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!



Thursday, 3 November 2016

Two weekends. Two races. Two second places

October is a month I really look forward to with two consecutive weekends of hard racing at home in Australia! I was feeling good leading up to Nepean and Noosa. I had a month of consistent sessions and I could see improvement every week especially in my running speed. This time of year I can train when I want and you certainly appreciate the skill involved in coaching when you are under your own guidance. I put old fashioned pen to paper to detail my training weeks and then set about ticking off each session.

The morning of the Nepean was absolutely freezing. I had gloves, tights and headwear on just to keep warm and I was still shaking. It was a wetsuit swim for the first time in the 6 years that I have competed and I was glad of the added protection. The women’s field was pretty small and I lead out with five of us exiting the water together. I was a little disappointed with the swim based on how well I have been swimming but the cold was definitely a factor. In the first stages of the ride I took my position on the front. After about 5km Ashleigh Gentle and Nicky Samuels attacked around me; I was still frozen solid and just couldn’t go with them. Nine degree average with crosswinds and being wet is not very ideal. I just kept riding consistently and with about 5km to go, I could see I was closing fast onto Nicky. I came into T2 one minute behind Ashleigh and with no time gaps to anyone else in the race. I wanted to give it a good crack and if I had the opportunity to back it off, I would, to save some gas for Noosa next weekend. I felt strong running and stamped a solid 2nd place finish.

The week between the two races was all about listening to my body. You aren’t going to get any fitter between the two weekends so, it was just about maintaining. I actually think I was pretty lucky that Nepean was cool because that’s one less thing my body had to recover from. I took the first few days fairly easy and added some speed later in the week. No new sessions, just lowering the amount of efforts I was doing.

I arrived in Noosa with some confidence from Nepean determined to leave a better impression this year. Last year, I made a dumb error and I went the wrong way. This year, I made sure I googled mapped everything and I made sure I knew and rode the right course. Thanks to Specialized Australia for the lovely Friday morning ride and coffee sit. Noosa has actually just become one of my favourite places to train and race. Waking up in the morning and just rolling out the door at 6am in a jersey and cycling knicks is utter bliss. At home I am surrounded by roadworks making
cycling that little bit more challenging while at Noosa there were endless bike shoulders on every road we went on. We were lucky enough to train a bit on the bike crit track and grass running track. We had a lovely Air B n B lady that was in a perfect location and lucky for us, she used to be a chef. She was so welcoming, supportive and made our pre-race environment a very relaxed setting.
I had a shocker start running into the water but I soon found good feet to follow. I put my head up after the first buoy and saw a gap starting to grow between Danielle and Nicky. I surged past Nicky and sat on Danielle feet for the rest of the swim. I could feel that we had a good gap as no one was taping on my feet. Swimming with her brought my confidence back and I felt fast. Unfortunately, I missed the wave she got in and I had to make up the 5 or so seconds running into transition. We were out before anyone else had run in.

I had no idea of time gaps and the first time I knew someone was behind me was when Nicky first took a turn going up Garmin hill. I was happy to be on the front as I know I am pushing as hard as I possibly can and I am making the race my own. The first time I roughly knew the gap to the rest of the field was at the end turn around point and I guessed the chase was about a minute or so down. I just kept ticking away and I had just less than a minute on Ashleigh going onto the run. I didn’t feel anywhere near was good as last weekend but I wanted to keep my cadence high, chest up and keep hydrated. At the turn around, I could see that Ash wasn’t very far behind me and I knew she was going to catch within the next km or so. Just past the 5km mark, Ash past me and I stayed focused on keeping strong til the finish. I couldn’t be happier with 2nd place and how I did everything I could to attack the race from the start.

The year isn’t over yet! I am now going to continue to maintain this end of season fitness leading into Hamilton Island Triathlon and my 2nd 70.3 race at Western Sydney later in the month. I am always excited for the unknown and giving these two new experiences a go!

Thank you to Witsup, Korupt Vision and Des Thureson for the photos!