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Ironman New Zealand

I am ecstatic to share with you all that I successfully finished my very first Ironman on March 6th, 2010 in Taupo, New Zealand. It was a typical New Zealand weather day – it was clear, sunny, cloudy, cold, windy, rainy and hot. The race course is stunning.

Swim: I was most anxious about the swim but it turned out to be the best part of my triathlon and not only because it’s the shortest. Lake Taupo is crystal clear and you can even use the sand ripples to help you swim straight. My swim time was better than I hoped for. I’m sure it helped to swim behind hundreds (861 to be exact) of people or maybe it was my new Aquaman Goldcell wetsuit which fit perfectly. It didn’t even matter that I fell flat on my face coming out of the water and cut my big toe. I was so happy to be sub 1:20 (see photo with big smile). Total swim time 1:16

Transition 1: It was a pretty long run from swim to transition but all went well except for the bloody toe and sunscreen application. Almost 9 minutes in transition.

Bike: I was most excited to get on my bike. I spent most of my training riding indoors at Watts Up Cycling so I hope everyone was telling me the truth when they said it would be easier to ride 180km outside. The bike course is two loops and filled with rolling hills. My first 90km went just as planned and then the wind really picked up and I started struggling physically and mentally. I have never biked in such windy conditions before and I spent a lot of time praying that I wouldn’t fall over. I tried to stay positive by telling myself that I already used my one fall quota exiting the swim and that the wind was sending any rain clouds away (and of course it started to rain). I kept thinking of all my friends, family, and training buddies which kept a smile on my face because I knew they were all rooting for me back home. Beautiful bike course that I would have enjoyed much more without the wind but it was very well supported and the road conditions were nice and smooth. Total bike time 6:25

Transition 2: I almost cried when I made it here because I was just so happy to be done with the wind. I remember wishing that the volunteer would put my shoes on for me but that I didn’t happen. I had planned to run with a my Nathan fuel belt for my eLoad but the thought of strapping extra weight on seemed like torture so I had to go to plan B for my nutrition – the eLoad discs I had and whatever food I could stomach at the aid stations. I left my GPS on my bike but thank goodness I didn’t forget my pain killers.

Run: After a tough and long bike ride I didn’t know what to expect on the run – I was behind on my time goal and my legs were a bit spent. I felt really slow and I was almost glad I didn’t have my GPS with me. Just as I was exciting transition I heard my name and saw my friends right there which gave me a big surge of energy. Having friends at the race definitely gave me all the motivation to keep my legs running and to achieve my goal of finishing before dark. I would say that the run is almost 3 loops which is a bit devastating when you’re on your first loop but no complaints with regards to the scenery. As slowly as my legs were turning on the first lap, I just told myself that it was just a beautiful place to be running and that I was just out sight-seeing. The crowds and volunteers were also amazing. What wasn’t so nice was that the ankle strap for my chip-time was cutting into me. I had to stop 3 times to adjust it and I still have the scars. My advice is to buy your own strap if you’re thinking of going to an International race. I did start to run faster after the first loop and I think most of that was mental. After the first 21km I did some recalculations with regards to my predicted finishing time and when I saw my friends again I told them that I would see them at the finish line at 7:30PM. I sometimes wonder what would’ve happened if I had said 7:15PM. Total run time 4:35 and I finished at 7:30PM exactly 12.5hrs after I embarked on my Ironman journey. It was really satisfying to hear the words “You are an Ironman” as I crossed the finish line with a big smile.

Official finishing time 12:30:05
Age Group F30-35: 22/46
Overall: 651/1151
Official pics & stats:

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  • Esther! Your rock girl – we were indeed cheering for you in Toronto. What an amazing accomplishment! Now go get the tat!

  • Great race Esther! Who would have thought that the 4 words “you are an Ironman” could bring such joy?! Congratulations!

  • Wow, good for you Esther! It’s sounds like you had an amazing experience. It’s just awesome to journey all the way to beautiful New Zealand.

  • Esther, thanks for sharing your story with us. We were rooting for you at the clinic. This is such an amazing accomplishment!

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