Thursday, 20 February 2014

Lessons learnt...the hard way

I had a great buildup to the start of the NZ triathlon season, with lots of miles banked and extra focus on my running. The sun was shining most of the time, and with some good hit outs at the Stroke and Stride race series I was excited and looking forward to my first triathlon race of 2014, the first elite race of the newly named .kiwi Tri Series at Takapuna.  Last year after struggling with injury in the build up to the race season I didn’t expect much of myself and was really happy to finish 3rd in the Elite women. This year in hindsight I realised I put too much expectation of the outcome of the race and not in the performance itself.  With not a huge field racing and with improved running in training I expected to likely grab a podium spot and go better than last year. In triathlon though nothing is guaranteed, you can’t just expect a result to happen.

To the race itself, I had a great swim, getting to the front quickly and exiting the water in 1st. Transition is important in these short races so I focused on getting through as quickly as possible, I knew one girl was right behind me, but didn’t know where the rest of the field was. When starting the bike I was a bit complacent, worrying about my shoes instead of getting up to speed and checking to see if anyone was coming. Nicky Samuels suddenly sprinted past and my moment’s hesitation and surprise caused a decisive gap to open up.  This is where I should have washed away my annoyance for letting her go so quickly and not sticking to her. However I let my frustration dictate my head causing my body to be more tense and not efficient. There was a large gap to the next athlete, and it looked to be a solo ride for me. However once the group behind me started working together they began to take time out of me. After being solo for most of the bike, I wanted to keep the advantage going in to the run, however I was caught by the end of the 7th lap.

There were 5 other girls in the chase pack, but I was confident I could still run myself onto the podium. I tried to conserve as much energy as possible in the last two laps.  Towards the end of the last lap I tried to get myself in a good position so I could start the run in the lead. I accelerated towards the final bend,  where when one girl passed me I should have dropped back and followed her line. Instead I got distracted by looking to my outside to avoid collision but taking the corner too tight on the inside (most likely hitting my pedal) and causing the bike to slid out and my bottom to hit the concrete hard. A million thoughts went through my head (not again) as I had previously crashed on this course, (can I continue), (is the bike alright?). By the time I got up, checked I could continue, and put the chain on, the girls were far up the road and a chance of podium finish gone. I wanted to crawl into a hole right there and then, but decided to finish for my parents, boyfriend, coach, and friends supporting on the course. It was tough mentally and physically to finish but I glad I stuck it out and made it to the finish line. I was guttered and hugely disappointed to finish off the podium after expecting a lot of myself. I felt I let down those that support me and upset with how I started the season. On the bright side there was luckily no broken bones this time, just lots of ice and some painkillers needed!

The week following the crash was tough, largely mentally, I had to work hard at being positive for my next race and moving on from the crash. A quote I saw on a sign definitely resonated with me ‘Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it’. I allowed myself a few days to be annoyed and frustrated at myself then had to move on to prepare for my next race, Kinloch ITU Oceania Sprint Champs. 

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