Gurye is a beautiful and unique tourist destination, located in the Southwest portion of Korea. The county's beautiful landscapes are popular for hiking during spring and autumn seasons. Gurye is also home to Korea's first national state park, which houses some of Korea’s most important temples such as Hwaeomsa, Cheoneunsa, and Yeongoksa.
Reduced swim leg: A morning thick fog hovered over Jiri-san Lake which delayed our 8am start till 9am. With almost zero visibility, the swim course was significantly reduced, I'm unsure of exact distance, I think around 1km. Pete Murray (well known Sports Commentator and Emcee of WTC & IM events throughout Asia Pacific) did an unbelievable job keeping all athletes, volunteers and event organisers entertained during the delay with hits including YMCA and other funky dance tunes 'Gangnam style'. WTC/Ironman Asia Pacific combined with local event organisers did an amazing job managing the circumstances and we were still given an opportunity to get wet as part of our triathlon experience.
A traditional 'Gong' featured as the start gun (that was pretty cool, adding to the Asian triathlon experience) and the pro swim wave was finally off, swimming into the mist and fog in hope of finding our first turn buoy! I did my best to stay near to the group, guided by their navigation skills being better than my own.
90km bike: I felt the bike course was honest and harder than how it was described and looked on paper with a mix of flats, undulations, long gradual climbs and local wind patterns. The road surface was smooth, overall a scenic and pretty ride through Guyre's country side. With the design of the course and a field of around 600 athletes, I was able to ride by myself. I do love my own space on the bike! :-) Ride as fast as I can was the goal, maximising every moment with what I had to work with. I was really happy with my High 5 and Salt Stick nutrition which is well dialed for 70.3 racing. Riding my Shiv has always been a highlight in the sport for me, aero is everything! The smiles and cheers from the local Korean community throughout the 90kms and at various aid stations all contributed to experience.
21km run: No run legs today. With limited training and race fitness going into the event my run really suffered. Slow, heavy, cramping and a pissed off left hip flexer. Things did improve in the later part of the run and I started to feel more comfortable.
The finish line - 2nd place female: I was extremely happy to finish the race :-) I gave the event the best crack I could based on a limited training block and what fitness I had on the day. That's all I can ever ask of myself so I feel I personally achieved and learnt a hell of a lot. Congratulations to Katy on a strong performance, a consistent race throughout and her first 70.3 win. A well deserved result and with Katy's improvement & potential, I am excited to see her continue to develop in the sport. It was also great to race with Emi Sakai once again, her big smile all day a highlight.
As background, since the Philippines 70.3 in August, its been a challenging period to maintain a consistent training routine and build race fitness. We're all human, that's living life. A hamstring injury, a bad case of the flu, then an ugly fall running which took a heap of skin off my knees, swelling the size of a football, bruising and bursitis. I couldn't walk properly a week out from this race. My body and immune system is still showing signs it's not firing properly yet, but getting there. With improvement each day and the encouragement from my coach Grant Giles and support team here in Sydney including friends, family and my husband Nigel, I still felt it was important to go to Korea. There is something you can learn from every experience and I'm so glad I made the choice to go and make the most of it.
Nigel did however play his trump card just before I left for Korea with an over enthusiastic ride around Manly Dam on his brand new Specialized Enduro mountain bike. He was really unlucky with his own fall which cost a broken arm and quite a lot of skin off. We've been fortunate with the GP and Orthopaedic Specialists here in Sydney and Nigel is improving every day and learning to really love the bike trainer on our balcony :-)
I'd also like to thank the event organisers behind Ironman 70.3 Korea for making me feel so welcome and the opportunity to be involved and race the event.
Loving the warmer weather in Sydney right now with spring season and summer around the corner. Looking forward to building and improving my fitness from here and the next challenge ahead. Onwards and upwards!