until I returned to school in later January, involved the training hours which inevitably go with Ironman. There were several early Saturday morning trips to Taupo, where I practised on the NZ Ironman course. Although it was tiring at the time, I now feel very fortunate to live within an hour of Taupo and that I am able to swim in Lake Taupo, ride on Broadlands Road, and run the marathon circuit. Those rides meant that on Ironman day I knew how to ride the course; when to push and when to rest a little.
Yes.. I did it. Looking back four weeks, I still see it as one of the most enjoyable days of my life. The nerves I had anticipated, weren’t there. The three days prior to the event, I spent in a house in Taupo with my coach, Louise Dumee and members of Tri Papamoa. There was time to hear stories, ask questions and imbibe the atmosphere which develops over NZ Ironman week. Taupo becomes ‘Ironman Town’ and locals wholeheartedly support the event.
To briefly summarise my day:
The swim went better than expected. This may well be due to the lack of nerves. Andy and I hung out at Dixie Browns cafe, just across from the swim start. I put on my wetsuit, drank coffee and we wandered down to the crowded start line just 10 minutes before the cannon fired. I found a space at the back and avoided the ‘washing machine’ effect. An hour 35 minutes feels like such a long time in the water. I came out of the swim feeling good and jogged to transition where I was met by buddies, Shirley, Moana, Louise and Tanya.
The ride was the best part of my day. Being a slower swimmer means that if you are a reasonably strong cyclist, you can catch up and overtake people throughout the whole 180km ride. Nothing gave me more pleasure than passing riders on TT bikes with flash wheels. The highlight of both laps was riding through the Taupo CBD, where the support was outstanding. I came off the bike feeling fresh in 7 hours and 7 minutes; much faster than I’d ever ridden in training. Again I was welcomed into transition by my training buddies.
The run was tough mostly due to the weather, which turned nasty at around 7 km. From then on rain and a chilling wind were the order of the day and night. I kept plodding to the end and picked up speed to run down the red carpet to the finish line in a time of 15 hours 16 minutes. I don’t remember hearing the words, “ANN EASTCOTT, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN,” but that last few minutes of my run are deeply etched in my memory. Seeing and hearing my biggest supporters screaming with excitement as I ran down Tongariro Street, was awesome.
A Daily Post reporter who had written an article about me the previous week, was at the finish line to interview me. He asked me if I would do another Ironman. Well aware that my long suffering husband, Andy, would be reading the post-Ironman article, I replied, “Possibly yes…. BUT NOT NEXT YEAR.”