Saturday, 2 August 2014

Reflection and Jiayuguan World Cup

After a mixed end to my first race season of the year; having my second DNF ever in Auckland with a mechanical issue which was very tough to take but hopefully making me a stronger athlete for it. I then traveled to Asia for two races in China, the first going really well when I finished 5th in the Zhenijiang Asian Cup and posting my fastest 10km run showing my running is on the right track. Unfortunately for my last race of the season I got sick 5 days leading into the event, hoping I would come right I raced, however felt weak the whole race and really struggled on the run to finish a disappointing 20th. From there it was a well deserved two week break, the 1st week spent catching up with my sister in Cambodia where she is working, it was a very relaxing week and helped to get over my sickness and fatigue from the previous race and refresh. I was motivated to get back into training and over the next several weeks, I did my biggest run weeks in terms of mileage and I felt like I was finally becoming a half decent runner:). Now for my next race season of the year I will be away from home for three months, my longest period away for racing yet! Have six races on the schedule, the first I raced in last weekend (mentioned below), next up is Tiszaujvaros World Cup, followed by Stockholm World Series two weeks later, the Edmonton Grand Final a week later then Alanya World Cup and Tongyeong World Cup to finish the season.

Swim start, me far left:)
Jiayuguan ITU World Cup:
Got some bad news 1 week and a half before I left for China, the pain in my mid back that I thought was pulled intercostal muscles was actually a broken rib! A small fracture had occured in my 10th rib (1st floating one), the weird thing is I don't know exactly caused it, no impact from a crash, the pain started after a gym work so possibly over extending myself in the gym and a combination of a tight latissimus dorsi pulling at my rib. Had an up and down few days dealing with this setback and whether I could still go and away and race. The main issue was the swim, it was painful to pull through the water and also tumble turn, small positive was that I wouldn't have to tumble turn in the race! Got advice from my coach, parents, boyfriend, the one that helped the most was hearing from Jo Lawn that she had broken a rib a few days before Tauranga Half and went on to win the race! It was about how much pain I could deal with and that unlike other injuries I could not make it worse. As the pain decreased and I could swim more I was 100% glad I made the decision to go and compete instead of changing my travel plans.

Arriving in China, it was a bit of a shock to come from 13 degrees to 33 degrees! The city, Jiayuguan is also at 1600m so altitude would play a role in the race and training the few days before it definitely found it harder to breathe. To the race; I had a clean start and was 2nd to the 1st buoy behind Sato (JPN), I was happy to sit in and draft however was pushed around by a few athletes trying to get closer to the front so decided on the 2nd lap to pick up the pace and take the lead (hoping to hurt others to fall off the pack). 1st out of water and 2nd onto the bike, ready to work hard for a breakaway. Unfortunately a large group was still together and on a flat course, unable to make a break.

The first few laps were frustrating as the group wasn't working well, with a lot of girls sitting in. Took a bit of yelling and going to the back to get everyone working. By the 3rd lap we were making time on the 2nd group and this seemed to motivate the girls more to get away from some of the fastest runners in the field.

Onto the run, I had a good transition and was out in about 5th. Weary about the heat and altitude (I talked to some of the guys who raced early and quite a few said they had blown up, plus one guy was hospitalised and needed an IV drip). I tried not to go out too hard but keep in touch with the other girls. Had a few up and downs throughout the run, a bad stitch at 5km caused some concern but once I was through that I set my target on the fading Mexican girl in front of me. Passed her with a km to go, and picked up the speed to drop her straight away and give everything to the finish line. Got run down on the blue carpet by a fast finishing Russian to finish 12th.

Happy with my swim and bike and with my time on the run in the heat still shows improvement. Pleased to have outrun 1/3 of my bike pack and if the ideal situation for me of getting a small group had occured a top 8 finish would have been on the cards.

On top of the Great Wall:)
Had a great day exploring a section of the Great Wall the day after the race, pretty cool experience as lots of history behind it. Among the passes on the Great Wall, Jiayuguan is the most intact surviving ancient military building and was a key waypoint of the Ancient Silk Road. Travel tip: There are two sides to the wall, one you can pay for which has been restored and busy with tourists, or can go up the other side which is way more authentic, you don't have to pay for and is a lot less busy!!

Looking forward to the next race in 2 weeks, Tiszaujvaros WC in Hungary over a double sprint format:)

Thanks to my sponsors, Fit for Fun, Blueseventy, Cervelo, Zoggs, Triathlete's Corner and PRV for their support and the support of my coach, family and friends:)

Selfie on the Wall:)