To be totally honest, there was only one position I had my sights set on to finish in at the 2016 Penrith OTU Sprint Oceania Championships. I understand that in a race you focus on getting the processes right and then the outcome will take care of itself. However I believed that if my processes went to plan, then I had the ability to get my outcome I was chasing.
Last Thursday was travel day and it went a little like this. It began with an easy run in the morning before finishing off my packing. I went into Griffith Uni for class from 10.00 until 12.00 and Kira then drove me to the airport as I finished off my uni assignment. I checked in at the airport, submitted my assignment (thank goodness for airport wifi) and then got on a plane to Sydney, followed by two trains to get to my final destination of Penrith. Training had been going well and I was ready to test myself in another race.
The day before the race I was sweating when I finished my easy run, but waiting to be called to the start line on race day I was shivering. It was an overcast and windy day, but it was a non wetsuit swim. I was called onto the pontoon and I took my spot on the far right hand side. The hooter went and we dived into the water for the 750 metre lake swim. Very annoyingly my goggles decided to fog up as soon as I dived in and I was struggling to see where I was going let alone the swim buoys. I had to go off how I swam my warm up lap and hope I was swimming in the right direction. As we got closer to the first turning buoy I could just make out a group to the left ahead of me. I put in a surge and moved across to get on their feet. I looked up and could just see they weren’t the front girls I was behind, so I began passing some trying to make my way up the pack. We turned the first buoy, heading across to the next and I could now see there was a gap between me and the first two girls leading the swim. I rounded the next buoy and started heading towards the final turn and I made it my mission to catch those splashes I could see from the leaders. I swam hard and straight into a small rowing buoy (only hurt a little) but more importantly I managed to get onto their feet just as we rounded the final buoy and headed towards the swim exit.
As I got up to run out of the water and into transition I knew how important this one hundred metre run would be to set up the rest of the race. I also know that my coach knows how important this run is, so I ran hard, and heard Dan’s words of encouragement to run hard as I went past him. Cap and goggles went into the box, helmet went on, my bike got de-racked and mounted and I rode hard before putting my feet into my shoes to ensure the gap the three of us had on the others stayed there.
The three of us formed a group and we knew what we had to do. We began rolling through to hold a good pace and kept it consistent for the 20 kilometre bike course. After the second lap of four we had over a minute on the next group and my confidence was building.
We came to the end of the bike and Emma and myself headed out of transition together for the 5 kilometre run. I ran with Emma for most of the first lap. Towards the end of the lap there was a small uphill and then you run down through transition and around onto the next lap. Heading towards the hill I was feeling good so I decided to put in a surge up the hill. I kept the pace up going down the hill and around onto the next lap and I’d created a little lead over Emma. Two more laps to go and I pushed myself for the rest of the run, trying to hold a consistent pace.
I ran through transition for the last time and turned a corner heading towards the finish. I took a look over my shoulder and couldn’t see second place. I couldn’t hold back my smile from then. I started running down the blue carpet and could see the winners tape I so badly wanted to be running through at the end of this race, and I’d done it.
There’s something about flying high in the air and looking out a plane window that gets you thinking about life, or maybe I’ve just seen that in too many movies. But travelling back to the Gold Coast got me feeling proud that I had a goal and I went out there and achieved it. Victory is sweet! And a little bit sweeter when it’s been a long road to get there. Then I started thinking about that long road and the incredible amounts of help I had along the way. Thank you to my coach Dan Atkins for instilling patience in me and having so much patience yourself. To Gold Coast Physio and Britt Calling for helping put me back together. A huge thank you to Triathlon Australia and their staff for their constant support and also to the Western Australian Institute of Sport. Of course thanks to my sponsors including Parabellum International, Anvil Angus, Instinct Sports Nutrition and Liv Cycling Australia. To the most selfless people I know, my parents, you always put Kira and I first so we can do what we love and have the best chance at achieving what we want to. I miss you every day and will never be able to thank you enough. And to everyone who’s given their encouragement along the way, every bit has helped!
This race was another stepping stone in my 2016 season and I’m looking forward to what’s coming up. So until then, here’s a little quote to leave you with. ‘Sometimes your scars have a lot less to do with where you’ve been and a lot more to do with where you’re going.’