Mirinda Carfrae’s Kona and casting forward
Annabel Luxford | Pics Delly Carr/ Phil Wrochna
Fist pumping the air after expelling a shot of beetroot juice, Mirinda ‘Rinny,’ Carfrae knew she was ready to take on the Big Island again. Perhaps no one, knew however, except Rinny, the dominance she would apply to her fifth assault on the World Championship.
Having woken to the rumbling of nerves deep in her stomach, before dawn peaked its head over Kailua Pier, Rinny quickly downed her toast and a shot of Beet Juice- the hottest new trend amongst endurance athletes. Many people would have been alarmed to find that they couldn’t keep their breakfast down, the morning before the toughest and most important day of their racing year. Not to mention the angst they may have felt at missing out on the purported miracle effects of beet juice. For Rinny, however, it was the best thing that could have happened. She knew it was there, the nerves and all important passion and drive that started with her first Noosa Triathlon in 2000. Nerves are something to be welcomed by Rinny.
‘It (nerves) are a reminder that is matters to me, that it’s important. The passion is still there. When it becomes a chore or a job, the nerves won’t be there. When I couldn’t care less, that is when it’s time to move on.’
Moving on doesn’t look like it will be on the horizon anytime soon for the quietly confident young woman. When asked about whether she was surprised at her performance in Kona, she matter-of-factly replied that she wasn’t.
‘In 2009, before my first attempt at Kona, I had a 2.50 marathon in mind. It was something that I felt I could do. I think girls should be running 2.50’s.
I think it will soon be the norm for girls to ride under 5 hours not just the exception. The sport has grown in popularity dramatically and professional athletes are coming from a larger pool. The bar can’t go anywhere but up, and it’s exciting to be a part of that.’
Indeed in the post -Chrissie (Wellington) years, and with a new course record, it will be exciting to see female professionals carve their way through the record books. Nevertheless despite her vision for the future of Kona, it might be some time before we see another woman dance their way through a marathon with as much grace and speed as Rinny.
With a course record ticked off, Rinny just has one more race to complete for the season, Ironman Florida, this weekend. Toeing the start line of an Ironman so soon after Kona, will ensure that Rinny validates for the 2014 World Championships. She can then rest easy, knowing that there is nothing on the horizon but offseason shenanigans and a December wedding.
‘Marrying my best friend will be the happiest day of my life, better than any race,’ said Mirinda.
Hearing Rinny’s plans for the offseason and her excitement for the impending wedding to Tim (O’Donnell), it is clear that they are just an ordinary couple of kids very much looking forward to spending their lives together.
‘We like to spend the off-season doing all the things we avoid doing or don’t have time to do, during the rest of year,’ said Rinny.
Riding their cross bikes or cruisers downtown in Boulder, sleeping in, staying up late, having that extra glass of their favourite Sonoma or Russian River (California) Cabernet Sauvignon or the impromptu Margarita were just a few of the things Rinny mentioned. Not swimming and home repairs were also on the agenda for the coming few months. Not your average couple from ‘Renovation Rescue’, the home repairs refers to an unmissable hole in the wall of their basement. 2012 off-season tomfoolery saw riding the cruiser on the treadmill take a turn for the worst. Fortunately it was only the wall that took a beating.
By the time off-season comes to a close and the 2014 race season begins, Rinny will be Mrs O’Donnell. When asked, if in a year from now, she is celebrating what a great year it has been, and what she hopes to have achieved in 2015, Rinny contemplated for only the briefest of seconds,
‘It will be a great year for me if I can have helped Tim realize his dream of winning Kona,’ she replied.
Perhaps there is no better start to a life together than a winning attitude like that.