Challenge Bahrain and other stuff

There was a whole lot of hype around Challenge Bahrain and the event lived up to expectations.  The race organisers put a lot of effort into gathering quality fields on both the men’s and women’s field and there was some fast and close racing.  We were treated very well and it sounds like the age group experience matched that of the pros.

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Photo credit: Witsup.com 

You all know the results.  Another runner up position for me: that seems to have been the theme of the year!  Of course I wanted to win but on a personal note I was very happy with how I raced and glad to have ended my year on a positive note. In a nutshell:

– For the first time this year I made the front pack of swimmers (Jodie Swallow gapped us all).

– I rode strong: strong enough to be a little strategic even if that strategy didn’t pay off.  My exact race plan unravelled a little in the back half as I missed water at 2 aid stations so it meant I was parched for about 20km.

– A strong run especially in the second half.

Stef at Witsup I think captured the post race feel best with her interview with Helle, Jodie and me:  you can get a real insight into the race dynamics here:

 http://www.witsup.com/challenge-bahrain-pro-chatter-with-the-top-3/

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My prep for Challenge Bahrain meant that I had more than the usual degree of unknown.  Sure it was post Kona and like many other athletes I wasn’t sure how much speed I had gotten into my legs in the interim.  I have never really focused on the 70.3 distance and certainly never raced a field of this depth.

However, the biggest shake up was in my coaching set up.  After Kona Dave and I sat down and between us decided it was time for me to move on.  For my part this move filled me with conflicting feelings.  In my gut I felt it was the right move but I also had moments of panic.  I have had great success under Dave’s guidance.  I am a stronger athlete than I was 2 years ago and notched up the best results of my career during this time. Dave is “The Man”:  his knowledge and experience speak for themselves.  I enjoyed working with him and learnt A LOT.     So, at the beginning of November I had no idea what I was going to do coaching wise.   The unknown can be a little scary but, in between fits of anxiety, I actually had great fun preparing for Bahrain.  Based in Perth I wrote myself a program (with tips and advice from friends).  Mandurah 70.3 gave me a lot of info on what I need to focus on in the build to Bahrain!!  I had some great sessions, had fun without the pressure that comes with preparing for Kona.  The fact that I did perform well is down to a large degree the training I did all year under Dave’s watchful eye but I also took confidence from the fact I prepped myself pretty well in those 5 weeks leading up to Challenge Bahrain.  I *think* I have a pretty good understanding of myself and can identify what kind of work I need to do.  Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of this so it was a good reminder to listen to myself.

I am very grateful to have been able to work with Dave over the last two years.  He is an amazing coach and person and I will take what I have learnt from him into the rest of my triathlon career for sure.  I am also really excited about the changes coming up. Change always brings challenges.  I like to be challenged 🙂  So watch this space…for now that’s a wrap on my 2014 season – time to get back to some off seasoning!

On another note:  Tip of the Week

One of my focuses in the lead up to Challenge Bahrain was to get mobile.  Mandurah highlighted to me that I wasn’t moving right. Afterwards my back locked up and I was getting quite a lot of discomfort in my left glute/hamstring. I had a depressing appointment with an osteopath who advised that I’d probably torn a glute muscle, had tendonopathy in my hamstring and well, various other maladies.  I came out wondering how I could still walk.  One Skype call with body magician, Lawrence Van Lingen and I was feeling reassured that I wasn’t falling apart.   I followed his mobility routine in the lead up to Bahrain.  My tip for you:  give Lawrence a follow on Twitter (@lorenzomojo) and get familiar with your mountains climbers, tactical frogs and Sphinx poses!  Thanks Lawrence.

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