Overcoming barriers and expectation to get the job done

It’s hard to know where to start when writing about my Cairns experience as I had mixed feelings about competing, but three days later I look back with great memories and a sense of achievement. Yet again Ironman has been a learning experience,  a lesson in mind control and how to face your fears.

Team Winwood

After watching what I went through in previous races and knowing I was using Ironman Races to help raise awareness for Organ and Tissue donation many of our family decided to join us in Cairns. My parents, brothers and sisters in law and Leanne’s son Ryan, were all here.  Many of our other family and friends would be following our progress via Ironman Live. We received great media coverage pre race with local TV stations Win News, Seven News and The Cairns Post covering our story, this turned out to be invaluable to me come race day .

I felt a lot of pressure to complete the race as Team Winwood had spent a lot of money to come to see us race and I knew that logistically it was hard to get everyone together in the one spot at the one time, it’s hard enough to organising a family dinner.


I have to admit I struggled mentally and physically in the lead up to Cairns.  In hindsight, it was probably too soon after Melbourne for Leanne and I as we don’t do a great quantity of racing, so back to back Ironman events was always going to test us mentally.

We arrived in Cairns to find windy weather which made the swim location very rough and difficult for practice. Leanne was still coming to terms with what she went through with her swim in Melbourne and didn’t need to see the waves thundering onto the beach at Palm Cove. I was just mentally tired from ten months of hard training.  This would be my third race in that time and the realisation of putting myself through another 16 hours of pain wasn’t overly appealing.  While many competitors are having to put in the same or more hours than me the constant breathlessness that goes with my training does wear me down.  I think if we didn’t have so many family coming to Cairns I may well have pulled out.

Whilst my first Ironman race at Port Macquarie will always hold a special memory as it was physically and emotionally very draining and something I could never imagine completing.  I’ve taken a lot of satisfaction from Cairns Ironman due to the physiological battle that was raging inside of me.

How do I get my head around this

Saturday, race eve we had a nice day catching up with our coach Toby Somerville and fellow competitors from Bayside Multisport Triathlon Club as well as Zoe Williams who I’d come across via my blogs.  We met Jeff Gillies and Pete Murray from Ironman , Jeff was organising a nice race day surprise for my parents.  We had an early dinner with some the members of Team Winwood who had arrived in Cairns and then off to bed.

I fell asleep pretty easily but awoke at 12:30am to the wind whistling through the building outside.  All that was going through my mind is I don’t want to do this, maybe the weather will be bad enough for the race to be cancelled ?  From then till 4am I tossed and turned with the same thoughts running through my mind and no matter how much I tried I couldn’t get my head around what lay ahead.

With that said I knew if I let on to Leanne what was going on in my head, things would get a whole lot worse as Leanne was having her own battles.

Zoe Williams

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