It was a busy week at work in the lead up to the Robina Triathlon, new years resolution goers all around, people looking to get fit for 2019. All week I was hearing lean 19 from all the cyclists at work that want to improve their cootha times for office bragging rights. People with big aspirations for the new year, as for me I had also set some high standards for myself in the new year. I hadn't had a break from training over the christmas, new year period. I trained on Christmas day and New Years day and came into the new year feeling pretty strong. However I was dealing with some personal mental barriers in the week leading to this event due to injury.
A week out from this Triathlon I set out on a training run after being inspired by the legendary Emil Zatopek's (the worlds best endurance runner in the 1940s and 1950s) track training session of 50x400s in the morning and 50x400s in the evening to build speed. I went down to the grass running track and did 10x400s as a starting point aiming to hold 80 secs on each rep (the equivalent to around 3:25 pace per km roughly) with 2 minutes recovery between each. I felt a sharp pain down the side of my right hip flexor and ITB on the last 2 reps and finished off with a steady jog to assess the injury.
The next morning I woke up and had trouble walking and could not put any weight at all on my right leg. Throughout the week the injury felt a little better my limp became less and less and by Friday I could jog a bit with some pain. Every morning for the whole week I would wake up and think this is so touch and go I've got a world championship qualifying race on Sunday I HAVE to race to get more points. I held my mental focus and made a decision that I was going to race and give it a crack no matter what. I recalled back on all the hard times in cycling where I had ridden another 100km on inflamed tendons, my first Ironman 70.3 where I ran the whole second half of the half marathon with excruciating ITB pain using strategies like visualizing old mate in touching the void crawling down the mountain in order to survive, Dicaprio in the Revenant crawling back after being left for dead along with Russel Crowe in Gladiator when he fights to the death after being wounded. What I always tell myself is there is always someone in the world suffering harder than you no matter what you are going through and if your why is strong enough and you have high enough personal standards within yourself you will always find a way to get it done.
The Sunday morning of the race arrived it was a 3:45am wake up, before a nice drive down to the Gold Coast with my Mum and Dad. I am always very grateful for the support my parents have given me with my sport over the years. My personal belief is that behind every successful person there is always a support network that help that person get to where they want to get to. In endurance sport over the years I have seen alot of athletes with their parents supporting them at events or their partners, husbands or wives. I truly believe that having someone supportive of what you do is the key to having success in whatever you do in life.
The race kicked off at 6:30am all Olympic Distance competitors left at the same time meaning I was able to have another crack against the pros which I really enjoy doing as it gives me a good measuring tool to measure my own personal progress against the best. The pro's stormed off in the swim. I tried to hang off the back of the pro pack but unfortunately they gapped me and I didn't have the fitness to close the gap, I spent the swim chasing the pro pack finishing the 1500m in 20 mins about 1 minute behind the pro pack.
I got out of the water as fast as I could ran through transition and started the 40km bike course that consisted of 5 loops of an 8km course with lots of sharp turns contributing to lots of fast accelerations out of the corners which reminded me of the good old days of fast criterium racing on the bike. I said to myself I want to hold as close to 300w for the 40km if I can as this is pro triathlete wattage and should contribute to a sub 1 hour for the 40km ride. I ended up averaging 283w for the ride with a bike time of 59. After the swim and the ride I was 2nd in my age group and was trailing 2 mins behind the back field of the pros and 5 minutes behind the race leaders.
Coming into the run my body was feeling a bit cooked to say the least with the outside temperature heating up to 33 degrees with the sun beating down I could feel myself going into a nasty state of dehydration along with my hip injury starting to flare up and get painful. I said to myself the whole way on the run if I want to race Ironman World Championships in Kona one day it is going to be a hell of alot hotter and harder then this and this experience is good mental training to dig when times are tough.
I managed to grind out the run in 46 minutes which was a bit off from my goal pace however I was super relieved to see the finish line and come away knowing that I couldn't of given it anything more on the day. I finished 5th in my age group with a time of 2:10 scoring more points towards world championships, the job was done.
My philosophy on Triathlon is I compete against myself everytime I go out, my competitors are there as a guide to help me produce my best race. I will never say to myself I could of beaten old mate in this position but this went wrong as this takes away from a personal goal and you are no longer doing it for your own personal improvements you are doing it for a placing or respect from others which isn't a deep enough meaning for me. If you keep working on self improvements your results will speak for themselves.
The moral of this story is sport is hard, people might see the instagram or facebook photos and think yes that guy or girl is really fit they just do it easy when the reality is everyone who is at the top of anything whether it be sport, business or their relationships does it hard from time to time to reach their success nothing in life comes easy.
If you are still reading at this point I hope you enjoyed the read and stay tuned for the next blog posts!