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Wife to an Ironman

Natalie Moore

Adrian Moore - you are an Ironman” - the guy with the distinct voice yells through his microphone as my husband runs down the finishing chute to the finish line. So so proud of him! He did it, he achieved what most people think is impossible. He had a tough day completing this Cairns Ironman, unfortunately his nutrition and plans for the run did not go to plan, but that is what Ironman is about. It’s overcoming all adversity and pushing your body past the negative mental thoughts, the hurt in your legs, the exhaustion in your lungs just to get through the gruelling race to the ultimate finishing line. I speak only from a spectator watching from the outside and I can only imagine the hurt, the exhaustion and joy. An Ironman is not on my bucket list but I sure do get swept up in the emotion and elation of watching the athletes finish. If you ever get the chance to be at the finish line of an Ironman do yourself a favour and watch, it is so inspiring!

When my husband first said to me he was going to do an Ironman, I thought he was nuts. I couldn’t believe what he was thinking or saying! Are you crazy? For those that don’t know what an Ironman entails, it is a 3.8km swim, a 180km ride and finished off with a 42.2km marathon run. See nuts! But he signed up and his dedication to his training and competing in the event was nothing like I had seen. 

He completed his first Ironman in Melbourne, 2014. I was about 16 weeks pregnant at the time and the build up to this event was huge. The long training sessions were taxing and tiring to watch from an outsider, it was only imaginable how his body was feeling. He completed the event without a hitch, he was now an Ironman.

Fast forward to 2016 and my husband signed up to Cairns Ironman. I was pumped for him and excited but daunted at the prospect of him being absent for his training, because now we have an 18 month old. But I felt like going into this training, I knew what to expect and having seen the event understood completely. The training and consistent training at that is critical, so the thought of not supporting him was not an option. In fact, I’m sure I drove him crazy pumping him with recovery bites, protein shakes, smoothies, vegetables all to aid his training.

Ironman training is intense and that’s from an outsider looking in. It’s even more intense when you’re juggling everyday life with work, house chores, family and friends time and then throw in a terrible twos, losing her mind at anything, completely indecisive, tantrum throwing 18 month old. It sure was a juggle at times. And towards the end I was so relieved it was coming to an end. Its funny now the event has been and gone, this all seems a distant memory.

There are long lonely mornings on the weekends, as he rides from Port Melbourne to Sorrento and then faces up for a long run the next day. There are some boring, monotonous mid week nights, watching him on the wing trainer pushing out a training ride. But despite all of this, the thing that gets you through is the pride you have for this man, who is undertaking a massive feat to challenge his body, his mind and soul.

Now don’t let this post deter you from chasing your dreams and pushing yourself to your ultimate levels. Looking back on the past 4-6 months, although it felt long we both got through the gruelling training and I think if you can get through that, then the race is almost the easy part. It’s your reward for all of that hard work. It was not just his reward, but mine and my daughters reward because we got to witness him achieve this fantastic goal and it is so damn inspiring!! And it reiterates how powerful our minds, hearts and body’s are when you want something so bad. Although my daughter won’t remember this event, I’m sure somewhere it will resonate with her and she will soon understand what hard work is and how possible achieving your dreams can be.

Adrian’s race brief -

3:50am the alarm sounds, time get up and get prepped for the full day of exercise ahead. Being in Cairns meant we were all in a hotel room, so I had to tiptoe out of the room so I didn’t wake Natalie or my daughter.  I woke up feeling real good, the nerves hadn’t kicked in just yet.

I had to make my way to Palm Cove for the swim, so this was a long and quiet bus ride in. Once there, it was time to relax and take a bite to eat, 2 hours till the race start. I was waiting in anticipation for Nat and Amber to arrive from Cairns, The final best wishes and good luck was just what I needed to start the race. Wetsuit on and it was time to make my way to the start line.

Waiting at the start line, it was the Pros off first and then minutes later would be my turn. I was focused and mentally prepped for the swim ahead, 3.8km - its not my strong point, so I thought I've just got to get through this. I got away good considering the choppy conditions. It was just stroke after stroke, pushing through the water. My time was Ok, 1:22 hours. I was satisfied with my time given the conditions. No time to think about it now though, the bike awaited. 

Onto transition for the change over to the bike, the heavens had opened and the rain poured down. But there’s no time to dwell on it, I was already drenched from the swim and there’s a 180km ride ahead. Socks on, cletes on and off I go. The bike leg initially moved along OK with a strong tail wind, headed into Port Douglas. The tail wind which had aided my ride into Port Douglas, was now going to be my enemy as I turned around to head back towards Palm Cove. The bike leg was tough, roads were wet and the head wind was relentless for a fair chunk of the ride. Got into Cairns feeling good, two thirds of the way through now to embark on the run. Trouble is my body had another idea, as soon as I got off the bike both hamstrings seized up and cramped viciously. Shit I thought, I stretched to hopefully relieve the pain and started the run, I pushed through initially and got through the first 12kms OK, taking in as much nutrition as I could to try and replenish my body of what it had lost. It was no good, the cramps returned and as much as I tried to fight the pain, it got to the point where I had to stop, walking was not even an option. It was stretch after stretch. I mustered my energy to keep moving taking stride after stride, my mindset was to get to the next aid station, then I could walk while I take in coca-cola, water and ice.

It was a long slog, aid station after aid station. Luckily in between there were times where I would see Nat and Amber and my TEAM group, there was sense of joy to see them, but it also exacerbated my tiredness. I felt a level of comfort with Nat to tell her how stuffed I was as she ran along side me, carrying Amber for a few metres giving me every bit of encouragement to get me through.  The run leg at Cairns is a really good spectating course because you see your supporters numerous times throughout it and as much as it is just you and your thoughts, you feel you’re not alone when you see them.

I managed to push through the run and when I made the last turn knowing I had only 4kms to go, I shook hands with a fellow teammate, we congratulated each other - the end was near. The finish line dawned on me and I knew my girls would be there waiting for me. One last final turn and down the finishing chute I go, everyone cheering, high 5ing spectators on the side - you feel like a superstar chasing that line, so much excitement. I saw Nat and Amber briefly as I ran past, I was purely in the zone to get to that line that it’s hard to focus on who is around. But the words “you are an Ironman” rang through the air. Awesome, I had finished Cairns despite the hardness of the run - it was all worth it. All worth it for this final moment of joy. 

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