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Hawaii Ironman Race Report - Zoe Ferguson

Wow! What a journey this one was 😀.

So this week marks 1 year since I had the option to take the money and walk away from my structured work/life balance or continue on as norm.

My choice, like most, is to embrace something different, new, exciting. Who would of thought 10 months later, I would of competed in 2 half IMs, 2 full IMs, coached an Executive to do their first IM and represent Australia in both Sunny Coast and Hawaii World Champs 🏊🚴🏃.

Reflecting on the last few weeks leading up to Kona, I am particularly grateful for my strong network of positive like minded family & friends and a great coach. This was the first race I went in to without any running endurance. I kept being reminded of my mental agility; good old fashioned “guts and ticker” attitude, which would get me over the line… not a heart rate monitor or power meter!! The penny dropped when I called Foz (coach) excited by the fact id been able to finish my longest run, 2 weeks out – how ironic given we both knew full well prep usually consists of a longer run…. Weeks out!!!!

So my goal was to smash the swim and bike and finish the marathon in a sub four hour, all of which I did with PBs all round.

Race day
The morning of the race wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. The lovely JD took PD and I to the start which was fantastic however when we got there it was carnage with arm numbering taking over 45 minutes! PD and I tried to stick together however I wished him luck and a quick cuddle as couldn’t guarantee we’d be able to stick together – it turns out this was a good option because it was pretty manic at transition and a strong sense of anxiousness everywhere.

🏊 Swim – 1 hour 2 minutes – 12th out of 104 in AG.

Got myself in the right spot however we were entered straight after the men so it meant treading water almost 15 minutes. Some of the women were quite unsportsmanlike. I held myself well and kept relaxed yet focussed….Then BANG off I went out hard …. only after a short while in, I realised my rookie mistake – no body glide on my neck – doh! I’d done the same thing last time OK for a winter Tri but no good in 35c heat on the bike. So I pushed on and then bam – cramp in my foot- first time ever !!! So I pushed on and figured this was a good reminder to get some salt into me when I was out !!!
Pushed on and couldnt believe my time – an 8 min PB in 1 hour 2 mins – yippppeeeee.

🚴 Bike – 5 hours 49 mins – 22nd out of 104 in AG.

The goal was to stay on the aeros!!! In 2014, I had to ride Ami 🚲 sideways to keep her on the road …so as you can imagine I was wrapt to be able to fly down Hawi!!
The MTC / Fluid crowd (Lynds, Jan, Lesley, Mel, Tony & Kim) were going off on Palani and then I saw the Grummit’s so I was pretty excited from the start, using the tail wind to my advantage for the short time.
As always once you hit Waikoloa the head wind sets in and you need to stay alert. There was a crash at the aid station so it was a little wake up call as well as a reminder to layer up on the sunscreen. I was applauded by my application whilst on the bike by a fellow AGer (not an easy task whilst juggling crosswinds!!)

When I got to the bottom of Hawi, I had seen most of the pros and shouted out to Bella (the only one I recognised – unlike BC who seemed to know who was who based on their colours and bikes !!). I got to the top of Hawi and saw BC as he was starting to descend. Only later did he tell me “here she comes but she can’t descend so I’ll be fine !!” Unbeknown to him I had some guts in me this day – no race wheels helped – and I took the descend all the way down on my aeros, chasing after him!!! Oh yeah !!!
On the way back I saw pistol and later the Agars (father, son team) along with Turia Pitt.
All was going to plan apart from some burning feet and a lost Bidon down Hawi. I saw Kimmy shout out – it was like seeing a mirage. Then team Grummit’s again which gave me a massive boost.

Before I knew it I caught up to BC – “Hello Zoe!!!” It was lovely to see his smiling face and we were on the homestretch. I then saw all the pros running out to the energy lab and a big cheer from the Coombes before hitting town which was going off !!!

🏃👟 Run – 3 hours 55 mins
Before I took off out of T2, I took time ensuring my head was in a good space. Often I get too excited and as it was really hot from no aid stations in the last 30 kms of the bike. I sat pondering then saw an ice bucket – go figure !!! I stuck my head in it and off I went !!

So the plan was to break the run down into 4 phases – only until Palani would I step it up. I saw the fluid crew down Ali’i drive – epic 👊💕🎉. It was so good to see the smiling faces of Lynds, Jan, Lesley, Kim, Mel, Tony and Donna (Brendan’s wife). I wanted to push it but wouldn’t allow myself as I wanted to save my energy for the lab! I saw BC on the way back and said hi to Pete although it was noisy due to the Helicopters as Rinny was coming through to the finish.

When I get to Palani – everyone was walking. I was surprised and disappointed for them. There was no way I was walking. The stubbornness was coming through. I could understand due to the heat but it was an opportunity to keep running up the hill with a reward for myself at the top – to find another bucket and dunk my head in it !!
Queen K was awesome – said hi to Crowie who was supporting And then later ran past Joey who realised it was me !!! Along with a few other friends including Meagan in my AG. We’d seen each other a lot this day and knew this wouldn’t be the last time so continued on after passing on some encouragement to her.
When I got to the energy lab I was feeling Sh!t. I wanted to throw up, my Achilles was sore and my back hurt. Funny that as it was around 26kms – the longest I’d run. Meagan ran past and offered her encouragement. I walked to special needs and prayed for something to help; it was like hitting the lottery. Voltaren and some lollies. You beauttyyyy. A quick hi to BC and told him wasn’t great but I knew I had to fight on!!!
On the way back it got cooler and I wanted to beat the sunset. I looked at my clock and knew it was doable. I didn’t stop and kept running like forest gump. I caught up to Meagan – after a little chat, she told me to go and I did. Before I knew it I was thinking of Mark Allen as I approached the last hill and I pushed on doing 430 pace!!
I flew down Palani and saw Pete Murray and gave him a, “high five”, then saw the fluid support crew and the Grummit’s and went for it !! …High fiving some of the crowd in the last few metres, I thought of Ferg and my girls and knew they would love me to do the blazeman roll which I did ❤️💕👊.

11 hours – 24 th in AG. A 45 minute PB 🎉

A massive thanks to my coach Foz (Sean Foster) – I feel lucky to call you my coach and friend. You don’t just provide a training program at fluid movements; its a second family to me and a program which provides FUN to TRAIN TO RACE 😀😘👍. Thanks Foz for believing in me and making my dreams come true. A 45 min PB – Yeah baby!!

To Peter Mack and Kim Taylor for helping me out with my accommodation in Kona, 1 week out to race day. If it wasn’t for you (with the support of my awesome Team manager, Lesley!) my experience of Kona second time round could of been very different and lonely.
It was great getting to know you girls, having some giggles and taking a step back to lap it all up.

To Jan and Peter and Brendan for so many giggles and a stress free week. Good times. Good friends. Memories for life.

To all the support crew out there on race day – Lynds, Jan, Lesley, Kim, Mel, Tony, Donna, Erika and Rob (& mini Grummits), The Coombes. It was lovely to share the experience with you. If it wasn’t for you, my experience would of been very different and I would of been homesick (and probably wouldn’t of achieved the result I did). Thank you so much.

To all my training buddies, thanks for making this journey a ripper.
To all the athletes who got through the day with the amazing support of the volunteers.

To my physio Cory Prout, for the walk/run program and day in, day out calf raises that got me across the line🙂

Finally and most importantly, my family – Ferg, Alyna and Molly. I love you guys so much and couldn’t do any of this without you. 💕🏅🙏😎.

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