Lizzie Welborn – 2x Survivor of the Channel of Bones
“Half way through everyone hit this massive channel pushing back to Molokai. It was supposed to swing, but it didn’t.” It was Lizzie Welborn’s second shot at the infamous Molokai 2 Oahu, and as tends to happen in these waters, things went from pleasant to treacherous in a matter of seconds.
“The first 25 kilometres were great,” Lizzie says. “We were practically surfing the whole way. But it’s called the Channel of Bones because it’s so deep. It’s taken lives.
I was doing five and a half mins per km, and then in the second half it went six and a half, seven, and then finally I was doing eight minute kms. You feel like you’re not moving.”
This year Lizzie competed in her second Molokai 2 Oahu, the 52km Island crossing that’s considered the World Championship of board paddling. And despite an unfavourable second half, she finished in second place for the second year running. Quite the feat considering the Sydney surf Ironwoman is still only 19. Speaking to Lizzie, she’s clearly succumbed to the allure of the race, and when asked if there will be a third attempt, her “yes” is quick and sure. “It’s 700m deep, and the water looks purple it’s so blue and clear. That’s why people go back,” she says.
“It’s incredible. You start off in a pack of 100, but after an hour you’re by yourself. It’s pretty cool.”
When it comes to preparing for Molokai, Lizzie says that it’s a logistical nightmare. Molokai itself is little more than a sandy atoll, so all food for the race needs to be ready to go the day before and taken over.
“For long races my body works on a carbo load, but you need protein as well,” Lizzie says. “That’s where Blue Dinosaur Protein bars are great.
I had fried rice and pasta in containers that I took with me, and Weet-Bix from Australia. During the race I have gels and drink a lot of water—five or six litres—and electrolytes because it’s so hot.” Post-race Lizzie says it’s all about doing the little things to aid recovery, although she admits that she crashed after this year’s race and was “tired for two weeks.”
Post Molokai it’s straight into preparation for the pinnacle of Lizzie’s year, the Nutrigrain Iron Woman series. And this year she’s gunning for the podium. “I made the top six last year, which is a PB,” she says. “It’s the title everyone wants to win, but I would be so stoked with a top three finish this year.” As for her on going nutrition and diet, Lizzie says that with a busy schedule, it’s all about doing the best you can. “I don’t follow anything in particular,” she says. “I just aim to eat as well as I can. Fresh and simple,” before adding, “I also feel like cheat days are a necessity for living.” What did she eat after this year’s gruelling Molokai paddle? “Waffles with chocolate sauce.”