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Anna Francis IM race report
CBD Cycles - 18/05/2011

Port Macquarie was my third and final race for the 2010 – 2011 season, after having raced Kona and then not much else since! It was therefore difficult to gauge where I was, in relation to some of my peers/competitors, but I had felt things were going well enough to improve on the IM of the previous year.

On arrival in Port Macquarie, we were greeted by less than ideal conditions. Whilst the rain hung around for all of Thursday and Friday, the sun reared its head on Saturday, making both athletes and supporters a little less apprehensive about the long Sunday ahead! On Sunday, we woke to a few clouds, and an increasing strong breeze, but it was dry, and Weather Zone said it would stay that way!

I managed to find myself a little spot on the inside, right at the front for the swim start, and was instructed by my coach, Julie Tedde to be aggressive to begin with, to get some fast feet. The water was beautiful, and with a smaller field, it was quite a pleasant swim! The times seemed to be slower than last year, but I was happy enough when I was told by spectators that I was the 9th female out of the water!

The wind had really started to pick up, and was going to make it a tough ride out to the turn around. I was having a bit of trouble keeping my HR low, and within about 30 minutes of the bike, I had watched 3 girls go past me like I was standing still, and had gone from 2nd to 5th in 30-34 in the blink of an eye. I was battling the wind, and a few demons, thinking my race is done, but I’m never going to give up mid race just because things are not quite as I planned… especially in an Ironman where early mistakes can pay, and I was hanging on that hope!

At about 130km into the bike, I found some rhythm and managed to maintain the distance behind my competitors, rather than allowing them to put more time into the gap. I felt much stronger, and now I was the one who was passing people! I came off the bike feeling good, and without too much fatigue, surprisingly! If I tried to race this, would I be able to reel a few of the girls in, or was I just going to make it a longer day for myself?? I decided to go with the flow, run to feel, and hope my patience in the bike leg paid off.

Julie was out on the run course giving me times to the person in front, and gradually I was creeping up on them. One by one, I managed to overtake 4th and 3rd, but I thought second was out of reach, when on lap 3, I saw I was still 6 minutes down. It was the final run up the hill at Town Beach that I finally managed to catch her, and hanging in there was so hard. The wind was still strong, and it was a horrible headwind coming back from the turn around. I had set out to run a 3:45 marathon, and on a day when times had been significantly slower, arriving in the finish chute, with a run PB, 2nd place in 30-34 and 12th female over the line was such a relief, and a great reward! It was the toughest IM I have done!

Thank you to Anthony from CBD Cycles who always puts my mind at ease, Danny O’Brien from PowerBar and all at Mizuno and Giant for providing me with their continued support. I’m looking forward to a season full of racing in 2011-2012!!!