Nga Milner-Olsen has been learning to ‘feel comfortable in the uncomfortable’ as she trains for the Taupo IronMan race in March 2016. Here she runs, bikes and swims us through the recent IronMaori race, where she took out first place.
Last Saturday 5th December I completed my third IronMāori Half Ironman race.
We arrived two days before race day, now I have a 2 1/2 year old baby to consider when preparing for my events now, so we find it easier to go up early to settle her in.
Friday before race day:
I complete a short brick session – I usually like to do this at the same time as race day start time so I headed to the pond at 6.15am to do my 10min Swim, 20min Bike and 10min Run – this is to stimulate my muscles, wake my body up and get a feel of a few race efforts within each discipline.
After this session it’s all about rest, good nutrition and hydration and spending time with my family.
What an amazing feeling arriving at Transition with 2,100 other athletes from all nationalities, abilities, shapes and sizes ready to tackle 2k, swim, 90k, bike and 21k run. The morning was absolutely stunning, the air was fresh, the pond was still and calm the atmosphere confirmed to me why IronMāori is a magical event. This is by no means an easy event the distances are the same as any other half distance race in the world, but what makes this event unique is the support, encouragement and help you will receive from people you don’t even know – a place where people are only too happy to help and assist.
Early race start 6.15am – I was feeling a little nervous which for me is a good sign; I like nerves as they keep me in check.
Our wave got to head off first, my goal was to try and stay with the front bunch and hold onto some feet, this was ok for the first 200m then the bunch was a bit crowded so I decided to find clear water and swim on my own which I found was a good decision as I had a clear swim for the rest of lap 1. By lap two the rest of the individuals were in the water which made it hard to sight the buoys as they all had orange caps on which was the same colour of the buoys, this meant I had to sight more often to ensure I was on course. Lap 2 was strong and I managed to maintain the intensity for the final lap. I came out of the water in 7th place of the women in a time of 26.17sec for 2km swim.
Transitioning onto the bike, I had my supporters calling out my placing and how many minutes I was down, I like this feedback as it keeps me in check. I was determined when I got on my bike, but I kept to my bike goal – to ride consistently throughout the whole stage trying not to spike and burn too much energy. I felt good heading out to the halfway mark and made sure I fuelled up and hydrated regularly especially with the heat as I haven’t had too many opportunities to train in warm weather. I broke my ride down into 4 sections and manged to hit each section on time. Heading back on the second half I felt good, my hydration and nutrition was working, and I approached T2 in 1st place woman off the bike in a time of 2.43.30sec including T2 – I was happy to have slowly worked my way through the top swimmers to come off the bike in this position.
Heading out onto the run I knew this was going to be a hot run as the sun was out strong, the first 20mins I tried to find a good rhythm, I had a pace to stick to which I managed to hold until the wind picked up on the third and fourth lap heading out, but once we turned to come back I was able to pick up again with the wind behind me. Overall happy with how I executed the run segment – finishing in 1st Place Female, with a run time of 1.39.31sec.
Overall I was happy with how I executed this race, the things I wanted to work on from my last race I can say I achieved – maintaining intensity, staying in the moment, racing my race and I focused on the process and let the outcome take care of itself. I always come away with things to improve on, these would be:
- Work on my swim start and continue to build my swim conditioning – I’m not a strong swimmer but I will do my best to come out as quick as I can so I’m not too far back in the pack, heading out on the bike.
- Work on my bike strength, being able to hold a consistent workload for 5-6 hours on the bike leading up to IronMan which is my next race.
- Work on my running strength, my background is short and fast – I’ve had to learn to slow down and control my pace over a longer distance. This is coming and know that I have a lot more conditioning to do over the next 2 months.
All in all happy with where my conditioning is at, at this stage leading up to IronMan Taupo in March 2016 – another step closer to my end goal.
My coach Kevin Nicholson shared a great saying with me: “Learn to feel more comfortable being in the uncomfortable”.
Overall Time 4.49.18sec Overall Female Winner