Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Resilience, patience and persistence

Over the past two months, three words have been the key to getting me back on track. Getting through an injury is not only physical recovery but mental healing as well. Resilience is something that I see as being really important as bouncing back from some downtime can either be positive or negative. I tried and looked at my injury as a time I got to focus on other elements of triathlon rather than running and gain strength in those areas. I am not going to lie, it’s hard. Being in an elite environment on a day to day basis, you have to put all on focus into yourself and plan how you will build back and learn from your mistakes, rather than worrying about what others are doing around you. A constant reminder for myself was a quote "remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing!".

Leaving Australia, I headed straight to Paris and spent a week with my French team in Poissy, just outside of Paris. I had never been there before and I was excited to spend time in a different part of the world. That week was pretty easy leading into Dunkerque French GP with some cruisey rides in the country side, some tempo running in the forest and some quality swim km’s with the club. I have been pretty patient with my return to running and I used the elliptical as an important part of my return. My first race back in nearly 3 months, I had no idea what to expect but I had confidence in the processes that I wanted to achieve. I lead out of the water and we had a good group of girls working together on the bike to gain a big advantage before the run. My run was no where near where it could be but I was so happy to finish 10th, with no pain, a full race complete and lots of positives to take away. Thanks Poissy for having me for the week and 1st for our team was a way to finish the week on a high.

I am now back in Vitoria Gasteiz, where I have now been settling back in for the past few weeks. The riding here, we really do take for granted! So much to choose from and more importantly the cars are very friendly towards us. It’s been good building my training up and I even got to experience my first double run day in a very long time! At the moment, we are training hard towards WTS Leeds this weekend. Last weekend, I did my first German Bundesliga race for my Team TV Lemgo Triathlon. As soon as we stood on the start line, the rain started to pour down. I lead out of the swim with 5 other girls but no one really wanted to work on the bike. Possibly the most dangerous ride I have done with all the water on the road. I feel like I ran well for the week we had leading into the race and I am excited to get back on the WTS circuit this weekend.

I can see that persistence pays off and that I am on the return to my best form. Training is a rollercoaster but I am enjoying the ups and the downs. I am looking forward to getting some consistency back and some quality work done here in Vitoria Gazteiz in my lead up to my next few races after Leeds.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength. -Arnold Schwarzenegger



 It has taken me a long time to write this. I actually wrote a blog about a month ago then deleted it. I didn’t want questions because I didn’t have the answers. I wanted to focus on what I needed to do to get better without the influences and drama from people around me. No one understands your body and yourself better than you. You have to look at all these challenges that we face as an athlete as an important part of a learning curve to becoming the best in the world.

After doing my first half ironman, I jumped straight back into training with my normal group down in Wollongong getting ready for WTS Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi was a race I was looking forward to for a while because I knew if I did the basics right, I would be back up in the game where I should be. I found a new confidence in my training and I really think this helped me focus on what I needed to do this year. I was swimming some of the best times consistently in training and what was once hard was becoming easier. I was feeling stronger on the bike and liked feeling that I could finally contribute to a session rather than just hanging on. Running probably took the longest to change gear back to some speed work but I was enjoying putting processes in place and seeing improvements every week.

After flying to Abu Dhabi, during the week leading into the race, my foot started to get more average by the day. Unfortunately or lucky enough, I ended up getting two flats during the race and I had to DNF. I was meant to fly from Adu Dhabi to New Plymouth for a month of training before New Plymouth World Cup and hopefully achieve a WTS Gold Coast start but instead I stopped off at home for a MRI on my foot. I was really hoping for the best but I got diagnosed with a stress reaction in my third metatarsal. To be honest the timing of it hurt more than the injury itself.

I spent March at home focussing on recovery and rehab to get me back in working order as soon as possible. As I couldn’t do much else for the first two weeks or so, I jumped in the pool and pretty much doubled the amount of swimming I normally do. I went back to NSWIS and did weight work in the gym off my feet, upper body strengthening work and conditioning training. It is really important to maintain strength as it is amazing how quickly the body loses basic conditioning and it will put you a few steps ahead when you start back training fully. Within no time at all, I was on the bike inside and then out in the fresh air on the bike. I got poured on, during my second ride back and I was still smiling because being healthy and doing what I love was so much more important to me.

I am now back running and sweating it out on the elliptical trainer which I am actually really enjoying. It is just about taking it week by week and taking one step forward when the body is ready. It is always hard watching people race and I have missed a really important early part of 2016 but the year still has a long way to go! I am confident and ready to move forward.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Unknown- Challenge Melbourne

Over December and January I decided to discover the unknown. I have never done a half ironman before but I was excited to give the challenge a go. With the decision to stay home and not go to Falls Creek this year, it gave me something to train for whilst being at home. I gradually started to build up the km’s on the bike to more specific TT efforts and longer tempo runs. Every week was a similar session so I got plenty of consistency to see how I was improving. I also added 3 days a week of gym at NSWIS into my program which has helped me build a lot of strength.

Challenge Melbourne came around a lot faster than I ever thought as I felt like yesterday I was counting down the days till I could taper. I was feeling good and had confidence in the training that I had been doing. I took the week leading in quite easy with a small Aquathon race on Australia Day. The thing that hurt me the most was probably the 4am start on race morning. The weather was perfect for us as predicted storms had blown over. The 6.15am start turned into 6.30am as it was so dark, no one could see the buoys.The swim was a good tempo for the 1.9km and I lead out of the swim with Annabel and Ellie on my feet.

The wind starting picking up and the three of us started the 3 laps of 30km together. I had a solid nutrition plan from our AIS dietician, Greg Cox who called the bike a rolling buffet. I knew I had to listen to my body and take in nutrition at the right stages of the bike. Within the first lap, Annabel had a mechanical so it was just Ellie and I for the next 75km. On the second lap, I
dropped my water bottle which at first I freaked out alittle but then I just tried to focus on the task ahead. The ride was solid and very consistent with the power and cadence I have been training at. The wind started to pick up even more and by the last lap heading back to transition, I started to feel like the elastic band break in the last 5km. Within that 5km, Ellie gained 30 seconds on me coming into transition.

A lot of people have told me don't go too hard in the first few kms. The run was 3 laps of 7 kms. Out on the winding trails and then back on the concrete path. It didn't make it fast but at least it kept it interesting. I have been doing a lot of run/walks so I knew if I needed to walk the aid station I could. The middle lap was probably the slowest for me and I just tried to keep form and focus on the process. The last 3.5 km, I probably felt the best and tapped out my way to the finish. 4 hours and 15 mins later, I finished up with a 2nd in my debut half.

I have learnt a lot about mental toughness over the past 2 months and what it takes to change distance. It's been a real positive experience for me and one that I will take plenty of experience and learning from. Thank you to everyone that helped me out with advice or equipment to get me to the start line with the best knowledge and equipment possible. Thanks to Sydney City Cycles for the final tune up pre race and Ryan from 3D bike fit for getting me the best fit possible. Also thank you to Stef Hanson from Witsup for all the pictures in my report! It's now back to ITU racing with my next one being Abu Dubai WTS in March!


Thursday, 22 October 2015

If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough

Photo credit- Fotorunners

After a 17 hour straight flight home from Dallas, it was great to have two feet on solid ground back on home soil. Most of all, I missed my beautiful dog. This year was a good developing year coming back from surgery last year and I learnt a lot about getting back on the WTS circuit every race. The dynamics of the race changed, tactics came into play for Olympic points and people generally got stronger. Chicago World championships didn’t end up the way that I worked hard for in training as an Olympic distance turned into a sprint. It wasn’t the ending that I wanted for the ITU year with a 7th place at under 23 world championships but it makes me even more determined to work hard in building up strength in the off season for a big year next year. I am happy to be back at NSWIS gym working with my same strength and conditioning coach from last year, working on fundamentals for my weaknesses. 

To end the year, I have been training for two non drafting races, Nepean Triathlon and Noosa Triathlon. Thank you to Tri Hub and Neil Pryde Bikes Australia for getting me on a TT bike for these races. Also a big thank you to Ryan at 3Dbikefit for getting me set up properly. I have been really enjoying my time on my TT bike as it is something different to what I have been doing all year. Out at the Penrith Regatta Centre, around the velodrome or along Northern Road to Penrith, are all perfect environments without traffic lights to get some quality time on my bike. I have had two races with Panthers Tri Club, which have both provided me with stiff competition at the end of a hard training week. Nepean is close to home for me, so I am excited to have my family, friends and other club members out there competing and spectating.

Being back in Campbelltown, I am lucky to have the support from my local gym, Aquafit, where I do a lot of my training. The facilities are world class where I can swim, do gym or grab a milkshake post swim. I have my favourite lane in the pool, lane number 2 and the lifeguards laugh at me for moving when the lane comes free, if someone else is in it when I get there.  For outdoor swims, the conti pool in Wollongong cant be beaten with its beautiful views of the ocean and Wollongong harbour. It’s perfect for wetsuit swims and the odd time when the water gets warm enough to soak up the sunshine.

Last weekend, I helped out Garmin at the Health and Fitness expo in Sydney. It’s great being a part of a continuing growing brand, with some great new products on the market that I am sure a lot of people will be putting on Christmas list this year. Garmin is also one of the major sponsors of Noosa Triathlon and this year will be a part of one of my favourite events from last year, Bondi Splash and Dash run by one of the Bondi Lifeguards, Reidy. It is on the 21st of November on iconic Bondi beach with the main event being a 2km run/1km swim/1km run. It would be great to see you all competing or watching in it's second year of this special event.

Photo credit- Kim Adamson


It is now the final push for the last few races of the season and I am determined to put some hard training together over the next few weeks. " If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough"