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Sunday, 28th August: Victorian Duathlon Race 3, National Qualifier, 1st overall female!  BOOM!

It’s great to be back racing and even better to find some form to take home the win at Victorian Duathlon Series Race, Richmond. I left the racing scene completely in 2014/15. I had chronic achilles injury and ironically, as a coach, I didn’t look after this too well and ignored the pain for too long.  It was period where running was keeping me from sinking.  I had to stop completely and I had no real goals or drive to race again, so I wasn’t inclined to cross train or do something that felt less than that runner’s high.

I needed a goal, some sort of focus to just get training.  I’ve always been a racer, not the best trainer.  So the  challenge was set: Australian Xterra Championships, April 2016. I’d actually entered the year before, ended up in hospital, so no racing and was pretty shattered not to get to the startline. Come 2016, new goals, new mindset to racing and training: I’d found some contentment just riding in the bush on the mountain bike and entered a 100k race, the Otway Odyssey, just to get amongst the race atmosphere again and go to the best trails in Victoria.  It reignited the ever burning flame, to race again.  My preparation was underdone for Aus Xterra Championships, but I was determined to make it to the start and better still, the finish line.  With the support of my partner, Matt, and family at the finish line, it was an emotional day.  They also knew how big this was just to race again.  I placed 2nd in my category and was 2nd overall female (non professional).   That was the ticket to go to World Xterra Championships in Maui, October 2016.   I started training under the guidance and tailored training program from Aeromax’s Grant Giles.

It was a big step up from my soft, sleeping in, go for a half hour run or a casual ride to the cafe or brewery.  With Worlds now a reality and having raced for Australia 4 times, placing 4th and 5th, there is unfinished business.  I locked in a great sponsorship with Temple Brewery Company after a chance meeting at the Melburn Roobaix.   A really good fit given I am known to enjoy a crafty brew or 3 after a race!  Summit Cycles Fitzroy jumped on board and have kept my 3 bikes ticking over beautifully, provided expert set up and hooked up some great deals through their suppliers.  So the journey has begun, once again!!

The race on Sunday was a test of strength.  In my usual, maybe too casual style, I rocked up with a road bike, no race wheels or tri bars, racked it up next to Carbon TT, disc wheel set ups! IMG_0302

I backed myself to run pretty well, but I got it handed to me on the first run, when we set out at a cracking 3:25 pace.  I was 2nd into transition and rode pretty strong, trying to get a bit more aero, but I was regretting no race wheels! I got onto the final run with some chasing to do. Matt gave me the 20 sec split behind first, so it was game on. I visualised that this was the World Champs and how bad did I want to win. Well it worked, I hit the lead and brought it home.  In the grand scheme, not a big race, but a big mental boost and added a bit more fire to the eternal flame –“Soul Runner” #trailtomaui

Finding form amongst Aussies off to Olympics!

I recently ventured to Sydney and I’ve finally managed to get it on paper (or web technically speaking!)……It was a big race in terms of the pedigree lining up. I would be in the company of 3 Olympians and Australian Representatives, taking on the Suncorp Bank Sydney Harbour 10km.  Due to my late decision to race, I sought advice from Gregor, my coach, as how to take on the challenge of 3 races in 3 weekends! His advice was simple, don’t race all three! It would mean mediocre results to race all three, just  focus on one. So the plan was: Gold Coast as a “tempo” run, then Sydney to be ‘an all out, go for broke race’ and Melbourne to be steady. The Sydney race attracted the big guns and as the media file went round on the email with everyone’s past results, I thought I’d scan through.  Let’s just say I was a little freaked out, feeling that I was going to be just making up numbers! By no means do I talk myself down, but realistically in a 2nd year back to running, I calculated that I was a good 3 mins off the top female runners over 10km!   I got through the Gold Coast, not feeling awesome, but I put that down to a night slept at a noisy backpacker and running 5km solid to the start line (to make it in time!!).  I had a really good week of training and as a confidence racer, that helps.  Arriving in Sydney, I had less than a dollar in my back account, talk about hungry to race and place! I knew top 10 would make get prize money, but ideally I wanted top 5. So how did I get this broke? Let’s just say , I am a spender on random things, bikes, old books, albums, vintage clothes (Op shops you will find me in absolute bliss!!).  Add to which, most runners have product sponsors, no cash, hence why they hold down jobs while racing professionally.  So Sydney on Saturday involved a light jog, a run technique session from a prize I gave out at Mini-Mos race, then media time.  So pretty busy, but good distraction.  I warmed up chatting with Marty Dent (off to the Olympics for Mens Marthon, go Marty!!) and felt pretty pumped. Gun goes and I am looking at 3 girls in front, holding just over 3min/km pace!! I went through close to 3:18, with Wes, I guy I coach by my side.  I felt good, like I had found that sweet spot of hard but efficient, a good rhythm.  I held position until 1 km to go. Just rounding under the Harbour Bridge and around some swanky hotel.  I had the “deepest fears, powerful beyond measure” in my head to stay strong!! I got pipped for 4th position but looked up to my absolute delight.. I had run 35mins!!! That was a 90sec PB, I was super stroked. More positively, was the volume still needs a lot of work on. I was running on good track speed, now it’s time for some endurance.  Lara Tamsett won, and in 2nd, Jess Trengrove.  She is another Marathoner off to the Olympics (it will only be her 2nd marathon), she is looking and feeling strong at this stage of her preparation. The mens race was Marty Dent, leading the way from Liam Adams and Russ Dessaix Chin.  Some great pics that wrap up one top weekend!

I met Gilly, pre race and chatted after, top Aussie!

Love when the finish line is in sight!

First season back on track: Olympic Trials


2012 Melbourne Track Classic/ Olympic Trials Womens 5000m

This athletic’s season, was a fresh return to the track after a 12 year lay off.  It wasn’t exactly 12 years of bugger all, but in fact a busy and fairly successful time in triathlon.  I had no expectations coming back into track racing.  I had been doing events in triathlon ranging from 1hr to 4hr30, so to race events less then 20mins was totally different training.  Add to which, it is not what this body had adapted to, my whole physique was still carrying swimmer’s shoulders and cyclist’s quads!  (proof: on Facebook, my mate wrote “Quads” underneath me running on the track, not too offended Tim!).  If anything the goal in 2011/12 was to use running on the 400m track, as speed for road racing over 10km.  And race I did, actually over 20 of them in one summer season!  Over one week I managed to do 2 track races and 1 sprint triathlon, however the outcome the same every time: 2ND!! Maybe my success came from the pure love of running with a strong mind to win, even if the body on paper wasn’t ready to run that fast.  My first race back was a 1500m, I did it in 4:33, quicker then when I was 17 and racing track only.  So how did this happen?  The kick starter to returning to track was my coach, Gregor.  He got some speed in the old legs and importantly some strength.  He works hard and expects nothing less then 100% commitment.  I struggle with that, only because I love running at different places, not very structured and occasionally I jump on a moutain bike.  Plus I was now juggling two jobs but lucky enough they were in running coaching and retail.  I also spent the past few years studying running, as in biomechanics, strength and coaching.  It has helped “feel” my running and try to correct the weaknesses. The best teacher though is experience (of 20 years racing) and my coach! There is a certain greatness with Gregor and his squad.  Himself a former elite distance runner for Poland, he had different ideas and focusses on strength and speed throughout the season.  Falls Creek Camp in January definitely planted the seed to train well.  I unfortunately hurt my foot jumping off crates at Christmas (yeah I should grow up!) but got in cycling, running during the 2.5 weeks.  They paid off with a start in the Melbourne Track Classic/Olympic Trials were in March.  The women’s 5000m was 8:32pm (as per programme), and I was super pumped! (I’m in the blue singlet, next to Georgie Clarke).  Maybe it was the caffeine, or the fact that I was able to race again at a high level, an Olympic Trials.  The last time was in 1999, when I was a Junior Distance Runner.  13 years later, but somewhat stronger, mind and body, I stood on the blue track soaking up the lights talking to other girls racing.  My goal simply hoping to crack out a personal best (PB).  I had around sub 17mins in my head, but not sure if I had the volume to back that up.  The gun went and the pacer was aiming for “A” qualifier i.e. 3:05/km, very quick!  I hung on for as long as possible and as a few dropped out, the field split up.  Emily Brichacek went on to win comfortably from Lara Tamsett, and I was just super stoked I didn’t get lapped! My official time 16:56.43, I’d cracked 17 and that gave me more motivation to keep training and see what comes of it. I have nothing to lose, as now I run coach for my career, so it’s all part of the apprenticeship. Come what may!