Saturday, 3 February 2018

January Blog Update ~ Kicking off Fresh

 January Blog Update ~ Kicking off Fresh

Hi Legends & Welcome 2018!

 1 month gone already, can you believe it! How are those new year’s resolutions going, or was it more a case of new year, same me? Whichever the case, I hope the summer holiday vibes are still lingering & leaving you energised & pumped to kick start 2018!

I was very lucky to be able to spend 10 days over Christmas & into the New Year at our family’s “second” home at Seal Rocks, on the NSW Mid north coast, staying at our Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage at Sugarloaf lighthouse overlooking the incredible lighthouse beach. It’s a place I cherish & certainly seaside views you can’t not be in awe of, with a sunrise over the water & lighthouse beam guarding overnight! The place is very special to me, with my whole family together which is rare these days! (something I wish I knew as a kid growing up, you take it for granted having everyone living under the one roof as the “normal”) 

It’s turning into a (very important 😉) annual ritual for me & the family to take a breath, get away from the hustle & bustle and recharge the batteries for the busy new year ahead! It’s certainly no break though, its training as normal up there, with 3-4 sessions a day, making the most of the backyard ocean pool for open water swims, the great Myall Lakes National Park with its extensive run trails & mountain bike fire trails, a backyard gym set up & some quieter roads for the longer km rides! I love the change of scenery for training, it’s very refreshing & compliments the work this time of year!

Avantiplus Narrabeen & myself organised a great Scott Mountain bike- the Spark, for my dad for Christmas, so I could take on the trails with Dad, and possibly a few surf checks & Single Fin Coffee Food truck stops for their famous coffee & Nutella croissant up at Seal Rocks, too good to resist! 

Heading home to Sydney the second week of January to get back into routine & continue building up my early season base. Returning down to my Southside training base group again, kicking back into some track work, moto pacing, (Um, ouch the legs forgot how much that stings after a break!) Friday Night Sutherland Cycle Club Crit Racing & long bunch rides. A great group environment & welcoming me back into the HPT High Performance Tri weekly training environment!

I love this time of year with a pretty perfect Summer balance, just before the early season domestic season racing & travel kicks off, I get my time at home to see friends who are still on leave from work, enjoy the Sydney Summer with daylight savings evening perks squeezing in the most of the day, yes that means afternoon Trail horse rides & swims at the beach to end the day!

Mum, Dad & I headed away to Melbourne for 2 nights to watch the Australian Open of Tennis, getting Mum & Dad tickets down for Christmas, a tiny token of thanks for the huge amount they do for me but it was brilliant quality time together. I'm very close with my parents so it was awesome to be able to sit in awe at the Australian Open of tennis watching the Quarter finals, enjoy some fine dining at Melbourne (ChinChin was a winner) and coffee hunting! Roaming the famed Melbourne lane ways and enjoying a swim, run & gym session down here! 

My only race for January was the famed Wollongong Australia Day Aquathon which is turning into a reoccurring season starter, my 6th in a row this year & my first time sneaking onto that prestigious podium, lining up with a world class Wollongong Wizard international squad of athletes, with big names like Gwen Jorgensen winning multiple times in the past, and Ash Gentle taking line honours in 2017. 

The race consists of a 900m harbour 2 lap swim, before transitioning onto a 7km mixed surface run. This year the run headed up the hill out of Wollongong harbour, onto the grass & pathway towards Puckey’s Park, before looping back onto the trails and turning for home around the big grass oval again & back up over the hill towards the harbourside finish shoot! 

I got a clean break away in the wetsuit legal swim and was able to exit the water with a slight edge on the field, with a quick transition I was off onto the run, chasing down the men ahead who started 20 mins prior to us women, & waiting to hear the breathing of another female down my back. Like I said, having raced 5 times prior, I had my fair share of experience in being run down by some World Class runners, so was pleased when I passed half way in the lead! Its very early season, so running at “pace” doesn’t feel too great, nor too fast, but working hard I tried to jump on the speedy tail of Ash Gentle as she passed through the trails. The 2017 ITU World Champion runner up, Ash, ran away to take the Australia Day line honours very deservingly & I was happy to stick hard & take runner up & my first podium. A pleasing sign for the very early season & a great way to start my 2018 racing calendar! 

Lets hope in a month or 2 so the trisuit won’t feel so tight & running won’t feel so tough, or at least ill be getting places a little quicker for the same effort haha. 
The Australian domestic & Oceania season kicks off early this year, starting the following weekend, the first weekend of February in Glenelg- South Australia. 

Here I’ll be racing my first Triathlon for the year in the Oceania Sprint Champs on the Saturday afternoon in the South Australian Heat, and then backing up on Sunday morning to compete in the first Oceania Elite Mixed Team Relay event. As some may know, very exciting news for the sport of Triathlon moving forward, with the addition of this event to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo & sooner still at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, another Triathlon Gold medal up for grabs! 

I absolutely love this style of racing, short, sharp, critical & furious, no room for error & rewarding those who get the little things right and done Quick! I’m very excited to line up in a team Sunday morning & complete in my first Oceania Mixed Relay Team event, hopefully us Aussies can get the edge over our friendly Kiwi rivals!

 Stay tuned for next months Update, I’ll be sure to fill you in on all the action plus keep you up to date with the next 7 weeks straight of racing after that (yep you read that correctly, 7 weeks straight of travel & racing! #ATHLETELIFE)

Thanks for the read,
Get out in the mornings & evenings while we have the most daylight hours, for a walk, cycle, swim or run! It’s the best way to start or end the day on a good note & I promise you won’t regret it!

Em. X

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

December- The Festive Season in Full Swing!


Hello Legends!

I still cant believe we’re just days away from 2018, it feels like every year flies by quicker than the next, but not without finishing off on a bang with a month full of festivities!! Managing the silly seasons extra food, drinks & late nights out with early starts, hard training & racing can be quite a balancing act, joys of the athlete life!

I started off the month with my 23rd birthday, coinciding with my 3rd turn at racing the 3 Point Challenge event at North Curl Curl, a local favourite of mine on the calendar!! It consists of a 400m  ocean swim, transitioning to a 3km cross country soft sand, trail & road run before another 400m ocean swim at Freshwater & returning along the same route running back to North Curly for the final 400m ocean swim to finish! I was thrilled to take the birthday win & my 3rd consecutive title here, racing for a terrific cause, very close to my heart in the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a lifesaver for struggling young children & their families at Sydney’s Westmead Children’s Hospital.

My fellow HPT training partner Nathan Breen took out the Men’s event in some very cold conditions, with the water temperature only just breaking a freezing 15 degrees which is bizarre for the Aussie summer in December!

Finishing off my birthday with a nice lunch in Manly, a trail ride on my horse & an evening out at the Sia Concert before heading to Watson’s Bay for drinks & a long lunch in the sun on Sunday! 

With a quick athlete life reminder on the Monday Night, while having family dinner, as mum lit the Birthday Cake candles & the lights were all off.... the doorbell rang, and it was none other than ASADA at the door for an out of competition test to collect blood & urine, its not all glamour! Having to hold off on the birthday cake until after i had done my job Keeping Sport Clean!

Heading down to Jervis Bay with mum & Dad the following weekend for a great little escape & my first taste at XTERRA Racing! After spending more time this year on the trails both running, & mountain biking I was keen to put my new skills to the test & see what this XTERRA business was all about!

I was looking to earn myself an Elite Qualification for the 2018 Maui XTERRA World Championships at the Callala Elite Standard XTERRA Race, kicking off at 1pm with the Elite Men, racing alongside the notable Aussie XTERRA Legend Ben Allen. Starting with a 1500m chilly open water ocean swim, with a 200m soft sand run between the 2 x 750m run loops, before heading to transition to the 30km Mountain bike leg, through the Jervis Bay National Park, along challenging (for me) single track, soft sand, jumps, mud & everything in between, coming down a solid 5 times over the 30km, but hey that’s an average of one stack per 6km, could be worse?

You certainly couldn’t wide the smile off my face out on course! I was having a ball, the lure of the new challenging unknown racing! Making my way off the bike, with my Mum & Dad very happy to see me back safely! Transitioning onto the 11km trail run, a mixed run of soft sand, bush trail, single track, mud & the road! The legs were certainly feeling it, but I was happy to play to my natural strength on course & make my way to the finish, taking the tape for my first XTERRA Race as the Callala Elite Women Champ.

 I absolutely loved it, what a thrill, very rewarding, & It was certainly no easy race! 

A terrific weekend away with mum & dad & some fabulous strawberry daiquiris to celebrate on Saturday night at the great little vegetarian/ Mexican café in Huskisson called Pilgrims- highly recommend!! (times a few rounds post race of course!)

Dad was inspired by the weekend away at XTERRA & came home requesting a mountain bike for Christmas off Santa, so I went to work with the amazing team at AVANTIPlus Narrabeen & set Dad up with his own brand new Avanti Competitor S1 Mountain Bike, helmet, cleats, a kit & some shoes. All set for some father daughter mountain biking adventures up at our second home- Sugarloaf Lighthouse in Seal rocks over the Xmas/ New Years Break… he might just put me to shame! We’re only slightly competitive! 😊

As the year draws to a close its time to plan for the 2018 Season of Racing, with no shortage of racing available between the ITU Oceania & Domestic season, 2018 WTS Series, World Cup Racing, , French Grand Prix, German Bundesliga, Spanish League Racing & not to mention hopefully some World Championships, plus all the favourite Local races, both at home in Australia & overseas in our winter home of Vitoria Gasteiz in the Basque Country. It was great to sit down with my Coach Mick & put together a plan for the season, appreciating all things change but its one process that always really excites me, motivating me even more in the “off season” with the challenges of a new years racing ahead! Bring it on!

And because repping a trisuit twice already in December wasn’t enough for the off season & first month back training… I decided to enter the annual Warringah Triathlon Club Christmas Triathlon Race at North Head in Manly the weekend before Christmas! It was awesome to have Cam Good, Australian professional triathlete back to race at the local event too, with us both able to get into the Christmas spirit donning some aero bike tinsel & reindeer ears on the run, taking the line honours for a fun morning out over the 750m swim, 3km uphill run, 21km ride, 5km run course!

This year for my first time I was also able to join some good friends in their annual “Mona to Manly” on Christmas Eve, it’s a fun & friendly swim-run from Mona Vale to Manly. With a group of 10 of us we ran in Santa hats & Christmas cossies from Mona Vale along the Northern beaches coastline to Manly, swimming 400m in every ocean pool along the way! Getting plenty of cheers along the way & making room for that Christmas feast!

Now on a more serious note… This time of year is always full of festive fun, catching up with friends, sharing gifts,  events with food & drinks flowing, celebrating the year that’s been, finishing up at work, and enjoying time off! But the festive season is not always such a wonderful, fun & enjoyable time of year for everyone, life does still carry on & dish out its usual challenges, whatever shape or size! SO, it is just as important as always to look after one another- reach out, check in with your friends & family, and ask the simple question- Are U OK? The gift of a simple caring conversation, understanding ears to listen, a big hug or phone call to check in!

I hope you’ve all been nice, & Santa had all the reasons to stop past on his way through with that new cossie, or new power meter or latest wireless run headphones for you! (or is that just me?)

ENJOY the Christmas & New Year Festivities! Soak up the time off with loved ones & remember if you over eat on the chocolates or Christmas food then just add in an extra swim, bike or run to solve the problem!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! 

Thanks Legends,

Happy Holidays & BRING ON 2018, I can’t wait to rip into a new year’s adventures!

Em x