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Kate Goulding Summer Butterflies

We are absolutely delighted to share Kate's Noosa Triathlon 2018 race report. We first met Kate back in 2014 as she was ripping up the local tri scene. Fast forward to 2018 and Kate's story cannot fail to inspire. Kate, we are in awe of you and the battles you openly face, all with such a positive spirit and will to persevere. Read on.

Kate racing circa 2015

Pic:  Kate racing circa 2015

Noosa Triathlon 2018

by Kate Goulding

So I haven’t done one of these for ages, particularly since I haven’t raced in a triathlon since December 2015. But this race was probably my most epic to date. I’ve done numerous sprint triathlons, 4 half IMs, 4 half marathons, 4 Olympic triathlons and lots of ocean swims but this race took all my mental strength.

I know people were worried about me. Especially, my partner Dustin. But I had the attitude that I wasn’t going to do anything stupid. If I needed to bail on the race I would, no matter how much I didn’t want to. I’d just have to listen to my body. I know a lot of people thought I was mildly crazy, but I can understand that. Even my awesome oncologist seemed a bit perplexed when I told him I was doing Noosa, but kudos to him, he said he’d support me in anything I wanted to do but he did warn me that my treatment would definitely slow me down...

This race was a big challenge for me because I’m still undergoing chemotherapy for stage 4 bowel cancer. You’re probably all aware of my back story, but for those of you who aren’t, in January 2017, at 31 years old and while training for my first Ironman, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. It had spread from my bowel to my liver. Two surgeries last year took care of those nasties so I entered Noosa thinking my treatment would be over by June this year. However, my post-Christmas present in January was that the innocuous lung nodule which we though was just a lung nodule, had sneakily replicated itself and sent off 15 little cancer babies throughout my lungs. Thankfully we spotted them when they were really small. Treatment is keeping them at bay but they haven’t buggered off and died yet, so fingers crossed for that...

Anyway, back to the race. Thankfully I had thought it wise to enter the Premium Mates wave to ensure that we had an early wave start at 6.33am (totally worth the extra money). I used to be a good swimmer, my technique is still good, but I’m not strong like I used to be. To make things worse the conditions were pretty awful. Usually Noosa Main Beach is a tropical mill pond but not on this day. The chop was up and the water was dirty. The start was clogged with people as usual, but I must say they were the least aggro wave I’ve experienced (the Mates and Smiddy’s are awesome). For the first time in a long while I started to panic a little bit. But I talked myself out of it, ‘You’re an ex-water polo player FFS, eat this up and get on with it’. So I did and eventually managed to get into a sort of rhythm with waves pushing me around but I found some space. There weren’t many sighting buoys so I went off course a little bit. I got lazy and started tailing some other swimmers, but we all nearly missed the last turning buoy and had to turn back out to sea to get around. Lucky we did, because a lot of people got disqualified for taking a short cut...

I finished my 1.5kms and stumbled up the beach. There was no way I was running up that sand. My legs were wobbly and I could picture myself rolling my ankle, that wouldn’t have been a good start. I got to the top of the sand and ran most of the way to transition. And there was my excellent friend Mel, waiting for me in transition to give me the motivation I needed to get on my bike. We waited for our other friend Vina to return from her swim and all left transition together. I knew I’d be busting a gut to keep up with them so I watched them take off in front of me while I treadled along. It had been so long since I raced that I didn’t have any rubber bands to tie my right shoe to my bike so it wouldn’t scrape on the ground. Well without one, both shoes dragged and I nearly had a stack at the dismount line, but somehow managed to cling onto my bike without causing myself a mischief.

A few weeks ago I went up to the Sunshine Coast for work. I stayed a couple of nights so that I could ride out to Garmin Hill and do some hill reps to put my mind at ease. I hadn’t seen that hill for nearly 5 years. The first rep was tough; the next two didn’t feel so bad. So I figured I could make it. Also, I think subconsciously, I haven’t put my bike computer on my bike because I feel like my body will tell me what I can do but the computer can’t. Seeing how slowly I was going probably wouldn’t have helped me mentally on the cycle leg. The ride out to the hill was slow and hot but uneventful. Then I hit the hill. Needless to say it felt a lot worse than it had a few weeks before. Chuck in a pretty nasty swim and some heat wave style temps and it was a different story. Thankfully, months ago I decided that I’d need all the motivation I could get from outside sources to help me get across the finish line. So Vina and I got Foher suits with our names written on our butts. They were a God-send, not only was the suit super comfy, but I had so many people yelling encouragement on and off-course. The number of people who yelled out ‘You can do it, Kate’, ‘One leg after the other, Kate’, ‘You’ve got this, Kate’, was so awesome. They saw me grinding up the hill and they got me to the top. The rest of the ride to the turnaround was pretty boring. Once I hit the turnaround I was happy that someone yelled out ‘It’s all downhill from here!’ And it mostly was. I love going downhills! I’ve never been afraid of descending, but I’m not afraid of much these days (given my current circumstances). But, it was my first serious descent on my TT bike so I was glad that it felt great and I didn’t feel the need to brake much. Still got it!! I coasted my way back to transition and dismounted my bike. Whoa, stiff legs. I mostly walked Pammy the P2 back to my rack in transition...and there was Mel, the champion she is, waiting to escort me on the run.

Kate nearing the end of a hot, hilly and windy ride at Noosa Triathlon

Pic: Kate coming into T2 after a hilly, hot and windy ride at Noosa Triathlon

I’m so lucky to have such excellent friends. Mel is a gem, and she’s got me through a lot. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to run much with the heat and my spiky heart rate. So we shuffled and walked and chatted and the time went pretty quickly. Mel even managed to talk me into running the last 1km of the run and it felt good! I wanted to stop when I hit the last bridge but my Tri Nation peeps were there to encourage me and I managed to keep going. Thanks guys! I know I’ve been AWOL for a long time and a lot of you probably don’t know who I am, but I really appreciated the encouragement. Thanks go to the Foher chicks on course as well. They were so encouraging as well even though they didn’t know me from a bar of soap. Cheers girls!

Smiling as always nearing the end of the Noosa Tri run

Pic: Kate toward the end of that hot badlands Noosa Tri run, looking cool as a cucumber!

I was about 1.5hrs slower than my 2:45hr PB, but that doesn’t matter right now. There were moments when I thought I couldn’t get to the finish, but I surprised myself. And the encouragement and support of my family, friends, spectators and encouraging competitors got me there. I thought that Noosa was going to be the hardest race I’ve ever done. But I never felt like I was going to pass out, which has happened a couple of times at HB100 and in a porta-loo (the horror) on the Mooloolaba run course in 2014. I think it took a lot of mental effort to get to the start line and then over the finish line but I’ve recovered really well so I think I could have pushed myself harder...though, it could be all the IV fluids and the steroids I got during my chemo session yesterday...

What Kate says...cause she said it best!

Pic: In Kate's own words (and we really hope she doesn't mind us sharing this)... but she says it best... 'Hooray! Suck chemo cancer... then go eat a d#ck and go f#ck yourself #cancersucks

Maybe I should sign up for another tri. Probably should go a bit smaller next time ; )

Love,

Kate xx



2 Comments

  • Leah says :
    Nov 15, 2018 at 05:20 PM
    Kate - you dead set legend! Eff you cancer indeed! I read this report through 3 times! Absolute champion!
  • Allyson Lindsay says :
    Nov 15, 2018 at 08:56 PM
    Kate- great race report. You are truly an inspiration! I ran into Vina in transition and she told me you were coming in soon - but I didn’t get back in time. I wish I’d seen you come in - that big smile of yours would have been amazing to see. I hope your kick cancers arse! Allyson x

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