It has been a while since my last update but I am pleased to say it’s because I have been busy getting into the hard yards in training and working my way toward the level of fitness I want to be at for Rio in just under 7 weeks.
After the disappointment of not finishing in Yokohama I went back to NZ for some testing in the lab to check everything was ok with my body. I had some fun in the sports science lab with Paul Laursen the HPSNZ head Physiologist and his team-who were absolutely fabulous, a great help. I stayed in Auckland for the announcement of the New Zealand Olympic team which was a pretty special occasion.
Being named to represent my country in my second Olympic games has been a goal for me since almost immediately after the 2012 Olympic games however its only part of that goal and the other part I am still working towards. I was the only person from the team that was in Auckland at the time so it was an amazing experience which felt like it was put on just for me.
Following the Olympic announcement, I decided to head north to my parent’s place in Whangarei - I didn't want to go home to Wanaka because at the time weather wasn't really suitable for training with the winter fast approaching - snow on the hill tops and wild wet and cold weather in town. So I headed for the "winter less" North! This turned out to be a great decision as most days it was a balmy 20 degrees (as opposed to the highs of around 6 in Wanaka!) I was at one with mum and dad’s orchard and most of our food coming from the farm I felt recharged, refreshed, refocused, happy and of course got into the start of a good training block. 10 days later it was time pack up and head to Europe and after an EPIC trip of around 45hrs total travel with a delay and missed connection as usual ;) (Whangarei- Auckland – Hong Kong – Munich – Barcelona then the 2.5hr drive to France!) coach Jon and I finally made it up to Font Romeu in the Pyrenees – my home away from home in the mountains.
Font Romeu is one of my favourite places to train, it’s the French altitude training base in the Pyrenees in France where a heap of the Rio Olympians are based and the training set up is perfect for triathlon. Living at the centre it has 9 floors of accommodation where you get your own room with single bed, desk, shelves, shower and toilet – the rooms are small but are all that you need. On the bottom floor there are two swimming pools and nearby a full running track, the running around the centre is ok but we head to the lake which is a 20min drive to do quite a bit of running on the smoother trails there. The biking is hilly and most of the roads are quiet.
Riding in Font Romeu, France
I have spent the first 4 weeks living in the centre which has been awesome, here we get three meals a day and can train as much as we like in the pool and on the track.
Heading to the race in Stockholm this weekend helps to break up a solid 4 weeks of training and important to get an Olympic distance race in as it is the last WTS Olympic distance race prior to Rio. I had a great first 3 weeks but this last week have been noticeably more tired - that however tells me I have done some good hard yards and the training is taking its toll on my body! I've had a couple of easy days leading into this race to try freshen up ever so slightly and it might just have worked.
We headed out to Sweden very early on Thursday morning and after another big day of travel (we were delayed at the airport for a few hours which meant it literally took the whole day to get there as opposed to the half we had planned!) we headed directly to the briefing making it with 15minutes to spare, had a look around the course on Friday and headed off to bed to get up and race on Saturday – race day was here already, which is the way I like it!
Swimming pool in Sweden
The swim today wasn't my best but considering the start, I managed to salvage a reasonable place out of the water – during the swim (which was a bit strange) I didn't even know we had started – I dived in and was getting hit from all angles in the first few meters, I had no space and had people grabbing at me from every side - it was very strange.
I decided to empty my googles and swim around the back of everyone to get some space and clear water on the side - at this stage I was last but once I had some clean and clear water I could get back into my work and slowly made my way back toward the leaders. Unfortunately, the front pack had broken away by the stage I got myself sorted and I couldn't reel them in. I exited the water just behind the lead group of 6 but ahead of the main group which wasn't actually all that bad considering it was a wetsuit swim and I'm notoriously slower in a wetsuit swim, I was however in no-man’s land.
Stockholm bike on “pinky”
The group in front of me formed quickly and I worked solidly in the first part of the bike until the group behind caught up and we worked to catch the lead group – except Flora, she was off the front again. One of my goals today was that I wanted to work solidly on the bike to see where I was at with my bike fitness and also test myself on the technical course before doing the same during the run. The bike was great weaving through the town roads on the cobbles with tight corners and a short uphill every lap.
Out onto the run I decided to start conservatively. The bike was hard and I wasn’t sure if the training load from the last few weeks was going to catch up on me after a solid effort on the bike – I was last from our group after the first lap but then began picking up the pace and working my way back toward the front picking off a few people each lap where I made it back up to 7/8/9 position.
I had a lovely sprint finish with Charlotte McShane from Aussie and wearing my slick bottom shoes (which wasn't the best idea for this) I gave it a shot but was déjà vu from 2014 sprinting with Andrea Hewitt for 2/3 and I felt like I was running on the spot - no traction on that wet carpet. So finished today in 8th and happy with my progress especially considering the training load of the last month.
Tomorrow we are on the road again and its time to head back to “the Font” and get back into the next phase. I just have 10 days before I head to the Hamburg WTS but again will train through this race as it’s just a sprint distance and it's more about going through the motions of triathlon (swim-T1-bike-T2-run) as all prep continues for Rio. I have another 4 weeks left at Font which I am very much looking forward to and then I head down from altitude and into a bit of heat in Banyoles, Spain for 2 weeks of further training after that its then it's time to wind down and then off to Rio just under a week prior to my race there – exciting!
Thanks to everyone for your continued support on my climb back from injury, it’s great to be out racing again heading to where I want to be and especially a big thanks to my bike sponsor Deda Elementi as now my infamous “pinky” bike retires from this year’s racing and the golden bumble bee set for Rio is coming out to play!