It’s been a blur since the excitement of representing Australia in the World Junior Elite Duathlon Champs and I’ve certainly gained much more experience and knowledge for my future in triathlon that’s for sure.
My last national race was the Australian Champs in Devonport, Tasmania which was an amazing setting for a race – almost on the beach! I’d been told previously by other junior triathletes that there was a hill on the course and I had practiced some climbs locally, however, nothing could prepare me for what I saw when I familiarized myself with the course – it was Sheok Road in disguise which we had to ascend/descend four times!
I had a really good swim and was just off the lead pack; however, the hill really affected me with each lap. After the third time ascending it I could tell I was getting off pace, by the fourth lap I was in struggle city. Unfortunately, this then affected my run off the bike and I ended up finishing just outside of the top ten.
Next up was the State Schools triathlon which I always enjoy as it’s a super fun event with so many young people from all of the schools in South Australia! I managed to win the senior individual event by a good distance and my school also won the team’s event (I did the swim leg) which was super great for them as it was also the second year in succession!
The next race on my list was the Olympic Distance triathlon at Victor Harbor! It was my first Olympic distance race and I looked at it as extra training, I was so excited! I was really happy with my swim and I developed a good lead which I managed to maintain for the first lap of the bike, however, I felt an old problem in my knee on the second lap and into the run and I was left with no option but to stop. I was super disappointed that I had to stop because I’ve never done that in a race before but I knew it was the best decision as I was in a lot of pain and I didn’t want to create a long term injury.
Somewhere in between the season events I also managed to do some track running, I was able to win the U18 1500m, 3km and 5km State Championships which all helps to improve my triathlon run leg.
Finally, I got to the end of the season by competing in my last event held in Silver Sands, which I absolutely love! Such a fantastic area and atmosphere with all the ATC crew! On the Saturday I competed in the 1km open water swim, although choppy and challenging I really enjoyed it and managed to achieve the overall win. On the Sunday I also managed to take out the Sprint triathlon, which includes the 5km run along the sand on the beach which I really enjoy! The atmosphere was great with loud music and fantastic food to finish off a great event! As well as a trophy I also received an amazing pair of Rayban’s thank you!
It’s been another hard but enjoyable season which has definitely added to my development and the knowledge gained I’m sure will add to my progress in my future career within triathlon.
I’m looking forward to stepping up my game next year in the Scody National Series to improve my ranking in Australia as well as improving my National Performance Standards times and also maybe some international events or championships this time next year as thankfully Year 12 will be finished!
I’m also looking forward to competing throughout South Australia to continue promoting the club, triathlon in general and especially to encourage young people to give the sport a go.
Lastly, I’d like to say a big thank you to ATC; the scholarship has provided me with many opportunities and allowed me to travel interstate more often to compete against the best! Also, a huge thank you to all members of the club who are always interested in my progress and so supportive and encouraging when we meet up – it’s appreciated!
Here’s to next season!!
These past few months can only be described as very busy with exams, school ending, training, local and national races, Christmas/New Year, my grandmother arriving from the UK and trying to fit in a social life. It’s been difficult to find time to sit down and reflect on the races I have competed in during this time.
It’s interesting how athletes plan their race and visualize how it should proceed, however, sometimes whilst competing the plan doesn’t always work which to some degree is what happened to me in Canberra during the first round of the Scody National Junior Triathlon Championships.
Although the race had its highlights it also included areas where I realized I need to definitely improve prior and during future competitions. Firstly, the course in Canberra was rather technical with the bike course having seven U turns on a flat and up/down course meaning that it was fast and unpredictable especially in a draft legal race.
It was also interesting to realize how people’s comments can affect your thought process about a race. Many people were sharing negative remarks about the course, saying how dangerous it was and discussing how many crashes there had been in the Youth races. Unfortunately, I listened and this got me so anxious and instead of focusing on my race; I was focusing on how I might crash during the bike component. This has taught me to not listen to people’s negativity and be optimistic and focus on my own race instead of everyone else’s.
The swim in Canberra went well, coming out of the water in 10th position I was able to get on to a good bike pack however, the bike leg taught me many things. The first lesson learnt was in relation to transitions; before Canberra I thought my transitions onto and off of the bike was good as I could complete them fast. However, I have now learnt that mounting my bike can be done quicker by changing the position of my cleats allowing my feet to slide into my shoes straight away. This enables me to get going quickly without the struggle of finding my shoes.
I also realized that my dismounts could also be carried out more safely. The way I was dismounting previously caused me to wobble which could cause other athletes and myself to collide. Following Canberra my transition methods have been changed to make the mount faster and the dismount safer.
As mentioned previously the bike course had many 180 degree U turns. For future races I learnt that these can be improved with more lean required allowing the turns to be faster which can be done by loading up the outside leg; if my U turns are faster then I won’t need to work extra hard to catch up any ground lost.
After the bike course it was onto the run, I got into transition in the chase pack which had become a big group and I was one of the quickest out of T2 however, the run was definitely not my strength in this race which normally it would be. Unfortunately, I ran it slower than most 5kms I’ve completed in a triathlon. Therefore, after Canberra and before the second race of the National Junior Series in Queensland I have been focusing on improving my run and running off the bike with tired legs. Hopefully this practise will help in Robina!
Between Canberra and Robina I had one race in South Australia which was the Sam White Memorial Aquathlon. I was racing in the Open elite females so nerves were definitely there. Surprisingly I found the aquathlon harder than most triathlons especially with the component of running on the sand. It was a very tough race but I was lucky enough to take out the win in absolutely perfect conditions. This was great preparation for the next National race as I’m feeling more confident with my run. It was great to see so many athletes racing and everyone who raced deserves recognition because it was so hard! The spectators were also great and the crowd that gathered was awesome and encouraging! I can’t wait to compete next year and see if I can get a new personal best on the course.
Robina is just around the corner and I’m hoping that the new learning experiences gained in Canberra can be utilized to make my race more efficient (although it’s going to be interesting with 47 entries so far)!
It’s nearly the end of the 2014/2015 triathlon season. Following my previous blogs this will be a reflection of 2015 when there were many highlights however, also many learning experiences that can be taken into next year’s season and beyond.
The year started off with the second race in the Scody National junior series held in Penrith, NSW. Unfortunately this race did not go the way my coach and I expected. I had a good swim and moved my way to the front of the second pack, catching the small lead pack and well positioned for the run however, going into a corner my rear wheel was clipped by the girl behind me and I ended up on the floor with my bike on top of me, I landed on my head and although stunned for a few seconds luckily there was nothing broken! Unfortunately, I was not allowed to continue as my helmet was smashed which was very disappointing!
I then entered the next race in the Moana triathlons and this time I decided to go in the Open competition to test myself against more experienced athletes, I had a good swim coming out of the water in first position but lost my lead on the bike leg and eventually managed to come second behind a woman who was touring South Australia from New Zealand.
The next competition on my calendar was the final race of the State Junior Series in Renmark. It was a long journey up the afternoon before but well worth my first visit due to the lovely area and the race being in and alongside the River Murray. I enjoyed the race, the swim gave me a good lead which I managed to increase upon during the remaining legs and my transitions also went smoothly on the day. As a result of winning the race I achieved the overall win in the State Junior Series in my age group.
Next was travelling up to Queensland once again for the Australian Youth Championships in Twin Waters. I always look forward to this competition as it’s held in a great setting around the Novotel Hotel.
Although I look forward to the event I also become very nervous as I’m back up against the best in the country and the competition is very intense. The day before my race I managed to have a swim in the lake and practice my beach start as well as ride the bike course and have a gentle run ensuring that I drank regularly during the day due to the warm temperature.
I went through my usual pre-race preparations in the evening ensuring that everything I needed was in place, filled up on pasta and had an early night in readiness for the challenge the next day.
It was a very warm and humid day with my race not taking place until late morning; I had a really good swim which is important in the competition as there are a number of very good swimmers, I also had a good group to share the work on the bike leg and we managed to catch the leaders however, this meant that there was a massive group going into the final transition and I heard the commentator say that this should be fun!
Thankfully, my transition went well, I avoided a couple of girls who fell in front of me and started the run leg at the back of the lead pack. I noticed during the run leg that a couple of girls pulled out as they were suffering too much in the humidity (although as Queensland girls I thought that they would be used to it)!
I made certain I took water on board at the drink stations and although I was tired, kept going moving up to fifth place, unfortunately I did not have enough left to push further forward to catch the girls I could see and settled for 5th place which I was extremely pleased with!
Afterwards, I was so happy with my achievement and relieved that it was all over so I could now get some shade and catch up and relax with the competitors and now my friends from other States.
My next race back in South Australia was the State Schools Championships where I managed to win the Intermediate girls age group for the second year running and get a huge personal best.
My final race to be covered is the one that’s fast becoming my favourite, the Silver Sands Multisport Festival. I competed in the Open female category over the two days of the festival which consisted of a 1km swim and a 5km run on the Saturday followed by a Sprint distance triathlon on the Sunday.
It was a very tiring weekend but the lovely setting, the set up and the friendliness as well as the smooth running of the Festival helped ease the pain and even better I managed to win my category which I was really pleased with!
After a long, hard season I’m looking forward to a rest before starting up my training again in readiness for the next triathlon season but firstly the Duathlon season which I really enjoy.
Hope to see you out there!
What a great first half of the 2014/2015 triathlon season it has been as I have so far achieved my planned goals, winning local competitions including the second and third races in the State junior triathlon series held in Moana and Port Pirie, winning two further State Championships ,the Franklin Island sprint distance and the Aquathlon in lovely Glenelg. This success gave me extra confidence and extra practice for the first race of the Scody National Junior Triathlon Series held in the Gold Coast; which consisted of six short and fast races over the course of three days.
A few words that jump immediately to my mind after competing in Runaway bay are; tired, enthused, open minded and relieved. Three days of racing and then an extra four days in the National Junior High Performance Development camp which fortunately I was selected to attend. It was a great experience and I learnt so much.
We arrived in Runaway Bay two days before the races began. The weather was perfect that day however, looking at the weather for the weekend it was said to be stormy and rainy; yes I was worried about the weather affecting my performance however, I didn’t let this change my attitude for the race’s ahead. Putting that to the back of my mind, the Melzer Multisport Squad and I put our bikes together and went out on our first training session which was a swim and bike at the Runaway Bay Sports centre site. It was great to take a look at where we would be competing and understanding all the technical aspects of the course (and there was a lot!)
It was now Thursday and the nerves were increasing, especially when we went to the site of the races and I was able to see my competitors, find out what heats I was in for Friday and view how transition was set up. There was 44 girls competing and I knew I was in for a hard weekend of racing. When the day was over it was massage time and we went through a roller session with Jamie, our team physio from Physioactive. Getting to bed early was a priority because if you’re someone like me, I need my sleep before a hard day of competition.
The alarm rang at 6am awakening me for the start of the three days of competition. I had three races today, including an Aquathlon, Bike criterium and a 1km race on the track. I was in the first race of the competition which was heat 1 of the aquathlon. The aquathlon was tough; it just showed me how fast the girls competing were. It’s clear that my weakness in the national races is the swim and considering it was only 300m it was very quick however, once out onto the track I ran as fast as I could and thankfully passed many girls which I hoped would get me some points when all the heat times were combined. I managed to get 15th overall, and was happy how the first race went as I managed to gain points.
I recovered well after the aquathlon and was preparing for the bike criterium. It was a 300m run before a ‘le mans’ start onto the bike. The bike was only 6km so the plan was to give it my all! When they said go I sprinted as fast as I could enabling me to be one of the first girls into transition and thankfully I was. I was able to stay in the front with a pack of five other girls. We took it in turns drafting making sure we stayed away from the rest of the girls. Before the race my coach and I thought of tactics on how I could get the best position possible. One of them was just before you dismount make sure you get to the front. I did and was first into transition, I quickly put my runners on and went as fast as I could for the last 300m. One girl is a fantastic runner and I wasn’t surprised when she over took me. I was about 10meters from the finish line and I could hear someone really close, before I knew it she had pipped me on the line. However, I was still super happy with this race as I managed to get a 3rd overall.
My last race of the day was held at 5 o’clock and was the 1km run on the track, lots of drama occurred in this heat as four of us finished at exactly the same time so the officials were unsure who came where. I then had to wait to see if I had got into the final which I really needed to get the points. I must have been waiting for at least 20minutes, but it seemed like forever. Thankfully I had qualified!
The final was fast however, which was expected, I was happy with the race as I managed to place 7th with a pretty fast time after a whole day of racing!
I had an ice bath and a massage and prepared for the following day.
Saturday had arrived and there were two triathlons, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The first triathlon went well and I was happy with how I performed in each individual leg. Transition 1 was slower than usual as I couldn’t get my helmet on however, I have now learnt to double check that I have set it up correctly.
I decided that it would be best that I went back to the apartment and rested before the next triathlon. However, I must have been extremely tired as I fell asleep on my bed in my race gear and a rain jacket. It is strange as I don’t even remember walking up stairs to my room!
I woke up after about a two hour sleep and had a shower, my legs were heavy and I still felt tired however, I knew I had another race. We got back to the race venue and I warmed up, preparing for the race. I decided that I should have some lollies to give me an extra energy boost but half way around the bike course I knew that that was a bad idea. I unfortunately felt extremely sick being able to taste what I had eaten about an hour ago. This stopped me being able to run my hardest and I did not get any points, Yes, I was disappointed however I learnt not to take them so near to a race in future!
The last race was tomorrow and I was super happy as I managed to get into the A final as one of eighteen girls!
The final race was upon me and I was super excited to get racing and give it my last effort. It was a 400m swim to begin with and I believe I did this well. I was able to get into a pack with another bunch of girls and we worked together to complete the bike course fast. We all got off together and I was in 14th place, I knew I had to give the run my everything!
Fortunately, I did and I was able to pass four girls. I ended up placing 10th which I was very happy with as the standard is very high and I will be competing against the girls in other national events and considering I was one of the youngest I was stoked!
With all the points from each individual race added up I was able to get 13th, which I was pleased with especially because I have another 3 years in this age group!
After the three days of racing I stayed in Runaway Bay for the National High Performance Development Camp with 39 other selected junior triathletes and had a fantastic time! I learnt so much which I can put into practice in future triathlon races and I made new friends that I will have throughout the junior national series (and hopefully beyond)! I also loved representing ATC whilst being in Queensland, many of them commented on my new rain jacket and thought it was pretty cool that I had matching gloves with my cycle uniform. Thank you so much for your ongoing support and interest whilst I am competing in local and national races!
Finally, Emma Carney came to speak to me at the camp and straight away provided some expert advice/guidance from her triathlon knowledge and we intend to keep in touch!
2014 SCA Oceania & Australian Duathlon Championships
It’s the day before the 2014 SCA Oceania & Australian Duathlon Championships and to say I’m feeling nervous is an understatement. Throughout this week I have been preparing myself as best I can, ensuring my nutrition was good, having enough sleep, still training at a reduced level and trying to relax! Although I was very nervous as I was the youngest competitor, I was also very excited to be part of the junior elite race, competing against the best in the country. I knew the course as I had trained on it three times before the competition and I felt prepared to give the race my all especially with all the support I had from ATC members, family and friends.
When race briefing and registration was over, the next day rolled on quickly. Thankfully, there was no early start and waking up at 8:20am was probably the latest I have stayed in bed before a competition. When I arrived at the venue in the morning the weather was hot, at nine o’clock it was already twenty nine degrees with the sun blazing and no clouds present. After the technical officials had checked my bike and tri suit, I sat down in the shade thinking about the race and mentally going over the course. I kept hydrating myself and ate some food that would provide an energy boost during the race.
The bike course was open and all of the elite athletes rode around the 5km loop. I didn’t go fast like some athletes however; I did notice where any pot holes were and when I should brake before the corner at the bottom of the hill. Grant Melzer gave me key advice on how I should race the course and what I should do, so I didn’t tire myself out too quickly and how to keep cool and hydrated during the race. Once we had completed the lap, I went for a warm up run. I didn’t need to go far as I was already hot however; it was good to get my body used to the heat. After, I had done the run and a few stretches, transition was open. I set up transition and made sure I knew where I entered and exited as well as where my bike was to ensure that I wouldn’t get lost during the transition time. After I had set up my equipment I went back to the shade, and completed more stretches and drills to prepare for the race.
The commentator announced that our race was going to start in five minutes; all athletes had to line up in numerical order in transition and wait until our names were called. When my name was called I had to jog to the start line, it was a great feeling when I had the loudest clap and cheer out of everyone in all the female elite races. The starter sounded the horn and the race was off…….
The first 5km was fast which was expected and I wasn’t feeling too good, I took a drink in the first station and poured it over myself. The lead pack had got a big distance and I felt like I was lagging behind. When I was running up the slight incline to the first lap turn around I could see I was catching two girls. It was the second lap of the run and surprisingly I was feeling better (my nerves had calmed), I caught one girl and was close to another. I had a good first transition and put my shoes on quickly. I was concerned about the hill as it is probably my worst aspect on the bike. However, I caught the girl from Queensland whist climbing which was encouraging and we worked hard together around the course, taking it in turns to draft off each other.
Each lap climbing Montefiore hill became harder as when I reached the top my legs would be lactic. However, on the third lap I could see the second place girl (another Queenslander) and I was determined to catch her up. It was now the final lap on the bike and we were all working together to finish in a good position for the final run. I tried to make surges throughout the last lap however, the girls kept up with me and I knew it was all on the run. When we went into T2, it all went smoothly and I was the first one out. I looked later at the results and I was the fastest person in and out of T2 which was a bonus as it got me out quickly into the run.
The run was tough however, the further I went the better I seemed to get. From running out of the transition first I didn’t see any of the other girls again. Whilst running I could see the first girl and I was slowly catching up. I didn’t have far to go and I was hurting, but I couldn’t stop. I picked up the pace to finish and I was so relieved when I had. Straight after the race we were all congratulating each other and it was great to get to know the girls more. I must thank the Sports Chiropractic Australia crew so much for giving me a great massage after the race. When I had gone for my cool down many people congratulated me which was a great feeling. I was then told that I had won a gold medal as I was the first junior elite female from Australia. This was a huge shock as I thought I had finished second, however, the first girl was from New Zealand which meant I had also won the silver medal in the Oceania Championships! I was so happy and pleased with my overall performance.
It was now presentation time and I received my medals with an extra surprise bonus of receiving prize money as I was the fourth female overall in the Oceania Championships. I want to say a huge Thank You to Andrew, Meg and the ATC members (too many to mention) for having the confidence in me, encouraging me and supporting me throughout my training and during the competition. Also, a big thank you to Mike Spurling for his, encouragement, support and believing in my ability to get me to where I am now. Another thank you to the Team Tempo crew for letting me be a part of there community and helping me improve my running significantly. It was also great to have you there shouting out for me, it really helped as I knew that I couldn’t slow down!
It’s time to move on now so here’s to the tough triathlon season ahead and the Duathlon World Championships next October in Adelaide!
Looking back at these last few weeks I have had a number of ups and downs.
In the middle of August I realized that my right lower shin was hurting, at this time it was very mild and I didn’t think much about it. However, as I carried on training it continued to get worse causing increased pain each run session. I decided to see someone about it and went to Michael Nitschke in Barefoot podiatry. After he examined my leg and running technique, it was found that my shin splints were in stage 3 out of 4, which means the discomfort gets worse during a specific activity which in my case was running. He found that my style was slightly too ‘tip-toed’ and this was maybe one cause of the shin splints. I was given great advice such as warming up properly and applying ice after training as well as exercises and a reduced run training routine to help my recovery which consisted of 40minutes on grass only 3 times a week for 2-3 weeks. The pace given was calculated as my easy pace meaning I ran every 1km in 5 minutes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t compete in the last Victoria Park Duathlon due to my injury but this made me more determined for the Barossa State Championships!
The Barossa State Champs were on the 14th September, when we arrived after getting up at 4:45am the weather was perfect there was no wind and the sun was out, this made me more excited and eager to begin the race. I registered my name and put my bike in transition making sure I knew exactly where it was. After I warmed up, I felt prepared for this race both physically and mentally. I knew my race plan and goals and knew exactly what I had to do to achieve them.
The race began and I got a good fast start, I tried not to go out too hard (which as a previous middle distance runner I tend to do) due to the 5k distance! A boy I train with was a good pacer during the first lap and I stuck with him for as long as I could which worked well. When I could see transition I wanted to make it fast and clean to get out of there as quick as I could. Fortunately, I found my bike straight away and transitioned onto it well. The course had inclines and parts of them were hard however, whilst riding I made small goals for myself:- for example, if I could see someone in front, my goal would be to catch them, then over take. This distracted me from the inclines and enabled me to ride faster. I used my new Felt time trial bike from Megabike and used the pedaling advice provided by Claude which helped me improve my pace during the bike leg significantly as I caught more people than I had expected and not as many people caught me as I’d previously thought.
Once I was off the bike I had a 2.5km run to finish the race, at this time I was first in the females but knew that I couldn’t slow down, although my legs were slightly lactic I pushed through and belived I could run home hard. When I saw the finish shoot I tried sprinting (to try and look like I wasn’t in too much pain)! It was a great feeling to hear my name as I finished the race, I was so pleased as I had won my age group and I was first out of all the females in the event. I was also pleased with my time as it compares well Nationally. I loved representing ATC in our new uniforms they looked fantastic and at least six people commented on how amazing my new rain jacket looked!
The National Duathlon Championships takes place on the 19th October in Adelaide which isn’t very long now! I’ve been training pretty hard in preperation for this race, especially in the bike discipline. The course looks amazing and I can’t wait to race!
See you all out there!
Hi I’m Fern, I suppose writing blogs is a completely new thing for me however; I can’t wait to share my triathlon journey with you and help myself develop and reflect on my preparation and races I complete in the future. I only started triathlons about a year and four months ago, which I know isn’t long however, from then on I became addicted to the sport ; it’s hard not to; with all the training, excitement of local as well as National competitions, meeting different people and getting new and better equipment to help improve my skills, performance and ability to win.
I’m currently 15 and have just been awarded the first ATC Junior Development scholarship. From when I began triathlons to where I am now my training has increased tremendously from two run sessions in a week, a bike ride and once a week swimming to eleven or twelve sessions a week. Due to this extra training I have continued to improve my skills and triathlon performance. I am currently increasing my winter training in readiness for the season ahead. However, I couldn’t have done this without the help of my amazing coach Mike Spurling, he saw something in me and has lead me to many achievements that I couldn’t even dream about a year ago.
I have made use of the State schools, Athletics SA Long and Short course cross country competitions to test my running and in which I was successful. The next competitions I have are Duathlons including the State Champs and National Champs (being held in Adelaide) they could be considered as majorly important , however, I’m using them more as stepping stones to the main triathlon competitions in the summer. I will be able to judge by these events as to where I am at, in terms of my run and bike performance. I will be able to work out if I need to be training differently or harder in preparation for the season. However, I can’t wait for the Duathlon National Race as it is going to be such a good opportunity for myself and other ATC members to test ourselves against the best locally as it is in Adelaide and we will know the course! Overall, this was just a welcoming kind of blog and in my next ones I will focus more on how I am going to further improve my performance, reflect on what I have learnt in the races I have completed and maybe what I could have or will do differently next time.