My 2013/14 triathlon season is done and dusted. I am grateful it is over as I am tired and need a break, but sad that another year has gone.
The season concluded on Sunday with the final of the Gatorade Series Races. The first race was back in November and I managed a second place, my highest placing at a Gatorade race ever and I was third female age grouper of the day! It was then I set a goal of winning one Gatorade race. Four races later and I had managed a second place EVERY race!!! I was getting frustrated, but loved the competition and loved that I was getting closer to Kate the girl who kept beating me (in Race 3 at the National Sprint Championships she beat me by just 6 seconds!). So the final race on Sunday was my last chance to have a win for the season. My race plan was simple: go hard! My body had given up since the Olympic National’s in Devonport 4 weeks earlier. I was exhausted, not able to train as much but had found I could still move quick when I needed to, especially off the bike. So I decided this was a chance to test out just how hard I can go on the bike and see if I can still run!
As it was the final race they had the Championship Wave, where the top 5 competitors from each Age Group start together in a wave. It is a great chance to race like the Open girls do as the road and run is clearer and you are with faster people to chase from the beginning.
I had a shocking swim. The conditions were perfect which generally means I have a bad swim – I don’t know why yet! I was all over the place, unable to get on good feet and despite putting in the effort knew I was well off the front (unlike the previous race in Portarlington which were choppy conditions and for the first time in my life I came out with the leader!).
I came out of the swim and knew I had some ground to make up. As I was running into T1 I heard a lot of cheering for Sarah. I knew it was for Sarah Grove, the Open leader but whom based on time I had beaten in a number of races. I knew I can run faster so wanted to maintain the small gap I had for as long as possible.
Well it wasn’t long. Within the first 5km’s of the bike she had caught me. As I saw her go past I decided to keep within the legal distance behind her. Well I didn’t have to worry about the rules, she was gone! Damn. Sarah posted the fastest female AG bike time of the day and beat me by just over a minute. Regardless, I went hard and knew I was putting more into the bike than I usually do in a race. It felt good going hard and with John cheering on the side I could tell from his reaction I was doing well. I had the third fastest female AG bike split, and put a minute into the second girl in my AG.
Onto the run and it was my time to shine. I wanted to catch Sarah so I could win the Championship wave, even though she races Open. I was struggling to see her ahead but thought I could just make her out. I watched my average hover around 3.45 pace. I liked what my watch was telling me and thought I would see if I could hold on. At the turn around I saw Sarah was about 150m’s ahead. It was a bit and with only 2.5km’s to go I was going to struggle to catch her. I somewhat gave up winning the Championship Wave but kept pushing anyway.
When I passed John and my family with only a couple of hundred metres to go they yelled for me to push. I had nothing! I crossed the line and was done for, but saw my time of 1.08. I was stoked. I knew it was my quickest Sprint race. And afterwards I was to find out it was a 5km run PB.
It was a great way to end. I set a PB, won my Age Group and then ended up winning the series!
This season could not have gone any better. Since moving back to Melbourne in October 2012 I have dramatically improved. I did the Gatorade Series last year (12/13) and had a few places, finished around 4th or 5th in the series and was really happy with where I was at. This included having a bad bike crash in the middle of the series followed by a rolled ankle. In the winter I set a goal of running a sub-90min half marathon and managed to break 88mins. I then competed in the Duathlon series and won each race and the overall series and State Title. I went on to race Noosa with a goal of making the podium and missed out by 16seconds. It was disappointing but has made me determined to go back next year. I then won the Gatorade Series, the Geelong 5150 and automatically qualified for the World Championships in both Sprint and Olympic.
I can’t get over what a season I have had. I am now ensuring I adequately rest for the next month so I can go hard again for the four months in the lead up to Worlds. This period will also give me time to plan mentally and strategically, set a strong training plan, targets, nutrition and anything else I can plan for now to help me later. It is an exciting year ahead, but an even more exciting couple of weeks of recovery!
PS – always a good chance to give a shout out to my Super Coach Pat who owns these results more than me, my boyfriend John for unbelievable support for 9 months, my family who come down to the races to support plus support behind the scenes by cooking meals etc. and my training buddies who make training fun and we’ve become such good friends over the past 12 months.