After Kona last year, I entered a bit of a no-man’s-land (so many people told me this would happen), I didn’t rest enough but I couldn’t stop training. I was nursing a hip injury and a knee that would hurt on and off right up to race day. The worst part is that I kept most of this from Lucie just in case she stopped updating my Training Peaks (really!?). In January I ended up at my physio, Julia Witt, somewhat over-trained, stressed about starting a new career and not quite sure what was next for me with regard to triathlon. At this point I wasn’t running as my hip was too sore. In our first session she asked me, “Why are you beating yourself with this big stick?” and I know this sounds weird but I began a journey with her where we got to understand how my body works, but more importantly how my mind works and what are the things that drive me both positively and negatively.
To cut a long story short I am better at understanding the “why” to the “what” if that makes sense. The “what” is triathlon and the “why” is so many things. I think I have been able to let go of the fear of failure and accept this gift that I have been given relatively late in life and make the most of it while it lasts! So the “why” is because I love training, I love racing, I love winning (there I said it), I love what this sport has done for my body, I love the people that I have met and the friends that I have made and I love sharing this journey with everyone around me.
Having said all of that, deep I know, I arrived at this year’s race in a very good head space and with the right amount of training in the bag. My injuries were behaving and I was pretty confident that my body would keep it together. The moment of truth comes when you are standing on the beach and the pros have gone off…there is no turning back. There is so much excitement but also utter fear and dread, but once you’re running into the ocean it’s down to business.
When it comes to the swim, there are dolphins, racing snakes, mermaids and even penguins…I am none of these. I prefer to think of myself as one of the turtles in Finding Nemo. Like yo Dude, let’s do this thing…whoo hoo…what 1:14:00? Can’t be right…I swear I swim faster than that! But clearly I don’t, and in reality the race starts once I have exited that damn condom of a wetsuit!
My plan this year was to be more careful in my transitions, not to make any silly mistakes and to be STEADY throughout the race. This was especially applicable on the ride. My only issue was that I got a new saddle 5 weeks before the race and I just never got comfortable in fact I suffered for 180km. This is probably why I rode well…I couldn’t wait to get off the saddle!!! My “princess” is still not speaking to me! The new bike course, however, is really great and set us up for fast ride times.
Another smooth transition and I was on the run…my favourite part. The run and I have a love hate relationship. It hurts my body but I just love doing it! At that point Lucie and Kim had told me that there was someone about 10 minutes ahead of me, so I made the decision to run as hard as I could for 20km to see if anything would perhaps go wrong with her race. As it turned out she is a super machine, made in the UK, and ran away from me, just like that. I am so proud of my time of 10:38:53 and I am extremely grateful for my Kona slot.
So what is it that keeps me coming back? Apart from the things mentioned earlier, it is that search for the perfect race. Having spoken to so many people who raced, not one person said that they’re done and never doing it again. All of them, myself included, talk about what we would do differently or better in training or on race day. What an amazing thing…
The usual “thank you's” apply so I’m just going to list them quick quick:
The One and Only: Kim Voller
My crazy family: All of you
Coach extraordinaire: Lucie Zelenkova (like really)
Guru: Julia Witt
Team fantastic: TRIFACTRI
Friends, clients, even acquaintances that showed so much interest and support!!