On reflection of my recent trip to 2016 World Triathlon Championships in Mexico I have had a bit of time to process and reflect on my achievement there.
Getting to world championships was a three year dream for me. Making sure all the pieces were in the right place, kids, business, money, training, life. I had people telling me I wouldn’t make it, my own head doubting my ability, others seemingly doing much better than me, sickness close to the race, not quite enough money, guilt about spending the money on all that was required in the lead up as well as whilst there. And the training. Months of winter training well years really to lay the ground work to be in a place I felt confident and capable enough to go and do myself, my family and even my country proud. Most of my worlds campaign training was done on my own as winter is off season in Australia so my triathlon buddies weren’t keen to come out in the cold. Cold, early mornings riding or running on my own. Swim sessions at night when most normal people are at home in front of the heater. It was commitment 101 that’s for sure.
But there I was. Mexico. I could hardly believe it.
The morning of the race was quite a long one as my wave was second last starting at 8.10 after a 6.30 race start. I filled my time chatting to team mates, watching other waves swim and fare welling my friends one by one for their race. As my start approached and the waiting came to an end, I felt extremely emotional and suddenly quite overwhelmed.
Time was slow waiting for my start as I was second last wave staring just shy of two hours after the first wave. As my start crept closer I began to feel the emotion of what I had finally achieved. I didn’t have the words, just tears and a huge grin. Team mates were kindly checking I was ok, but I was more than ok. I was smiling and nodding and just taking it in (and hoping the tears would stop before the start so my goggles wouldn’t fog up!). I really tried to just go with the emotion, embrace it and enjoy it all.
Well those tears, the race experience, wearing the Australian Green and gold, my name on my uniform, pushing through the hottest most gruelling race I have ever competed in, finishing, the feeling of completion, elation, pride, amazement, achievement, exhaustion! The time of my life for sure. (so far!)
Three years – breaking down goals, ticking them off, just achieving one little thing at a time. But Mexico was always in my mind. Now obviously we all have different dreams, goals and motivations, and really if you don’t know me well or do but haven’t figured out yet, I am very strong willed. When I set my mind to something, well let’s just say it usually happens. So although World championships may have seemed like a big goal, especially to an old training buddy who laughed at me when I said I wanted to go. I set my sights, laid down a plan and I did it. I’m laughing now with happiness and an amazing sense of accomplishment and pride. That achievement is mine. I earnt it and I own it.
I really want you guys to start feeling that great sense of achievement. I want you to set your sights on something and tell me. I can help you reach it. The weather is better, easier to train, less excuses, more enjoyment, easier to do some homework and easier to enjoy the rewards of all your hard work.
Why do you train? What drives you to get out of bed, come to sessions and feel the burn. How do you feel after training? Are you still getting results? Is there something you have slow burning in the background that you “always thought you would like to do” but haven’t yet? What’ important to you?
Give it some thought, say it out loud. Make the dream small and achievable or big bold and bodacious. Nothing is too big or small. Anything is possible I promise. Just say it. Share it. Tell me and together let’s make it happen. Make it yours and make it now.
Whilst it hasn’t been an ideal week falling pretty sick with a wretched flu and having 5 days off I am now getting back into training for the last week up to race day. Gee it feels good to sweat again after lying around for so long and getting puffed walking to the kitchen!
With the final countdown brings a mish-mash of emotions.
• Excitement, excitement, and more excitement – I’m going to Mexico baby! Wow.
• Eagerness to race and have a red hot crack. And hope to god all the training, planning and commitment I have given pay off! (not to mention quitting alcohol and chocolate)
• Stress trying to get all the tasks done that need doing before I leave. Leaving a business, two kids at different schools and your pets takes a bit of juggling.
• Anxiety about leaving the girls behind and getting on a plane. Since I raced off from my mum with a quick “See you Saturday” only to never see her again, I don’t get planes as easily as I once did.
• Anticipation of seeing a new country, new culture and eating loads of Mexican food.
• Disbelief as I keep pinching myself realising my dream of wearing the green and gold at last.
• Gratitude for having the opportunity to do it, and HUGE gratitude to Ruby for minding the kids and encouraging me to chase this dream in the first place.
• Elated at the idea of having a few kid free days and reconnecting with my hubby in a gorgeous, all-inclusive resort in Cancun.
• Thrilled at the thought of diving again after too many years not exploring the beauty that lies beneath the sea.
3 more sleeps.
Three weekends left till I leave for the World Championships in Mexico. This week’s training program is huge and I need to eat and rest well to fuel each session so I can get the best results from each session. When I’m training hard I need to have good food on hand to compliment my effort in the sessions.
Maybe the Mexico thing has sparked my recent love of black beans, but I love them. And nutritionally they are hard to beat. High in protein, magnesium, iron and cacium these little suckers have a lot of what you look for when replacing energy after training. So on the weekend I tried soaking and pressure cooking them myself and they worked out perfectly. I now have a big tub in the fridge to use to my heart’s content.
In view of the huge training workload ahead I took 5 minutes to whip up my big ‘go to’ salad for the next few days. I pretty much just throw in all my favourite things:
- Black beans
- Fresh corn off the cob
- Red onion
- Fresh tasty tomatoes
You can add or subtract to suit your taste. Now for lunch or snacks I can scoop out some yummo salad and I’m set to go. I will be getting some chicken to chuck in and some low fat cottage cheese or feta would be awesome as well.
Squeeze over some lemon or lime or a dash of light salad dressing and its delicious. Today I added some raw cauliflower and lettuce.
I am 6 weeks out from my race at World Champs in Mexico and I feel like training is going well. After the initial sickness and a couple of hiccups we have hunkered down and cracked into a solid few weeks of training. If you read my last blog you will know I was tired.
Well I enjoyed my rest week and tried to focus on eating well and refuelling my body for the next training block. To be honest I found myself scratching around to do some training but instead heeded the advice of my coach and just went through the motions on some easy-ish sets.
Friday night was a nice surprise when he sent though my analysis (see attached). That yellow line was my fatigue and as you can see it dropped quite low and stayed there for a bit. This showed I am quite good at working under fatigue but also screamed a rest was necessary before I hit a wall. But look how it kicks up again after a few days of taking it lightly! Getting back up to zero. This says I am rested, and ready to rumble!
Today kicked off well with a great set in the pool with steady, increasing and full steam efforts. It felt good to be swimming, I felt good in the water and after, buzzing even. When my training buddy asked how I felt, I replied “ready for a bike ride!”
The theory is the rest has refilled my tank, ready for me to hit my program with a renewed sense of energy and power. This means I will be stronger in the set and therefore gain more results from the set so it’s a win-win. And some of the sets this week are BIG so I’m looking forward to bringing it as well as I can.
This has been a good lesson for me to revisit. As a trainer I know the importance of rest and often chat to clients about it and incorporate it into their programs and training. But if you are of the mindset that every session has to be a beasting, maybe think again and listen to your body (or your coach!). Beasting is certainly necessary as part of a program for improvement but you cannot sustain this high intensity without some recovery sessions, or days depending on your intensity and training duration. Oftentimes when a bit tired, you will feel better for the workout but sometimes when you feel tired from your bones you need a rest. If this is how you feel, don’t ignore it, have an easy session or even a sleep in. Enjoy some recovery and be ready to come back harder after the rest.
When fatigue sets in you have to go with it.
This time in 7 weeks I will be relaxing (or partying) in Cozumel, Mexico after my first race as an Australian athlete at the Triathlon world championships. I have been race training for 5 weeks now and it’s been going well. I hired a coach and he is really making me approach training with a different mindset and to trust the process. A process that is different to one I have used before or with clients of my own.
The results are showing this approach is paying off. I am getting fitter, and building strength and endurance so I am a happy girl. My coach sent my stats through Wednesday afternoon and after showing me my fitness line, my effort line and my fatigue line, expressed some appreciation for how well I continue to perform fatigued but also concern that we should rest before I hit the wall. I then told him about that morning at Run squad. We had to do 10x400m at effort. Big, full steam ahead can’t hold much longer than the lap effort. I usually love this kind of training but that morning I got to about lap three and thought ‘I’m tired, I could really do with a rest soon’. I told coach this and well “there you go, right on target” so rest week it is.
Unfortunately I still had a couple of days of big training to get through including swim squad that evening. That’s when the carb monster hit. I was just feeling flat, tired and generally shagged. On the way to pick Katie up from school I found myself in Coles ‘getting some things for dinner’ but you know where I was… yep the lolly aisle. I bought a honey nougat log and a packet of allens retro party mix. While Kate was at her drum lesson I devoured the log and picked all the honey bears, pineapples and red ones out of the party mix. Oops! Should I tell you I had a few choc chop biccies and a small bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes before swimming as well!?!
This is the oldest trick in the book and I was too tired to care that I was falling for it. Girl gets tired, too tired to prepare good food, too tired to care what food, gets overwhelming craving for quick high sugar carbs, tries to resist craving for about 5 seconds, succumbs to the sugary carby goodness determined that it WILL make her feel better… You know the drill.
Very common when breastfeeding a new born bub, bub is awake a lot through the night or just sleep deprivation in general – the all body tiredness that overwhelms you.
So that night after swimming as is becoming our lovely new tradition we headed to the Three weeds to have a wine and dinner by the fire. Are you ready? I had a lovely glass of pinot, buttermilk soaked fried chicken wings and French fries and enjoyed every mouthful. Who orders those usually? Who eats like that? I’m pretty sure not many of the other athletes going to worlds eat that much crap in one day. Very strange, totally inexplicable and kind of sad. I had been doing so well, no chocolate, only drinking one night a week, felt lighter and like it was paying off. Today however I feel like it’s all back on. Not surprising either I guess considering I ate 2-3 days calories in one afternoon!!!
So It’s not pretty but its real. It’s not stuff of legends but human. It’s a slip up that I regret yes, but will move forward with a new sense of commitment to getting lighter for the race. When I am less tired I will prepare some go to nutritious snacks to keep in the fridge and have on hand for those moments.
A week of recovery and good fuel to get this machine of mine firing for the next block of training is just what I need so I’m going to enjoy it.
6 weeks of training till race day!!
Training has kicked in.
Week two of my twelve weeks training leading up to the World Championships in Mexico in September this week and I’m loving it.
The last few weeks has seen me “training to train” meaning I have been training for a good base aerobic fitness so we can really crack into some good specific training for the big event in September.
Whilst I see the point of training to train, it seems far more exciting to finally be training for the race. What’s also exciting is I have hired a coach this time around. Only a few weeks in I am a big fan. As you may know by now I like to be learning. All the time. And even though I am a good trainer, and really know how to push my clients and get them results, I wanted to just be the athlete through this process and focus on what Im doing in training – take a back seat so to speak, and get pushed to my limits by someone more experienced in this game than me. I have only been doing triathlon for about 3 years and have gone pretty well so far on my own steam. I have experimented with training and tried different approaches and formats in training to see how I respond in races and which gets the best results. I have loved the adventure so far and have learnt loads about what my body can do, how I can tweak things, how I cannot. But this is the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!.
Who knows if I will ever get to go again. I may only have this one opportunity to wear my name on my arse! I just didn’t want to experiment and give it a crack. I want to push my limits, get as fit and strong as I can be and show up to Cozumel on September 18 knowing I have done everything I can do to be a contender. To me this just means doing the BEST I can on the day. Leaving nothing behind in training, or on the course on the day.
So as we roll in to day six of week two I have done my bootcamp with stair set and high intensity runs then after a quick breakfast headed out for a 60km ride at Olympic park. Every step I take (or stroke or pedal) gets me closer to Cozumel wearing green and gold, closer to realising a dream I have had for a few years. Closer to realising what I can truly do. Closer to a big hug from my proud husband at the finish line. Closer to smiling up at my mum and wishing she was there with me.
I feel very grateful at the moment. Pretty knackered but grateful and looking forward to an early night. This is my time and I am grateful to my husband and family for supporting me in this dream. Next time it hurts, when I am dripping in sweat and feel like I just want to fall off the bike, stop my legs from burning or just breathe in without the burn I am going to channel gratitude instead. Think how lucky I am to be feeling that burn and get on with it.