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Graham O'Grady - Tauranga Half Ironman 2014


What a week, things were on track to have another cracker race at the 25th Port of Tauranga Half Ironman, training was good, tapering was better and I was looking forward to racing again. My partner and I made our way to the Mount on Thursday to give me a couple of days to settle in before the big day. We were expecting our first child on the 12th and from what we were told it was likely that she would more likely be overdue than early…we thought we were safe with me racing on the 4th and then gearing up for the change our life was about to take. Well the big day had a different meaning with labour kicking off on Friday morning, so we were off to the Waikato hospital and at 5:55pm our little girl Pepper O'Grady was born. It was the most amazing thing and I am a very proud dad.

The only thing is that I still had a race the next morning, I wanted to race but wasn't going to head there if my family wasn't up to me leaving for the day, but Tash had other thoughts about that and was adamant that I was going to get my butt on that start line no matter what! Well I didn't need an alarm to wake me up at three in the morning to drive back to the Mount; I only had a couple of hours sleep with not being able to take my eyes of this gorgeous little girl in our room.

It was a kind of surreal feeling being at the race, trying to focus on racing but then being so happy about being a dad and wanting to talk to everyone about it. Well I made it into the water to warm up and was thinking the faster I go the faster I get home!

The swim didn't start how I would have liked, I managed to get a small lead after the first 750m lap but I felt like I was swimming in sand with my eyes closed and the little gap I had stayed the same heading into transition. It's a long race I thought to myself and tried to get the legs going on the bike. Well my body wasn't having a bar of that and as the ride progressed I got slower and slower. I still managed to come off the bike in 4thbut miles out of contention for the win, I thought surely one out of the three disciplines would go ok but it seemed the events and emotions of the past 24hrs had finally taken its toll and just wiped me out, I decided it was going to have to be enough to just make it to the finish.

The support in Tauranga was totally amazing, I have never experienced anything like it, so many people cheering me on, calling out go daddy, well done and that gave me such a lift that I was determined to get to the finish and then home to my new family.

So things are settling down now, I am feeling back to my normal self, I have smoked a couple of sessions the last couple of days and things are back on track. The family is doing great and I am over the moon.

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