Mel Brunker has decided to take on a long-course Ironman triathlon this year. She has been in training for a number of months building up her fitness, strength and abilities this is not a distance you can take on without lots of training and some race experience under your belt!
Full of enthusiasm (or we could say slightly addicted!) Mel has already completed three Ironman 70.3 triathlons. These triathlons are half the distance of the full Ironman triathlons- 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21.1km run a bucket list in themselves for many people. Sunshine Coast, Port Macquarie and Forster went well, with every race a lesson in itself, but her fourth attempt at the distance in December at Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney proved to be huge learning experience!
Im not very good at tapering or carb loading. I always seem to worry that I will undo all my hard training, not fit into my triathlon attire on race day, not take on enough nutrition for fueling and somehow manage to forget how to swim, ride and run all in a matter of a few days of rest.
My race in Western Sydney made it quite apparent that I need to listen to my body a lot better! I tried a different carb-loading plan, which left me feeling quite ill race morning, so I was unable to have breakfast beforehand and only managed some water and a gel. I cramped up slightly in the swim, jumped on the bike and had a great ride, enjoyed the whole course and had one of my best rides, a fast (for me) transition and was out running feeling fantastic until I hit about the 8km
I stupidly decided to wear different shoes, and not tape my knee which my physio has suggested and I paid badly for it. My knee, that I have had a few issues with, completely seized upI was absolutely devastated. I tried to ignore the pain hoping it would settle down, but it only continued to get worse until the point that I was stopping every 30 seconds to try and stretch, squat, twist, shake, massageanything I thought of to ease the pain. I struggled on until 13km, by which stage it was giving out, and I couldn't bend it. I stopped, swore, cried, swore some more, and decided that enough was enough.
I was so upset, Ive always said to my kids that you never give up, no matter what, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger -, but I had to think of the bigger picture. Race day throws plenty of curve balls, and this time I didn't make this finish line.
Back home, I decided that I needed to take some time off to let me body recover, get quality rest and nutrition and take plenty of Rose- Hip Vital over the Christmas break!
I have always incorporated Rose- Hip Vital into my routine to help combat the many niggles of training overload but I had run out so wasn't being consistent with taking it. The end of the year is busy for any family and fitting in my training and racing along with everything else meant I wasn't listening to my body and I was neglecting recovery and prevention measures which are essential.
So, I enjoyed Christmas and summer holidays with the kids its my absolute favourite time of the year. I still trained lightly I cant not! The focus was on strength work to prepare for the next big adventure. February is here. I am off to my first Ironman 70.3 for 2016 and looking ahead to Ironman Cairns in June. I have to make that finish line, whatever it takes!
We wish Mel all the best this weekend at her next race in Geelong. Stay tuned for a series from Mel giving her tips and experience on her journey to Ironman Cairns! Follow Mel on Instagram @mel.brunker