Charlotte Paul wins Half Ironman in Australia

charlotte paulHi everyone

Good news!
On Sunday I became the Port Macquarie Half Ironman Champion of 2007, and in doing so claimed my first Professional victory!
I am so happy that things went so well for me, and that all the hard work paid off.
It’s also a big relief to get a win under the belt after so many 2nds and 3rds.
I took all the lessons I learned from my Hawaii experience and just had a great race, winning both the bike and run primes in the process.

I decided to race a week before, and really only because I was going to be there anyway supporting Kristian. And John suggested “Why not”!
My main focus is Ironman Western Australia in just 4 weeks time, so this was to be a training exercise in racing- if you know what I mean!

So to get me fired up, on the advice of friends, I watched Rocky III and IV on Saturday!
They did the trick- I had lines from the movie buzzing through my head-
“No pain” “There is no tomorrow” “you will have to kill me first”
The acting is atrocious but the message is clear- Rocky is tough as nails and nothing will stop him from winning.

I also put myself in what I thought was the best position for the swim start- at the front and in the middle.
There was to be no getting left behind this time. It was a rough swim in terms of feisty age group men, but I survived and came out in a super quick time of 24.52, only 40 seconds off the lead pro female.

Onto the bike I followed my plan of really riding as hard as I could. I wanted to catch Lisa Marangon and stay with her, as I expected her to be pushing the pace at the front.
At the first turnaround (22kms) I was just a minute behind and this filled me with confidence.
However coming back into town through the brutal rollers I was struggling to maintain any kind of rhythm.
I was starting to regret the brick session I had done on Thursday night! 🙂
By the 45km mark and end of lap 1 Lisa had gained an extra 2 minutes on me.
I remained focused and made sure the nutrition was on track. I worked hard and just kept going and I think at the final turn at 67kms she had only gained one more minute.
I was confident that the maximum lead she would get onto the run would be 5 minutes. I did the usual maths- if she runs this…and I run that…It’s always risky, but I thought I could do it.
I was pretty happy with my bike time of 2.36 on a challenging course.

Another great reason to race was to have another chance to practice nutrition. I used HiFive’s “e-source” for the first time in a race.
Well it tasted great and I had no stomach problems. It’s a big relief to get the 4th leg right!

Coming into town and towards T2 I see Lisa heading out of the penalty box! Well I had to smile.

So heading onto the run was a new experience for me. I passed Lisa within the first km, and was now in the lead. I was just thinking “don’t blow it”.
I have raced so many Ironmans this year that I have that “its not over till you cross the line” mentality. Things can go wrong.
So I was super conscious of getting my nutrition in, and maintaining a constant pace.
Being in the lead felt fantastic!
But I didn’t dare lose my focus, so I didn’t even crack a smile until I was inside the last few km, when a friend yelled “it’s yours, enjoy it”, and I relaxed a bit.

It was an incredible feeling after a year of so many “coulda, shoulda, but didn’ts”. It really makes everything worthwhile, and being my first victory an experience I won’t ever forget.

Kristian was waiting for me at the finish and gave me a big hug. I was quite emotional!
And I said to him “ I did it”.

But it really is a “we” did it.
I did it with the full support of Kristian, who has always believed in me more than me:) He also had a breakthrough race, coming 3rd in his age group in 4.25.
My parents, who even though on the other side of the world, support and encourage me.
John Mergler who has transformed my riding to a totally new level. His experience and advice have been invaluable.
My training partners in TriSpecific, whose company and support I value so much.
And all my sponsors who support me and help me in so many crucial ways;

Hypo2
Performance Health Newport
Zipp Speed Weaponry
HiFive
Trigger Point Technologies
Compex Australia
Kestrel
Clarence St Cyclery
Nineteen Wetsuits
Rudy Project

Continental
Nike Running

Now I am holding onto the feeling of winning and will go into Ironman Western Australia knowing what it takes…
Hard work, determination and focus.

Thank you all.
A very happy…
Charlotte

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