It’s been 10 days since I raced Gisborne Oceania Champs. That was my first opportunity to race ITU Olympic Distance Triathlon. I thought at the time it would probably be my last chance as well.
So I ended Gisborne feeling stoked that I had raced my own race and shown that I have enough talent to warrant at least trying to go down this path, but I was still gutted as I felt that it wasn’t a true representation of what I felt I was capable of. But at the same time, I also came to the ugly conclusion that I am not good enough to compete against the World’s best. I started down this line as I didn’t want to have any regrets later on. I didn’t want to look back and think, I wonder if I might have been good enough to race triathlon. After this race I realised that I was a long way off the pace. To take 4+ minutes off your run time over 10km is pretty tough and that is what I would need to do to be in medal contention at the Olympic Games. I felt that on a good day and after having a bit of recovery and a solid few weeks training I could bridge the gap by a couple of minutes and maybe bring my 10km split down to 32minutes, but the reality is that this is a very common number for elite triathletes globally and I was just going to be another 32minute athlete. I’m not sure if I could do more than that, and it’s likely now I won’t find the answer to that. If I had of started a year ago, then maybe I would have the answer. But unfortunately the timing didn’t work out and I asked too much of Tri NZ to give me a start this time a year ago when coming into New Plymouth World Cup 2015.
I have no regrets about this process. I know I have become a better athlete mentally and physically. The challenges that this style of racing has made me face, should set me up well for the future. I relate it to my first season racing in China and Mongolia 4 years ago. When you just feel so far out of your comfort zone and you really are on a fine balancing point of giving up and failing completely or you find some strength somewhere even though its been beaten out of you and you keep going.
The life line was thrown out to me again within a few hours of finishing Gisborne. Tri NZ decided I earned another chance and gave me a spot at New Plymouth. I was prepared for this to be my last race as I had already been informed that I didn’t have a chance of getting a start at Gold Coast World Series. Post Gold coast there are only 2 other world series events on offer. Cape Town 23rd April and Tokyo 16th May. I had already decided that I couldn’t financially make it to Cape Town as I would have had to choose it over the Asia Pacific XTERRA Championships on the same day in Aussie. This is one of the races that makes my career possible and I didn’t feel I could let that go. Tokyo was a possibility but I thought by that time, being everyone’s last chance that I would have been fighting it out with several others who had enough Olympic points to get a start.
So Sally being Sally, made a phone call and spelt out the reality of where I was at. I didn’t think there was a chance of getting a start at Gold Coast, but a day later I received an email stating that I was in.
It’s been a bit of a roller coaster since then. I got sick, felt like crap and didn’t feel like I wanted to race anything. But I slowly climbed my way out of the dark black hole that I seem to find myself in once a year, and started to feel the love and started to get some perspective. My gut feeling was that I should drop New Plymouth as I was still sick and didn’t think I had a chance of recovering well enough in 6 days to have a blinder there. So we decided that I should just put it all out there and give everything to the Gold Coast World Series Race. I know once I get there I will be excited but it still seems pretty daunting right now to race against the Brown-lee brothers, Mola and the other 70 of the World’s best triathletes. But day by day I seem to get a little bit back and feel a little bit better and I have the faith that everything has unfolded exactly as it should have and that this is how it will either end, or how it will begin!
I am incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity. A lot of it was on our own backs, but we have had the support of sponsors, friends, other athletes and NZ. Red Bull have made many of my dreams possible over the years and I they really backed me and believed that I could pull this off. It was pretty powerful to have a company that have so many incredible athletes, believe that I was capable of being an Olympic Triathlete. I could not have done this without them. Subaru, Specialized, Flight Centre Sports and Events, Rhino Rack NZ and 2XU were also behind me 100% and I know this is not easy, when someone goes from doing well in their given sport to changing sports and getting arguably smashed every weekend. It’s been an epic ride and I can’t thank these guys enough. And there is still one more to go, and who knows what might happen. My hope is that I feel on form in 10 days time and that I am able to have a race that represents my potential at this point in time, and that this might be good enough to prove to myself that I have what it takes to take this journey one step further.
Sally won’t have to worry about updating Gold Coast on social media as this one is live. I think it’s the only race I have ever raced with complete live coverage. I won’t be able to hide behind anyone for this race, so I better leave it all out there!
Thanks everyone for all your support and I hope I can do NZ proud this time!!