I find it hard to sit down and write about a race straight away, there are just too many post race emotions to filter and make sense of, so after a few days of reflection I now feel able to write about my race on Sunday.
Just quickly I want to look back a few months to when I was feeling like I was at the bottom of the world and nothing seemed to be going right. I can now be proud of myself for the attitude I took when I just stuck my head down and got on with the things I could, like improving my cycling and swimming whilst waiting for my legs to heal.
I am very proud of the way I raced on the weekend and there is not much I would change if I had the chance to do it all over again. Obviously I would loved to have been better prepared for the run, but to be honest that did not really matter in this race as it was an achievement just to line up on the start line. I guess you could say I have no regrets.
So the last few weeks leading into the race were not ideal, with a few speed bumps including having to take antibiotics up to and after the race. I also had a lot of noise in my head with different scenarios chasing each other around and no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t seem to turn it off, so we settled for turning the volume down which included listening to classical music whilst trying to get to sleep... and for those of you who don’t know me that well I am from West Auckland and we do not normally listen to classical music.... rather the opposite.
But at the same time I was starting to get excited, I had a few sessions in the week where I felt like I was jumping out of my skin I just wanted to get on with it!
Race day dawned and I felt mostly calm. I had done everything I possibly could to be prepared for this race as the last thing we wanted was another setback.
The plan of attack was to be aggressive in the swim and on the bike (which is something I have never had trouble with) and just race as hard as I could for as long as I could. So when we finally got down to the pontoon and lined up all I was thinking about was the 300m to the first buoy. I had a great clean start and put my head down, when I started to look up and around I realised that I was actually in front. That had been the plan all along, but when the plan actually happens you feel pretty relieved. Anyhow I mainly just wanted to stretch the field out and to also win the first lap as there was a $500US bonus for the first 750m, I am not going to lie, I do like money, who doesn’t?
So the second lap I kept a solid pace until a little Japanese girl came flying by me, but that did not matter as I was still in second.
Out of the water and running to transition was a blur. I had a quick transition, where I pretended to be a flying squirrel onto my bike. And set about shelling as many girls as possible. By the first hill a small group had formed at the front and there was a larger group coming together behind us.
The bike ride was awesome; I really did enjoy it a lot. The hills were fun and the fast downhill’s and tight corners also suited me, I remember going around one corner at the bottom of a hill pretty fast and thinking “man this is fun!” Then I heard the crowd go “ahhhh”, I may have been going a little too fast..... I can imagine how it would hurt if you had not worked on your cycling as nearly half of our bunch at the front fell off the pace and got swallowed by the chase groups. I am also pretty glad I have worked so much on my cycling as Andrea Hewitt is an amazing athlete. She really put the hurt on over the first few laps and we worked hard pushing the hills throughout the whole race. There were also two $500US bonuses on the bike up for grabs. They were situated at the top of the second hill, one on the 2nd lap, which Andrea won and one on the 7th lap, which I won!
By the end of the bike I was feeling strong and we had whittled the pack down to 5 with over 2mins on the main chase group.
In a way my race ended after the bike, I certainly wasn’t going to quit but I knew I had to run really controlled and pace myself from the start otherwise I would risk a setback/injury and this all would have been a waste of time.
It was very hard to be that slow in the run, especially when I know that if I had the same run fitness i did at the end of last year, before surgery/injuries, this race could have/would have been my best World Cup result, but I cannot think like that. Also the race being at home with such an awesome, big crowd was great but there really is nowhere to hide and believe me there were times when I wanted to! I was running along thinking I could not wait until the grand final next year where I can hurt myself on the run as well.
There are so many positives for me to take out of the race. I swam and biked well. My legs held up great. This was the first race ever that I had no pain/numbness in the calves. And best of all I am finally back racing! Onwards and upwards I say.
I want to say a huge thank you to my coach Paul Laursen for believing in me and getting me ready to race after what has been a difficult year.
I am now enjoying a two week break from all things triathlon, well trying to anyway. I will head down to Christchurch for the Tri NZ domestic camp in early December, then get ready to race the Tour de Vineyards in Nelson in late December.
Thanks to all my loyal supporters and sponsors.
AA Insurance, Sky Sport, Sportconnect, Performance Bicycle Tuning, Blueseventy, West Wave Aquatic Centre, Mum and Dad!
In : Triathlon Updates