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!