The sleepy seaside town of Victor Harbour now holds special meaning to me. As the South Australian Olympic Distance Championships, I wanted to perform well in my new state. I could see various scenarios in which I finished anywhere from 1st to 5th. To get my first professional win was certainly special. My experience racing in Kingston four weeks ago showed me where I needed to improve. Tweaking training is one thing, re-finding your “mojo” and excelling is another. Life has been particularly busy, exciting and stressful over the past few months. Somewhere in there I lost my way where triathlon was concerned. Mentally and physically I wasn’t 100%.
So what changed? I let go of the belief that managing everything myself was the best and only way. A lot of time researching local, domestic, and overseas coaches seemed like a good place to start. After various discussions I began working with Wollongong based coach, Alex Price, from AP10. Specific and prescriptive training sessions have refreshed my mind as much as my body. Four weeks in and I have a new outlook as well as a state title. You won’t catch me complaining.
Swimming… is it a beauty or a beast? The solitary trips up and down the black line had to end. Too much time was being spent obsessing over slow motion videos of Ian Thorpe. I was lucky enough to have a swim squad recommended to me after the race in Kingston. Following this up has made swimming so much more enjoyable and renewed my passion for it.
Beyond the physical I took some time to have internal conversions. Going round and round in one’s can be dangerous but the focus was on rekindling belief in my abilities. The result of these processes was the performance in Victor Harbour. The race unfolded in an unpredictable manner. The non-wetsuit swim got under way with the usual flurry of arms. Holding my own against those around me allowed me to comfortably settle into the lead group. Other athletes seeking to cut the line tested my resolve. For once I really fought to maintain my position and the mania soon settled down. With goggles all but full of water I had very little idea of where we were. I simply followed the splashing water until we finally hit the beach. Is it just me or does the swim always feel really long?
The first transition was a lengthy run from the beach and I moved my way from 5th to 2nd. Mounting was fairly uneventful -phew! Losing a few places over the opening kilometre, I was content to have stuck with the group. Victor Harbour is uncharacteristically hilly for a South Australian race. The hills start just two kilometres into the bike and continue throughout. Steve Mckenna -who comfortably- won in Kingston was already off the front and to my surprise I was the only one chasing. The initial hills allowed me to move away from my group and I set about minimising my time losses to the leader. Certain that someone would pass me, I was very pleased, if not perplexed that no one ever did. The gaps ahead and behind me continued to extend. Dismounting the bike with a comfortable distance to those behind, and still within sight of the lead was an exciting place to be.
The run unfolded in its typical fashion. Painfully. There is nothing pleasant about the run leg but at least I know what to expect. Taking the lead was a little surreal. For the entire race you have to keep positive and hold onto the belief that it can happen. I’ve thought about this race ever since I decided to move to Adelaide and I was grateful that the cards fell my way on this occasion. It is a little ironic that my first professional win comes over a distance I have typically shunned. Don’t worry, I’ll be sticking to long course, but I will keep a more open mind when planning the race calendar.
Victor Harbour wraps up my triathlon season. The season was short but it has finished on a high. I’ll now be looking at building into the winter and preparing for next season. I have no doubt that I’ll be making more changes with Alex Price. After doing the same thing for a long time, I believe that I’ve built a great base. Trialling new things and shocking the system looks to be the way forward. I’m excited.