Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Third in the World...

Last Sunday I again had the opportunity to represent New Zealand and wear the silver fern. This was my fifth world championship for Triathlon and the culmination of a three year plan to podium.

This World Championship was different to most that I have competed in. The race was at home... this meant that there was no added stress of packing my bike, flying somewhere, not knowing where a supermarket is, not having a car etc. It was great staying in my own bed and being able to keep to all my own routines.

I took a whole week off work before the race and although it was as boring as hell it was really beneficial for me. I was relaxed, de-stressed and had time to plan for my race.

Monday was busy, it started with swim squad which was the first session in a long time where I have not felt great... I was sluggish and felt out of sorts.... but my times were still better than ever which was the main thing. Then I was off to the bike store for a bike service, grocery shopping and later in the day a massage.

My masseuse was very impressed about the state of my muscles- he said that I was pretty well balanced and was confident that I was in great shape for a good race... this was a nice confidence boost.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were all pretty similar days, very light training sessions and the lots of DVD watching and book reading (oh and checking out the Perth weather website consistently)... Friday was a full rest day for me and all I needed to do was set up my bike.

Saturday was a final swim/bike/run, bike check in, transition familiarisation, race briefing, carbo loading and sorting out my race day nutrition. I managed to get a great sleep as well which is unusual for the night before a major race...

Sunday morning I was up and eating my porridge at 5am... its still hard to get food down at that hour! No matter how many races I do. It was a later than usual race start (8.13am) so we had plenty of time to set up transition, familiarise myself with the swim course, get away from the comings and goings of the race start and then do a warm up.

The weather was extremely windy- perhaps the windiest that I have seen Perth since living here. This meant a very choppy Swan River- this didn't faze me as i wasn't anything on Wellington on a regular day (let alone Wellington on a bad day)....

Here I am deep in thought waiting for us to be called into the race pen before our race started.

As you can I see I was at the front of the compound so that I could get into the pen first, therefore allowing me to get to where I wanted to start in the swim (which was on the far right).Here we are- the first two into the race start compound... it looks like we are walking to out execution :-)Here are starting our line up... its funny- when we were in the water it looked like we were in line with the two buoys... obviously not. Apparently the starters hooter went off about 5 times but none of us heard it out there in the water.

Once we did hear the start signal, we were off. Its always a big melee at the start of a triathlon but I had a pretty clean start and I was pleased to get away from the crowds and get into a good rhythm pretty early on. The water was really choppy- it never looks that way on photos though.

On the first leg of the swim (1800m) we were heading into the wind and waves but had the tide/current with us. We then turned around and the wind/wavers were behind us but then we were swimming into the current... so all in all it was a tough swim. I had a reasonable amount of trouble sighting the buoys as well so at times I was going on a bit of hope and prayer that I was heading in the correct direction.
Here I am on the return leg (which seemed to last forever)... I was by myself here but near the closing stages of the swim caught up to a couple of swimmers in my category. Check out the splash from my kick...
Here I am at the swim exit. Thank goodness for that... I was pleased to get away from all the jellyfish, waves, yucky dirty and salty water. We all exit with the green "Swan River Moustache" as well... hmmm very attractive.
Hmmmm get out of my way :-) I was itching to get past the swimmers in front of me.
Heading up the steps out of the Swan River and off to transition we go. It was a reasonably long run from the river to the bikes and I took it at a pretty steady base so that I could get my breath back.
After the 3km swim we were off onto a 4 * 20km lap bike course. The first leg was thankfully with a tail wind, which gave us time to get our cycling legs.
Here I am leaving transition.
After the tail wind assisted leg down Mounts Bay road we turned straight back into the head wind, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but it was still a grind. During this part of the bike course I tried to eat a little but I was feeling very nauseous. I must have swallowed some river water I think as I feel sick for a lot of the ride. Even so, I think that I followed my nutrition and hydration plan well and set myself up for a solid run.

Once we headed back in from Mounts Bay road we cycled down the freeway and back with wicked cross winds the whole way. So the ride, just like the swim, presented some interesting challenges.

Here I am heading back into town following the first lap on the bike and it is heating up. I emptied the majority of a water bottle over me, partly to clean myself up from the river crap, but mostly to cool myself down.
And here I go... heading out on the second lap.
This was probably the hardest part of the ride for me... the Kwinana Freeway on ramp. But it was short and sweet.
The race had a 12 * 3 m draft zone with a 5 min drafting penalty... and to be honest this was the cleanest race that I have ever raced in... no drafting at all and I wasn't ever in a compromising position at all. Check this photo out... all by myself and loving it. Riding the freeway, the smooth roads and not having any pesky girls using me for my cycling strength!
Sucking in the air on one of the laps.
So the ride took 2 hours 15 and little did I know, by this stage I was in third place in my age group.

The other change was that the wind had totally dropped by now and this meant incredible heat!!!! Arghhh... the trying conditions just kept on coming. Not sure that I liked it that the spectator looks faster than me :-)
The run was a 4 * 5km lap route, and it was HARD. AT 5km I wanted to give up to tell you the truth. At 10km I was certain I couldn't finish another 10km, at 15km I was starting to feel better and then the last 5km went really well for me.

Here I am heading down one part of the course and the aussie girl almost opposite me was the eventual winner in my age group.
Its getting hot now, but I was stoked to be passing lots of racers- male and female, this included passing a professional male as well- he ended up finishing slower than me!
This is it- the last part of the run for me and I am stoked to nearly be over.
Well the day was tough, my times were slightly slower than anticipated but the conditions dictated that. When I finished I had no idea where I was in my age group and by process of elimination I worked out that I came 4th... I was really happy with that and after a little bit of catching up with friends Jason and I headed home via the ice cream shop.

However, I couldn't get over the feeling that I needed to find out the results so I went back to the race site... and low and behold I got THIRD.... a BRONZE medal!!! and I was by myself and couldn't get hold of Jason to tell him.... I was going CRAZY!!!!!!!

My first medal at a World Championships and I was by myself! But still- I was stoked with the result.

Check out this article: New Zealand Age Groupers Stun at World Champs.

So now upon a few days of reflection I am still very pleased with my result and I have no idea of what my next goals is going to be. For now, we are happy just to have a casual few days with no scheduled training.

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