This year the olympic distance Oceania Championships were held in Gisborne, New Zealand. A race hasn’t been held in the small town of Gisborne before, so it was exciting heading to a new location and the locals were so friendly there! This was my first olympic distance race since May last year, so I can assure you I was fairly nervous. However my training load has been steadily increasing and so has my fitness and strength, so I was eager to see how I’d go.
It was a simple course, a two lap swim making 1500m, with small surf. The bike was straight up and back eight times, and totally flat for 40km. Then the run was four laps of a loop with the crowd scattered along the side lines for 10km. I had first choice on the start line, we did have a small field though of eleven athletes, and I headed to the far left starting position inline with the first buoy.
The hooter went off and it was a long run into the water. By the time we started swimming Emma Moffat (Elite) and Emma Jeffcoat (Under 23) had an obvious lead over the rest of us. I immediately started swimming as hard as I could to try and cover the gap but was unsuccessful over the first lap. Heading back into the water for the second lap a kiwi athlete came past me and I swam with her for the next lap. We entered and exited transition together.
After the first few hundred metres of the bike we caught up to another kiwi. So there was myself and two kiwis making up the second pack and both Emma’s were down the road with a huge lead working together. Our group got working together, but after the third lap one of the kiwis dropped off. Now I was in a group of two and it became a team time trial for the rest of the 40 km bike.
The two of us went through transition and I began my 10 km solo run as the Emma’s had put more time into us on the bike. Since it has been such a long time since my last olympic distance race and so much has happened since then, I was a bit unsure of what pace to run at. But one thing was for certain, that I’d be totally exhausted by the time I crossed the finish line. I focused on holding good form and technique under the fatigue I was in. I didn’t have as faster run as I hoped for, but I still need to take into account where I’m at and that I’m still finding out where that is through racing. But when I crossed the finish line I had nothing left in me.
I placed third Elite rounding out an Aussie podium, and second Under 23. To me, I wasn’t really pleased with my race but reflecting on it, I can get more out of it and make changes in and outside of training, then I probably would have if I had a great race. So I’m back into a months training block before racing in Penrith at the end of April in the sprint distance Oceania Championships, and I’m looking forward to making improvements and having a better race there.