ITU season overall
One of my key themes for the year was having confidence in the whole picture. Starting my WTS season with a podium in Abu Dhabi really set the tone for the year and was a big driving force for my confidence and my ability to compete against the best girls in the world. That race was really a question of how much do you want this and on that blue carpet I couldn’t have wanted it more. Hamburg WTS was another memorable race this year. Even though I was further back out of the water than I normally am, I was so determined to bring the evidence from my training and previous racing all out on the course. I had my best run of the year and placing 8th in a high class field was an achievement that left me over the moon to showcase my ability.
2018 has given me the opportunity to compete in a new style of racing that will be at the Olympics for the first time in 2020. It is the Mixed Team Relay and it may only be 20 minutes, but it definitely stings the legs. In Hamburg our team placed 2nd in the World Championships, 1st in Edmonton WTS Mixed Relay and we placed 3rd in British Mixed Relay Cup. Every relay leg that I have done has expanded my repertoire in this style of racing and I can see improvements in myself each time I do one. It is an exciting format to watch and personally to race. Leading into Tokyo 2020 it is also an amazing opportunity that I hope to do more in 2019.
There has been some real highs this year but also some disappointing moments where I lost touch or got too comfortable too soon and finished way down from where I should have been. Writing pre and post reviews in training and racing forces you reflect not only on what you could do better next time but also to recognise what you did well even if it wasn’t the end result you were hoping for. Racing at this level is always changing and every year the bar gets set higher. The Kiwi adventurer Scott Donaldson after his trans Tasman crossing said that he never doubted himself during his trip as " your only frightened if you are not expecting something". I think that’s what we do really well in training - we train to race everyday. The key lesson this year was developing and trusting my ability to be adaptable, under pressure and fatigue, to all situations that may arise in a race.
The swim was super choppy and diving back in for our second lap felt like diving straight into a brick wall. I happy with the swim and felt like those conditions really suited my strengths. I was just off the back of the lead group of girls and we hustled the first straight on the bike. I got stuck behind a Great Britain girl on the first u turn, a tactical move on her behalf, which blocked some of us from getting on to the front group. Within a few laps we had caught the front group of 8 and we became a big group all pushing for the front positions. The whole ride was just about putting myself in the best position possible and holding my ground as people were chopping and changing every two seconds. Getting off the bike was a bit of a relief.
From the start of the run we broke into small groups and I found myself running just outside the top 10 with 5 to 6 other girls. It took me awhile to get my rhythm, but I lead our little group for the next 5 kms. At about the 7km mark, a little surge was made and I couldn’t keep in contact. I ended up finishing 17th which is not exactly the run performance I had hoped for but its probably a minute or so further ahead than what I would have been this time last year. I finished the WTS series overall in 11th place. I was one place off achieving my goal but I couldn’t have asked for a more consistent year of training and racing in and out of the WTS season.