1584 Suzanne Newton, GBR

1584 Suzanne Newton, GBR
Position in AG 35-39: 20 // Finish Time: 12:07:56
Swim: 1:21:17 // T1: 3:20 // Bike: 6:17 // T2: 4:46 // Run: 4:21:05

Coach’s Remarks: Ok, here we have a Suzi report, I know many of you like these, the ones who don’t, I am sorry however, your on the team network so grab a coffee and learn to like them. Personally, these inspire the heck out of me, I love what I do when I read these! Thx Suzi for sharing this…

A week later… I’m over the shock that was Ironman – and here is my race report…

I was incredibly relaxed before the race, I didn’t feel nervous at all. I had everything in place (T1 & T2) and was ready to go.

Swim. I stood at the front of the 1-hr 20-min marker which is the time I was expecting to do. And it was spot on, I had a fairly uneventful swim, the usual tussle at the bouys but I can now hold my ground in these instances and being battered in the swim no longer phases me. I made the schoolboy error of not sighting the second bouy, which was brown? How you’re supposed to see a brown object, on a grey brown background? and there was a bit of a swell so I couldn’t see much over 700m anyway, so I made the mistake of switching from the smaller group I was swimming with to follow the masses, I should have trusted my first instinct and stuck with the smaller group as they obviously knew best as they took the more direct line, and I knew this as I made the maneuver (I think that is one decision of the whole race I would change if I had to do it again). The run on the beach was JBR all over and the prep work in this respect helped and my second loop felt better. I was pleased to exit the swim feeling fine and was pleased to see Venny on the beach as we headed to T1…

T1. I know you can lose time in transition so I made sure I had this covered, I sometimes wonder what people do in transition (Jay?). One mistake I did make was not to have sunscreen re-applied to my back after the swim in T1 – I got hideously sunburnt and the sun is not the safest in the southern hemisphere is it and I have a ridiculous tri tan now!

Bike. The bike section was OK, I wish I was a bit stronger on the bike as there were a few hills, one long one that seemed to go on forever and another long one with a headwind so by lap 2 and 3 I was really feeling it in my legs, my quads were showing signs of cramping so I know I was working harder than usual. The course was interesting unlike Longtoot so it passed fairly quickly, the scenery was fantastic, especially down on the coast road but I was over the views by the end of lap 2. The road surface was a bit rough too (similar to the rough section going up to the bridge at Longtoot). Surprisingly I didn’t see any of our guys on the bike apart from David who flew past me with about 40km to go, he looked pretty happy J

T2 – finally got sunscreen – unfortunately too late

The run…. started OK, I reigned myself in to do 5:30’s and it felt fine. My fuel belt was bouncing all over the place and was annoying the hell out of me, the sun was hot, and I started deteriorating when my mind started thinking about the distance – mental weakness had stuck – and by 6km I was in bits – I didn’t last long did I, I thought this was supposed to happen at 30km and I couldn’t believe it was happening at 6km… there was now a hill up to the University, the fuel belt was all over the place, the sun… at 15km I saw Noel and Sarah. I ditched the fuel belt, took what I needed with me—Gu and salt—complained like mad, procrastinated as much as I could, at which point Noel told me to man up, strap a pair on and get on with it (thanks Noel).

After that I was felt OK, at 20km I was 2-hours into the run and at that point I thought.. great you’ve broken the back of it now crack on, if you can get back to 5:30’s then you could get close to 4-hours (‘my’ original target time) at which point the cramp management started. Holy cow, if it’s not your mind it’s your body that fails you. I saw David on the last lap, he was looking strong… I saw Jay, Venny, Steve and Ahmed not looking quite as strong but all running which drove me on… Doris saw me in a world of pain with 8km to go… cramp in my foot, some random Irish guy gave me a pep talk and used the old ‘pain is weakness leaving the body’ on me which became my mantra for the remainder of the run and it worked. Coke was my best friend on that run, and I’ve never been so pleased to finish something – just so I could put an end to it.

I did 12:07:47 which was in line with Coach’s time prediction (12:15), my own goals were somewhat more optimistic, my swim is what it is… but I really wanted break 12-hours and I seriously thought I could crack out a 4-hour marathon. Naïve of me maybe? Let’s face it the run was always going to be an unknown and I was really looking forward to it… what happened on the day came as a bit of a shock. I’ve never experienced anything so painful. Could I have gone 8-mins faster on the day? I really don’t think so. I gave it everything I had, I knew this as I couldn’t walk properly for 3-days afterwards and felt like I’d taken a few blows to my torso. The girl who won my AG did a 10:15…awesome, I saw her at the roll down the day after the race and she didn’t have any maneuverability issues!!! I now have utmost respect for Aja and Liz who are both 11-hour chicks, I can now fully appreciate the work they put in only to be rewarded by the sufferfest that is IM – WHY do we do this? Incidentally, a question that was constantly in my head on the run??? I really hope Aja cracks 11-hours in China and achieves her dream of Kona along with Ed and Carl who both work super hard and just keep at it. They truly deserve it 🙂

Would I do it again…. Absolutely!!! And I’ll have some idea of what’s coming my way next time… but don’t take that for granted—anything can happen when you least expect it!

In summary, IM South Africa, super course (assuming the weather is kind), fantastic volunteers and supporters, great food and wine (after the race), and their hospitals are pretty good too 🙂

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