Emma Peterson Ballarat 70.3 Race Report

One year ago Emma completed the first Beginner Triathlon Course with TriChicks, last weekend she completed her first Half Ironman. Check out her race report below: 

“It’s not the destination but the journey”. This soon became very clear at approx week 12 of 16 week HIM program.  I struggled to cope with the hours I was required to invest in training combined with my workload (day job) and a stressful environment.  Melt down complete and a weekend away with the girls in Ballarat and I was back on track.  The ups and down I discovered were normal.  I would not give up and embraced the hustle mentality of pushing forwards (This ultimately put me in good stead for the big day).    A muscle tear in my quad a couple of weeks later another set-back yet I remained positive that all would come good – and luckily it did.

Race day – Here it is….

Swim Leg – Lake Wendouree

My weakest leg, conditions favourable – Amy claimed it was flat as a pancake…I could see many ripples and smallish waves however I was happy.  It was not long prior to the race that all familiar knot developed in my stomach (the nerves associated with the swim leg). The swim was a deep water start in a freshwater inland lake.   As we lined up to enter the water, a woman in front of me was crying (almost sobbing) in fear and other triathletes comforting her.  My thoughts were gosh is it that bad...and that’s the switch I needed mentally to get in there and enjoy it.

The swim course was almost an out and back with a bit of a diagonal return at the end, an Olympic rowing course which had guide ropes under the water.  I did not receive the benefit as decided to swim wide to try and avoid the many bodies overtaking, this seemed to work ok.  Swim was long!  I found my mind wandering and had to snap out of it many times – not a leisurely swim in the lake – but a race! Go Faster!

I struggled with sighting on the way back in towards exit, it is a bit of blur now and not sure whether it was fog in goggles or sun, however I came in even wider yet I was sure I was following buoys on my right hand side – I didn’t care was just glad to get out, and swim leg done. No leeches!

Final Swim Split: 40:08 minutes

Swim to Bike Transition

Was a little different for me, as I had many clothes/accessories.  I was unsure on weather, and did not want to be wet/cold on the ride so laid out half a wardrobe.  I decided pre-race to wear my lucky cycle socks, not practical to put on quickly… First time ever in transition I took the time to sit on my arse and put my shoes and socks on.  But hey my feet were dry and I was feeling lucky.

Cycle Leg

And I’m away....Silly error by me, not zipping up my cycle jersey therefore flapping around causing distraction/drag… what was I thinking!?  Pulled over to sort out the wardrobe then off I went again.

The bike course was great.  The first few km’s were very bumpy through Victoria Park, no opportunity for aero however time to settle and commence intake of carbs.   Through the avenue of honour we experienced a strong tail wind, this is where my race plan went out the window.  I knew to expect a head wind coming back the other way, and my plan was to reserve energy.  However the adrenalin was pumping and I wanted to give it my all.   At times I reached mid 50kms, however it certainly got tough coming the other way reducing speed significantly.   At times I questioned ‘would I have any legs left for the run’, however I would quickly dismiss backing myself.

To get through this winds I would celebrate taking over the men, and count down the women.  In my mind I was last out of the water and making ground from ‘last position’, counting one by one.

Two laps and done.  Loved it, feeling good. Final Bike Split : 2 hours 55 minutes 54 seconds.

Bike to Run Transition –

No sitting down this time. Out lightning fast before a race marshal sent me back as forgot my race belt.  Grrrr all good at least I wasn’t half way around the lake.

Run Leg - 

Two legs down just a half marathon to go.  The run course was a 3 lap run around Lake Wendouree with a bit of a branch off to get the lap distance up to 7km.  Race plan for leg involved easing myself into lap 1, accelerate for lap 2 before sustaining an effort for final lap.  Again plan out the window. I had Amy’s voice in my head telling me to walk through each aid station and take it easy… I was in race mode, focused, and wanted to give it my all… no walking for me…instead crazy first timer running through splashing water/electrolytes everywhere…

I felt good and wanted to continue to dig deep.   The support along the leg was incredible, random people stationed along the course with cheers, fellow athletes passing with words of encouragement.  My mind wandered to where Gem, Helena and Alex were at, I had not seen them all day and it gave me comfort they too were slogging their guts outs.  I looked forward to approaching the tents and seeing the tri chicks support crew.  It gave me a focus point for each lap.  I loved that I could laugh and enjoy the antics and cheers.

The last ½ lap definitely involved some mental toughness.  “Your mind will quit 1000 times before your body does” was running through my head.  My quad hurt, both hips, IT band, left knee it was all going to shit but my gut was good! And I had only 5km more!

I ran past the Tri Chicks crew for the final time and down the shute.  This was one of the most incredible experiences and an emotional one.

 As soon as I crossed the line I felt such a sense of achievement, I was so proud that I gave it my all and left nothing in the tank.   Even more so to see Bayley and know she too was proud of my achievement.   16 weeks of hardwork, commitment, sweat and tears had come to this moment.  What a feeling!! 

Final Run Split: 1:48:59

Overall Time: 5:29: 55


The most special thing about my first half Ironman was my team mates who made it possible.  They carried me over the journey at times, they were the ones who knew the pain but would keep telling me I could do it.   They trained with me consistently, and we had so many laughs. Thank-you!

I had no gut issues on the day, nutrient right and believe my week leading to the race was spot on with stretching twice a day, bed by 9.30pm.  Post Noosa celebrations I had fuelled my body well, minimal fat, no hot chips/crisps, not alcohol and high levels of protein - these are all the one percenters which contributed to a good day out.

Thankyou Amy for allowing me to share this experience.  My advice is you can achieve anything you set your mind to.  I was a beginner a year ago and never thought I could achieve so much in the space of a year.   Train hard, train harder and appreciate each other and the environment we train in.