Summer training in South Africa - Cape Town

After two months spent in Central America both racing and travelling I then spent the following 3 months training and living in Cape Town. 

Cape Town has been a great place to base myself for triathlon training, it is one of the most active places that i have spent time in, making it a great and fun place to train. During my time here i linked up with a ATC Triathlon group and through here met many new training buddies and friends.

During my time in South Africa i participated in many events, which included a 200km cycle race (Double Century Coronation Ride, Swellendam), numerous trail event runs, the Jailbreak half ironman and the East London 70.3.

 

Cozumel Medals!

 A tough race in the heat but so delighted to have come 1st in my grade in The Met Life Ironman 70.3 Cozumel.

After two weeks since my first race,  with a week in between in Cuba, the big race is here!

After many weeks of dreading this race with a lot of self doubt, the night before the race I was suddenly feeling really good about the race. Unsure what the shift in attitude or thought path was but all of a sudden I was feeling both physically and mentally awesome and excited to race…..an extremely good feeling to go into the race with.

Normally I would say my final race build up prep was far from ideal-with spending a week in Cuba with limited swimming options and zero biking opportunities how ever I did make sure that everyday I was away I did some form of running to make sure that my body was adjusting to running in this temperature-which seemed the hardest of the three disciplines.

Arriving back on Cozumel on the Thursday gave me a good three days to back into the race zone and go over the last tuning of training. Since arriving back on the island I arrived back feeling extremely clam and relaxed with agood feeling about racing. Im not sure if it was because I had a already raced through weeks previously, but the nerves had turned to excitement for the race.

Race day I woke up from an extremely good sleep. 5am was a quick breakfast and then I was catching the bus down to transition by 5.30am. down at transition was a good atmosphere with music playing and competitors everywhere. This time my bike was loaded up withabout 3 litres of fluid and plenty of food to keep the body fueled for the ride! Hydration and nutrition was accentual to this race due to the longer distance, I needed to make sure that I was properly fueled coming off the bike into the long run ahead!!

After transition closed at 6.30am, I did a good warm up and at 7am we were lined up moving towards the swim start!! Before I knew it I was in the water and off!!!

The swim was a top swim, with a relaxed feeling going into the swim start I felt at ease during the whole swim and ended up swimming 25mins for 1.9km! with the third fastest swim time out of thefemales. Normally my swim isn’t my strongest leg so I was wrapped with this. The swim conditions were pretty good with only a little bit of chop but no current which made it a lot morepleasant than the first race!

The bike course was 1 full lap of the island and then a 20km out and back lap at the end. The course was dead flat with a super smooth surface making for a quick bike!! The ride was awesome with great ocean views most of the way although not much of the views were taken in!! the 90km bike disappeared very quickly and before I knew it I was coming into transition 2, approaching the final leg-the run.

Transition 2 was in the underground carpark of the bigmega store which was where the finish line was also set up. Upon racking the bike and heading off on the run the streets were packed with supporters! A great feeling having people cheer you on! As expected, jumping off the bike the heat hit you straight away. Luckily every 1km there were aid /water stations the whole way along the run course.

The run course was 2x 10km lap. 5km out, 5km back in. the first 5km I was feeling pretty good holding decent splits and conserving my energy, the second 5km was a bit more of a struggle as I knew I still had to run this over again. After the first 10km I had settled into a steady pace and felt good with the last 10km to go, mentally I knew I only had 50minutes to go. On the last 5km I started to ramp my run ip a bit more, at this stage I was feeling not too bad and was just eager to get to the finish line! The last 1km of the race seemed the hardest, only cause I was so close to the line but legs were over it!! Finally I made the line!

So happy to make the line and even happier to come away with a top placing! Looking back on the race im wrapped with how it went, a lot of room for improvement but for the first longer distance race of the reason it was a good start and has put me a good space for works on before the next big race in December!!

 

Race review

Race day was greeted by an early start, with wake up at 4.30am followed by breakfast!! I needed to be down at cycle transition by 5.30 to set up transition gear. The atmosphere down at transition was humming, music and lots of nervous athletes! 6.55am was my race start, this time between transition and start time disappeared very quickly, before I knew it my age group was being called to the start line down the swim shoot.

The swim had been shortened to 1200m from 1500m due to a strong head current. The race start was madness, as I expected it would be, the first 200m was with the tail current so we were flying until we turned around the buoys into a long 1000m straight stretch into the head current. The swim literally felt as though you were on a treadmill going nowhere! I felt that I was swimming pretty good, I was in the first main bunch so happy with that. As I neared the last set of buoys I got caught under one of the buoys due to the strong current!! Probably one of my scariest swimming encounters!

After what felt a century in the water finally it was a long 300m transition run from the sea to the bike transition, I was extremely happy to be on the bike! The bike was an extremely fast and flat course. I made up a lot of places on the bike, I was 20th out of the water and moved into 9th place on the bike. The bike was pretty much a straight out and back course.

After coming into transition of the bike I was certainly dreading the hot run to come. I knew this would be a battle with the heat! Today was certainly one of the hotter days to the week with no cloud cover! As I embarked on the run I was actually feeling pretty good, the crowds were really supportive and encouraging! After my first lap of two on the run, after what I felt I had controlled the first lap pretty well I thought I was feeling comfortable and would have been happy to control holding this time for the second lap…..only then did the energy levels start to drop off and the heat really kick in. The second lap was certainly a mental tester, the last 1km was a real battle but I was determined to make the line. Within the last 1km I past a lot of other competitors who were passed out on the side of the roads suffering from heat exhaustion, I knew I had to push on, and finally I made the line!!!!

Looking back on the race, at first I was pretty hard on myself, I struggled with the fact that I ran almost 10minutes slower off the bike!! But then again most people were also running similar times. I think the hardest thing found was that I knew I was not running my best times regardless of the heat however on the day I couldn’t have ran any harder, and for my first worlds competition I should be happy to have almost made top ten considering this is really my first completive season.

A positive from the race has made me want to race world again next year, now I know what im up against and know I could do so much better!! So this real brings a lot of motivation coming into the new season!

I have two weeks between my next race which is a half ironman here on the island. Hopefully over the next two weeks the body will be more adjusted to the heat conditions!

Holla from Mexico.....

Straightaway you notice the heat, but thankfully the cyclone had passed by the time we got to the race location.

Straightaway you notice the heat, but thankfully the cyclone had passed by the time we got to the race location.

Finally the time has come!! After a 13 hour flight to Houston, and then a 2 hour connecting flight to Cancun and I have arrived in Mexico!!!

Arriving at the Cancun airport went as smoothly as it could have, everyone's bikes and bags turned up and no dramas! The heat was definitely something you noticed straight away walking out of the airport, the second was the full on cyclone that was passing through at the time also!! From Cancun we caught mini vans down to Playa Del Carmen where we take a 40min ferry trip over to the island of Cozumel. After a stormy trip down the coast to playa del Carmen we were greeted with beautiful blue skies in Cozumel!! We arrived to the island on Sunday afternoon, from here everyone unpacked, settled in and began putting their bikes etc together! 

Monday morning was greeted by a lovely morning swim directly opposite our hotel; the water is the most amazing clear blue with temperatures of 29 degrees! No need for wetsuits here!! After an easy 1000m swim to wake the body we were off on a group run to freshen the legs after the travel. Typical me felt like running at a faster pace, only to then miss the turn off to transition so what was meant to be a 4km run was in fact a 10km....by the last 4km of the run I was really feeling the heat! Mid morning was then followed by an easy spin on the bike to have a look at the course! Again the course was surrounded by beautiful scenery, the cycle course follows the coast with sea views most of the way!

Tuesday I started to feel the jet lag slightly. Tuesday was a greeted by another ocean swim followed by a 50km cycle over the racecourse. After training we all headed into town to the expo area where we needed to register and collect our packs for the race. Registration was crazy busy, as expected! The vibe on the island is extremely motivating with so many like-minded athletes!! It has defiantly boosted the energy and excitement levels leading into the race!

Wednesday was the first day of racing with the aquathlon, a run swim run. Wednesday I got up early to go for a harder run- this run felt a lot better although still hard and still well off my usual run splits!  The aquathlon was great to watch and made me envious of those racing.

Thursday was the sprint triathlon where many of NZ team were competing! The atmosphere down at the course was humming with excitement from all the competitors and supporters. The NZ team achieved some great results with several podium finishes!

Friday was a day off/recovery! A group of us took the chance to enjoy the island and headed out snorkelling for the morning. 

One day out, Saturday the body started to feel the nerves. The day was pretty quiet day, with a lot of mental prep and getting everything ready for the race. The morning started with an early swim leading into a short bike and run, focusing on my transitions for the next day. The body was feeling amazing during training so I felt more than ready to race! A good feeling to end the last training on. Later that day everyone headed down to transition to do the final bike drop off, cant believe that this time tomorrow its race day!!

Training Schedule Hotting Up In Winter

Keeping the intensity going through the dark early mornings and short days of winter WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE A challenge.

Keeping the intensity going through the dark early mornings and short days of winter WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE A challenge.

Journey to Mexico…

It has been a long 6 months since my last triathlon at Challenge Wanaka and finally it is 2 weeks out from my race in Mexico! After what seems like a long winter I thought I would reflect on how my training has going building up to Mexico.

Since missing the New Zealand winter last year and having three summers in a row I didn’t quiet realise how hard (both physically and mentally) it would be to train triathlon through the winter building into an event end of winter.

In May I moved back up to Nelson from Christchurch in order to take training more serious and put more time into it. I figured Nelson would be a slightly warmer climate over the winter than Christchurch to train in. Nelson is also a great base for training with so many trails to be explored, which keeps training exciting, especially over the winter!

Moving back meant that I had to find a new a group of like-minded training buddies to train with! Luckily this wasn’t too hard! Nelson has a great triathlon club so this also made it easier to connect with others!  Over the winter most Saturdays I competed in the local harriers club runs and a few of the cycles races, to add some competitiveness to my trainings.

Over the winter I competed in a couple of bigger events, one being the cooks landing, nelson events run which was a 26km trail run through the Marlborough sounds, here I placed first and mid august I competed in a dualthlon in takaka which was a 30km bike, 22km trail run and a 30km cycle. Placed second.

Winter trainings defiantly tested the mental strength, there were plenty of cold and wet days where staying in bed would have been the more desirable choice but somehow I managed to make myself complete all my sessions each week, regardless of the weather, although there has been many days particularly the cold and wet where I really question my reasons for triathlon….long 3-4hour bike rides really weren’t that fun! Having Mexico as my goal helped me stay motivated and on track.

The winter did prove to be a challenge to my training. Unfortunately I got pretty ran down from the flu and instead of listening to my body and taking a rest I tried to train through. At the time I was adamant and determined not to miss training, but unfortunately I had to pay the consequences later. After getting over the flu, I found that I was constantly tired and fatigued and struggling to hold my splits in my training sessions. On top of this, my stomach problems flared up again which totally put me out of running for a good month! Since this I have been seeing a sports nutritionist and naturopath doctor who have been helping try restoring my energy systems and putting my body back in balance. Hopefully with these changes I will come more energy!!

What I did learn from the winter is to listen to the body, sometimes the body does need a rest, and missing a training session to recovery properly will save you in the long run!

Building into the final week pre Mexico I am excited yet extremely nervous to race. Obviously not an ideal final build up into the last weeks of training but I am confidant that with the right mentality i will be fine!