Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunshine Coast 70.3

I sit hear in beautiful Terrigal NSW back to reality after a exciting four weeks of racing. I feel somewhat disappointed with my race on Sunday at the Sunshine Coast 70.3 and can't help but think what else I could have done to capitalise on a great swim / bike.

At the start of the racing block Trent and I were focused on getting off to a great start with Samoa, which I did but I feel I sold myself a little short on the weekend largely due to missing a couple of key running sessions in between, replacing them with the Challenge GC ride and easier week after Des Moines. It just re-iterates how important it is to plan every session / week to ensure things keep ticking over to plan.

Despite that, 80% of my race at Sunshine Coast 70.3 was positive and shows signs that I am getting back to where I was at at the start of last year.

I was slightly rushed getting to swim start on Sunday but arrived just in time for the athletes call and therefore missed getting a swim warm up. It was a beach start and quite a funny one as we all ran down to the water and pretty much fell in (underestimating the water drop off). I settled in pretty quickly in the second bunch which pulled me the whole way around, picking up a couple of the girls that went out really hard at the start of the swim. I had a really swift T1 and departed in 5th.

Photo Credit: Aimee Johnsen AJ TRi

On the bike a quickly moved into 4th and held that position for the remainder of the ride pulling away from 5th and 6th. I was really happy with my ride as I didn't have much opportunity to train while in the US post Des Moines. The hard bike came at a cost and I realised after lap one that my legs had tightened up a fraction. I maintained a steady tempo through the second lap.

Photo Credit: Aimee Johnsen AJ TRi

I left T2 in 4th with a comfortable gap to 5th (at least a couple of minutes). I am ordinarily a strong runner but was uncertain of where my running was at. Post Cairns 70.3 I have had a slight niggle in my right hip that has meant that I could only do around 40k per week running which has meant that the longer runs have suffered. I was really geared towards 10k so wasn't sure how I would go over the longer distance.

Photo Credit: Aimee Johnsen AJ TRi

I headed out trying to hold back and run no faster than 4m per km. I knew if I kept the pace around that mark I would be fine to hold onto 4th. I probably could have reduced this to 4.15 and still held on. Unfortunately this worked fine for 10k but after that I tightened up and started to suffer the effects of less than adequate base running. By 15k I had dropped to positions to 6th and was hanging on for dear life. I could only dig in and try and hold form and hopefully make it through. I did feel that I lost concentration at 12k that may have impacted my chances of holding 6th.

Photo Credit: Delly Carr / Ironman

Past the RedDog tent and I thought I was safe but into the finish shoot and I was passed for 6th moving into my final finish spot of 7th. It was incredible racing and I really loved it. I was in touch all day and can see that if I focus on some base running I will have a real shot at some of the races later this year.

Also, I think its great that we can finally race 70.3 as girls in Oz, rather than just going around and being complacent with low field sizes etc. No longer can the guys complain about the woman's field sizes or quality of field. It shows there are exciting things to come in the longer form of Professional racing in Australia.

Special shout out to Peter from the North Point Apartments at Alex Headland for sorting me out with accommodation after a mix up. What a legend. Trent and all the RedDogs for on course support, Endura, Orca, Compressport, Brooks, No More Knots and Avanti Plus the Valley. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Des Moines, Iowa ~ 5150 US Pro Championship

I arrived in Des Moines on the Wednesday prior to the race having had very little sleep following the long haul from AUS. I like Des Moines, it reminds me of Adelaide it is clean, safe and pretty.

I was quite familiar with the town so jumped straight into my pre race training schedule the next day, albeit after sleeping in until 11.15am. The down town YMCA is a short walk from the embassy suites (the athlete host hotel) and cheap.

I didn't ride until the Friday but noticed the course was very flooded (reminding me of Brissy). Unfortunately this meant that the course had to be changed. I think USAT did a great job of calling this early and making very clear changes. Our race ended up a multi loop street circuit.

I was pleased with my pre race prep and was ready to race. However, I didn't realise how significant the impact of jet lag would be and got only one hours sleep the night before the race. Luckily I got a full nights sleep on the Friday (after going to the baseball) which meant I could manage to get up on race day.

Even without sleep I felt pretty good on the start line and got off to a great start in the swim. I was hanging off the back of the main swim pack and was just shy of them out of transition 1. I was really happy with this effort.

I had a significantly better ride than last year but was still well off the pace. I am really amazed with the strength of the girls on the bike, tough competition.

Onto the run and I started strong chancing down the next group early in the run. It was a lot more motivating this year to be amongst it on the run. However, I faded in the back half and didn't get the result I would have liked. 2 minutes is worth about 10 places at the 5150 champs and I didn't capitalise on the opportunity.

All in all I am happy with about 70% of my race but there is still plenty of work to be done on the bike / run before Noosa. I am realising more and more how hard it is to manage both 70.3 and shorter course racing at the pro level, particularly when you can not afford the time to train full time.