Friday, 5 December 2014

2014 Wrap Up

As we near Christmas and the end of 2014 I thought it was time to reflect on a big year of racing, important things I've learnt and to get excited for a huge 2015!!

So quick life can fly by and you don't have a chance to stop, take hold of what you achieved, learnt and improved. My three months in Europe, Asia and Canada were my most successful overseas campaign yet and a big step in the right direction.

Racing at the Top
This was my first year when I stepped up to race on the top triathlon circuit, the ITU World Series. After posting a painful DNF in my hometown, Auckland due to dropped chain that was a fault of incorrect shifting (lesson learnt) I was rather nervous prior to my next showdown at a World Series event in Stockholm, Sweden. The build up to the race wasn't the best, a lesson was learnt in remaining calm when unexpected things happen; I was late for the first time in my career to an ITU briefing and was handed the penalty of being last out onto the pontoon. I became quite panicked and freaked out by this, but in hindsight I didn't need to worry as I got a great start and exited the water in 5th. Finishing in 28th might not appear as an amazing result but for me this was huge and a big relief to finish my 1st World Series race. I am not there just to participate but realistically not at podium level so it was a result I was very satisfied with.
Front pack in Stockholm WTS
A quick turnaround (2 days) and I was off to Canada to race in my first Elite World Champs. Not only was I going to compete in my biggest race yet against the absolute best in the world, I was competing in a city that had a place in my heart since spending 4 months there as an exchange student at the University of Alberta in 2010. Going into the race ranked no 51, my goal was to post a top 30 finish. I exited the water in 3rd, biked hard with the other kiwi girls in the front pack and finished in 23rd place which was beyond my expectations for my 1st Elite World Champs. The result increased my confidence that I belong at that level and deserve to be there and gained vital experience of what I need to do to reach the top. Already planning and looking forward to racing in a lot more World Series events in 2015!
Edmonton WTS
Progression and Improvement
After Edmonton, I had three weeks to recover, get in some solid training and then freshen up for my next event. I definitely needed it after racing in China, Hungary, Stockholm then Canada within a month resulted in my body being run down. A few days rest and I was ready to go again, I loved the training environment in Rio Maior, Portugal, it made focusing on training and recovery from training easy. Huge thanks to Sergio and the athletes I trained with there who pushed me in training to get in top shape for my next races. In Alanya,Turkey I was determined to have an improved T2 (In Edmonton I got caught up at the back of the pack, clashing with another athlete, then having to retrieve my sunglasses I accidentally threw in my transition box resulting in running out last!). In Turkey I made sure to position myself near the front and back myself to run with others that normally beat me, I felt the best I ever had running out and felt strong the whole 10km resulting in my best 10km time (36.40). Although I finished 25th, the improvement and progression in my run was the main goal for the event which I achieved.
Alanya WC Run
From there I went to Korea to compete in my last race of the year, the Tongyeong World Cup, where again while the race came down to a running race as most of the field came together on the bike, I challenged myself to beat girls who I had never beaten before and my run time was a massive improvement from a year ago on the same course. It's really awesome as an athlete to know you are progressing and improving from season to season and increases my belief in myself I can reach the top with continued improvement in my run. Although it won't happen overnight I am willing and motivated to put in the necessary work to get there!!

There were lots of highs and lows this year but overcoming each challenge that comes my way helps me become a stronger athlete. "Instead of looking at a hundred reasons to quit, look at the thousand reasons not to give up".

There are lots of people that have helped made racing overseas possible this year:
Thanks to my coach, Stephen Farrell for his confidence and belief in me, his expertise, support and enthusiasm. Thanks for putting up with my panicked Skype calls and knowing what to say to get me back on track and prepared for competition. It was awesome to have Steve in Edmonton supporting me in my biggest race and then watching him being triple world champion in his age group!
Edmonton with coach Steve Farrell

Sergio Santos: Huge thanks to Sergio for allowing me to train with his squad in Rio Maior, Portugal, it is a great training environment and everyone is so welcoming at the training centre, it's become a second home:)
With Sergio & Philippines nat team
Vanek Family: Thanks for your generosity in letting me stay in your home for 10 days in the lead up to the Tiszaujvaros World Cup. Such a huge help to stay with locals who know the area for training and to travel easily to the event from their home in Budapest. Congrats to Akos Vanek for winning the World Cup in his home country and Margit Vanek for 2nd place, amazing to see!
Coffee w Akos, Margit Vanek & Zsofia Kovacs
Parents: Mum and Dad are my biggest supporters and I couldn't be training and racing overseas without their support, I know they believe in me and I am so grateful to have such amazing parents.

Thanks also to my homestay in Stockholm, Ylva Voxby for welcoming me into her home and stocking it with delicious food! (Thanks to Paul Anderson for organising). Thanks to Mehmet Peker for his kind offer of having me to stay in Alanya, Turkey.


Thanks to the team at Blue Seventy for their support and I'm proud to represent the Blue Seventy brand and race in the best wetsuit on the market, the Helix! Looking forward to swimming fast in Blue Seventy for the 2015 Season.

Thanks to Jason at Triathlete's Corner for his support and belief in me, making me laugh and being an all round awesome sponsor. Check out the shop in St Heliers, Auckland for all your triathlon needs!

Thanks to Rick and the team at PRV (Pawson Reid Velo) for their support and helping me to race in the best cycle gear, racing on the Cervelo S5 Di2 is amazing and enables me to compete with the best in the world on a level playing field.

Thanks to Mark at Adidas Eyewear for providing me with sunglasses to race and train in, love my adizero tempos and Marewa and Simone Kraak at Pure for their hydration products that meet my training and racing nutritional needs!

A special thanks to Fit For Fun for their sponsorship in 2014 and backing me again in 2015 so I can continue to race overseas, it's greatly appreciated.

Looking ahead; 
After a three week break following my last race, I am now into my fourth week of base training and it is going better than I could have hoped for! The focus is on increasing my run volume, strength training with a small amount of speed work. Summer has arrived here in Auckland and it's awesome to be back training with my coach, Stephen Farrell and training partners from the North Harbour Triathlon Club; lots of swimming in the ocean, adventures, coffees, cafe stops coming up over Xmas and the New Year before I get stuck into racing from the start of February:)

2015 Feb-April Schedule 
1st Feb: Kinloch ITU Oceania Sprint Championships
13th Feb Takapuna, ITU Oceania Cup
22nd Feb Devonport Oceania Standard Championships, OTU
21-22nd March New Plymouth WC, New Zealand 
28-29th March Auckland WTS
11-12th April Gold Coast WTS

Thanks for reading, hope everyone has a fabulous Christmas and best wishes for the year ahead:)

Fav training location:)