Monday, 15 May 2017

Yokoahama WTS





Leading into Yokohama, I was training down in Canberra apart of a sleep high/sleep low carbohydrate study based out of the Australian Institute of Sport. It gave me an interesting insight into my daily nutrition and how to fuel pre/post session. More than anything I realised how mentally ingrained certain habits are e.g. fuelling post session.  Although we were a part of this study, we incorporated normal training and specific Yokohama sessions. Being based out of Canberra, I am very grateful for the use of the world class facilities and the amazing training grounds Canberra has to offer. It is the best place I have trained and I look forward to going back hopefully in the future to make the most of it. With a month in Canberra, I gained consistency in our weekly training which gave me a great indicator of my form and the opportunity to go into Yokohama with a positive mentality looking towards the race.










My last time in Yokohama was in 2013 which felt like yesterday when I landed into the land of the rising sun. Unfortunately, the sun decided not to rise for us on race day and the rain started to pour down. I know a lot of people lose sight of processes when the heavens decide to open up and I know that myself when I crashed here in 2013 on slippery white lines. I decided to stay out of the water for warm up and keep warm. Most people lined up to the right on the pontoon and I followed the trend. I always know when the pace is on, when we are in single file but to be honest, I actually couldn’t see a thing because my goggles fogged up. I dove back in for the 2nd lap and found myself sitting on Flora Duffy feet for the rest of the swim. I exited the water in 6th position and the only thought going through my head was “that’s your race right there”.  




After you jump on your bike, those first few km’s are the critical moments to get on or get left in no man’s land. I didn’t have my feet in my shoes for ages but I got on good wheels and found myself in a small chase group behind the two leaders. The roads were wet and Yokohama is known for its love of zebra crossings on every corner. I was constantly reciting the basics in my head of pressure on your outside foot, break going into corner; not around and looking through the corner. Our group was constantly changing throughout the ride with people hitting in the deck on the same corner on the new part of the course. I was lucky that I found myself in a good position every time to have enough time to react and get around the chaos. I was actually so happy to finish the 9 lap course upright and I felt like I had this weight lifted off my shoulders.




In Canberra, we did three performance trials where we did a specific ergo session and a run off the bike on the track. Although this session was by far the hardest, it was perfect stimulation for the race ahead and I enjoyed pushing myself. I knew we had a pretty decent time gap to the big group behind us but this never means the race is over. I wanted to run strong and keep my form under fatigue. The girls went out fast but I kept to myself and wanted to do my best work in the back end of my race. I lost of one of my gels in the race so I didn’t know if my nutrition was going to affect me. I kept ticking away and by the third lap I had caught three girls in front of me. The u turn on the run course was a good chance to see where people were. After just hitting my final lap, I got over taken by three girls from the group behind us but with not much running to go, I knew I had it in me to have a solid end result. I kept pushing all the way to the line for a sprint finish for 10th place. It’s been a long time coming but I am excited to put the hard work on show and have a consistent race. This definitely makes me hungry for more and I am looking forward to the races to come.


Photo Credit- Etienne Van Rensburg





Monday, 10 April 2017

Gold Coast WTS









I remember going on my break last year in November and thinking I had ages till the big dance. Well that came around too fast... Before I knew it, the processes were in place and the work was done.  I was exhausted after Mooloolaba World Cup and needed some down time to recuperate. In saying that, it's actually been a really progressive month with a lot of goals being ticked off and new ones to be set in place.







Gold Coast meant a lot for the Australians as the first Australian in the top 10 was an auto nomination for the Commonwealth Games. I stood on the start line on Saturday with a focus - being engaged and bold. With a low start number, I didn't have much choice of where I started on the pontoon and ending up far left was not ideal. The water was super choppy and we were swimming with the current to the first buoy. I had clear water for the first minute or so and that was the end of it. I have now experienced what it is like being caught up in the chaos of being mid pack. I was drowned, hit, pulled on and I actually thought I was dead last. When I did get some free space, I felt like everyone else was standing still and I was moving past them so fast. I am a little disappointed I didn't get to showcase how well I have been swimming but that's racing and you can't control the uncontrollable.











I was desperate out of T1 and knew I needed to ride hard for the first few kms to get on the front group. It was tougher than I am use to because I was coming from such an uncomfortable experience in the swim. Within the half of the first lap I had worked my way up to a comfortable position within the first group. Riding the course the day before, I had no qualms and knew I just had to ride confidently and smart. Simple. On the 2nd lap at the back u turn, I had two athletes crash in front of me and I was a couple of cm’s away from running over her head. That was a really critical moment for me because I could see the group just up the road and knew we had to get back on. I was saying my prayers. Unfortunately the chase group caught us with a lap to go which contained a lot of the runners within the field. I tried to keep up the front of the group and entered transition in a good position.





The previous weekend I did a 5km fun run in Wollongong as part of my preparation for the WTS Gold Coast. I really wanted to transfer what I did there under fatigue to race day. My run has come a long way and it's a work in progress but it's getting there. Cadence under fatigue has been my main task and focus and I think I executed that well. The girls were fast and I finished the day after a sprint finish in 20th place.





I am happy, healthy and ready to have a consistent year in 2017 at that top level of racing. Next up is WTS Yokohama at the start of May!!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Mooloolaba World Cup




The base miles have been done and the race season is underway again. From my last blog post of the year in 2016, I quoted this " It's not about perfect. It's about effort. And when you bring that effort everyday, that's when transformation happens. That's how change happens ". I have taken this as a motto for this year and in the past few months I have had some good consistency in my training. Being at home and a change of scenery in Canberra last month were both great opportunities to cement consistent work.

 

Coming into Mooloolaba World Cup, I knew what the course and the conditions were like from previous years. The days before the race, the waves were bigger and dumpier and I came out with half of the beach in my costumes. We had been practicing a lot in Wollongong with ins and outs in the surf and I knew I just had to do the same thing on race day to execute this well. I had to be bold, not afraid.

 


The swim was really comfortable. I have been swimming some of my best times consistently and every week I have been seeing small improves even under fatigue. I settled into 2nd place and I was sitting here for most of the swim. After the last buoy, I knew it was important to get up on the hip or draw even so that I didn't miss the opportunity to be on the same wave as the other girls. I actually got a fairly decent wave and ran hard up the sand to transition. My key was to be desperate out of transition and work hard so I could put myself in the race from the start.

 
During the ride most of the girls in our group pulled their weight and rolled through well to keep gaining more time on the next group.  The ride is always tough in Mooloolaba with the constant up and down over the hill 8 times mixed with the heat and wind.

 

 I got off my bike and I didn't feel very flash at all. The hot water and then the heat on the bike had really knocked me around. If you have ever experienced it and I remember the same thing in Cozumel World Championships, your body goes into this survival mode. You have no change of pace or any feeling really. You just put all your focus on getting to the finish line. I started getting goosebumps which I know is not a good sign. It's a bit disappointing not being able to put a good back end to the race +but I am already excited to stand on the start line again. The work and the processes are there and I know I have 3 more weeks of work before WTS Gold Coast which is the first step in automatic selection for Commonwealth Games in 2018.

 

 

 

 Thanks for photos Delly Carr and Witsup!

 
 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

It’s not about perfect. Its about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day that’s when transformation happens. That’s how change happens!


 


Arriving back from Noosa, I reset my mind into 27 days of hard work before 70.3 Western Sydney. I sat down with my computer with training peaks infront of me and put in everything I knew I had to do, to be best prepared for race day. Having already been on my TT for the last month, I didn’t have to change my training around too much. I was excited and motivated to dip my toes back into the long distance triathlon scene with it being something that I wish to pursue more regularly in the near future.


To break up the month of training, I headed to Hamilton Island for the first time as an ambassador for the triathlon and ocean swim. I decided not to taper as I wanted to go in fatigued under a week of training stress. It was definitely pain in paradise as I never expected the course to be so hilly. It’s such an iconic race with riding on the airport runaway a standout feature. The smaller race atmosphere makes it a great community event and I was happy to take the win. Next day, I backed up and won the 2km ocean swim. Thanks to Stephen Jackson for a great weekend and looking after us so well at the event and with other things to do on the island. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to go back next year!









Three weeks of hard training went by so fast! I was happy with how diligently I kept to my weekly training plan and I got under my belt 3 weeks of consistent training. I have perfect training grounds at home with a 30km stretch of road one way with one set of traffic lights, gravel trails to do my long tempo runs on and my awesome sponsor Aquafit gym where I swim and do my gym program. I train the best when I am happy and home is somewhere that does that.


More than ever this year, I don’t get that nervous, sick feeling before a race anymore.







Somehow I have worked out how to calm myself and stand on the start line with confidence. Another 4am start to the day, swim warm up at 5.40 and a start time of 6.18, I was ready to give my last race of the year a good crack. I lead out of the 1.9km swim with Annabel on my feet with a 2 min gap over the next two people. The course is fairly flat and fast and I knew what to expect having ridden it the previous week. I sat on the front for the first half of the first lap controlling the pace. A slower pro male overtook us both and that was the last time I saw both of them. I rode by myself for the rest of the 90km on the two lap course. I tried to just focus on myself and what I needed I do. If anything could change with 70.3 racing, I think women need a bigger time gap between them and the pro males. It means we are racing are our race and they can race theirs.




I came into T2 roughly 4 mins 20 down in 2nd place. I headed out into the unknown for the next 21km. The cloud cover started to rise and every step was getting hotter. My first 12km was exactly the way I wanted to run. My tempo runs have been progressing better than I ever thought and I knew I could run a good pace. By the middle 15km or so, I was trying to get as much ice as I could down my suit and I started to hit a little wall. I probably should have taken in another gel. I got passed into 3rd place and I just wanted to keep ticking away, because the race isnt over till its over. I ended up being 40 seconds down on 2nd place. I gave it everything I had and that’s all you can do when you line up on the start line.






Looking back on my second crack at a 70.3, I have learnt so much already about the training, nutrition and mental mindset you need to have to be successful at this distance. Sometimes I forget that someone like Annabel has a good 10 years more experience than me and it’s a exciting prospect to get stronger and smarter as I get older. Its been a great past two months of racing with a 2nd at Nepean, 2nd at Noosa, 1st Hamilton Island and a 3rd at Western Sydney 70.3. They do say practice makes perfect and my champagne spraying has definitely improved since Noosa! I knew what my goals were over the past two months and I put 100 percent intent into achieving them. Thank you to everyone that supported me this year, now its time to rest the body and mind before a big 2017!

Thank you to Witsup and Delly Carr for the photos!