IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast

Our very own Amanda Hernandez, Membership Coordinator completed the IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast on 11 September 2022. A swim that started on the beautiful Mooloolaba Beach, followed by a fast and furious ride and a picture-perfect two-lap coastal run. What an amazing effort, below you can read Amanda’s recount of the day.

Last year I rode the bike leg of the IRONMAN Sunshine Coast 70.3, and I thought anyone who runs a half marathon after riding 90km had to be crazy. Then I thought, I wonder if I could do it? I had run a few half marathon distances on road and gravel. Next minute, it was on my goals list for 2022! I needed a swimmer and luckily I knew a good one who kindly stepped up. Learning how to swim is also on my goals list for this year!

I knew nothing about how to train. I didn’t understand the training plans, they were all about the length of time and effort. I normally work on distance, and go as fast or as slow as I feel like on the day. I asked a few people who had done Ironman events for advice and devised a plan. I started using gels and Gatorade, a change from post-ride hot chocolates and pastries. Most of my training was done solo, and with early winter starts, it was tough.

While I’m a confident rider, my main concern was not being able to fix a flat, and not making it to the run leg. I knew the steps involved, but my hands are not overly strong or dexterous, and I’ve always needed help to get a tyre off and on the rim. I didn’t know how to take the rear wheel off a bike – also on my goals list! A week before the event, I managed to take the rear wheel off and put it on. Once you understand the mechanics, there’s no turning back. Three nights before the event, for the first time, I installed new tubes and tyres, front and rear, all by myself with supervision and coaching from my bike handler.

Race day nerves weren’t present, because I was a little stressed about my delay in arriving at transition. I had to pump my tyres and unpack my gear bag before transition closed. Then, I lost my swimmer after dropping off the pump – so many wetsuits, everyone looked the same, and I didn’t have my glasses. Off to the beach I went to wait for the start and hoped to see her run into the water. Once I thought I saw her I went back to transition to prepare for the ride. The bike leg went well although I rationed my fluids too much. I hit the same small patch of glass and pothole on each lap, at least I was consistent! I couldn’t stomach a gel until I was 12km into the run leg, and that was the only one. The rest of the leg was done on water and Gatorade. I need to work on different nutrition for the next 70.3.

That’s right, the next one. There will be another 70.3 on my goals for next year. Challenge yourself and step outside of your comfort zone. You will learn and grow.

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