I’m writing today while sitting on my flight to the Sunshine Coast I am heading for the 70.3 World Championships this weekend. While we were lining up to board our flight I started to talk with my wife Dez. I said how crazy it was to think I was on my way to the biggest race I have ever competed in. When I first became aware of a 70.3 World Championships it was held every year in Las Vegas. I remember that was one of the things that appealed to me so much about the race. Go for a race and party in Vegas afterwards. I remember how it felt like something I would never be able to achieve. I truly never thought I would be good enough to compete at a World Championship event.
It’s funny how things change though. Last weekend was almost a year to the day that I qualified for this race. Even some of my friends who I have made through the sport said they have noticed a change in me over the last 12 months. I mean I can understand why. I have achieved more in this sport in the last 12 months than I have ever expected. More than that though I really feel like I have earned the right to be racing this weekend. When I qualified last year in Bintan I made the strategic choice to race in Indonesia assuming the field would be weaker so I kind of felt like I had cheated my way into the World Championships. But since Bintan I qualified 2 more times. I earned a spot for the 70.3 World Championships at both Taupo 70.3 and Norway 70.3. Both of these races were against strong fields so I was able to set aside any feelings of guilt I had about taking my slot in Bintan.
One of the huge advantages of the Bintan slot was that it has given me over 12 months to prepare for this race. I have never worked so hard towards something before. I have literally put so much blood, sweat and tears into this race I am astounded I am still standing. I have done it all for a very selfish reason too. I want to prove to myself that I am good enough. I wrote about some of my motivations last time and that holds true. But when that gun goes off on Sunday morning I am racing to prove to myself and I suppose to other people that I am more than just a triathlete who used to be fat. I want to show people that I am a legitimate triathlete regardless of where I have come from. I want people to think of me as a solid triathlete, not just a number on the scales. This is a hard thing to come to terms with too. I mean people love a weight loss story. But I feel like I am more than that now. I feel like I am triathlete who is able to line up at a race and be in contention for the podium. I am not expecting that this weekend but I am aiming to make the podium at some of my other races this year.
I have been so thankful for all the messages of support that I have received from all over the world this week. To know there are so many people who are interested in what I am doing gives me a huge boost. It is that sort of support that has made all the countless hours worth it. I mean at the end of the day this is a hobby for me. I am not competing for money. I am not trying to make a living from this sport. But that is not to say that this sport is not important to me. I am guilty of sourcing a lot of my identity from my pursuit of triathlon. It has become a critical element to me as a person. When I think about the values that the sport encourages like hard work, discipline and sacrifice I am pretty happy to be so heavily influenced by it.
Now onto the biggest question I keep getting asked. What is going to happen this weekend? I was talking with my coach this week about how I am feeling and I told him I am surprised that I am not nervous. For those of you who have been with me in the lead up to a race, I am normally a bit of a mess. I am scared I haven’t done enough or that something is going to go wrong. But for this race I honestly feel like I have done everything I can to prepare. I am willing to admit that I am not at the level that I want to be at. But that is not because of a lack of preparation. It is because I have to work hard to make the progress that I want to. What I am saying is that while I know I am not going to hit my 4:05 dream time this weekend I am still confident I will eventually. But for me, at this point in my triathlon career I could not be in better shape. I think knowing this is causing me to be calm. I have done the work and there is no point trying to cram in extra sessions expecting to see progress.
The other big factor about this weekend is that I am actually just genuinely curious to see what level I am at. I know I had a solid result at Norway but I know I didn’t push. I also feel like I am a much stronger athlete at the moment. So I can’t give an answer to people when they ask what I am expecting for the race. I am just as curious as they are to see what happens. I am going out there on Sunday to race as hard as I can and see what I am capable of. So this is why I think I am not too nervous about the race. I am racing with confidence and curiosity, not fear and pressure.
So the last thing that I want to do is give out some thanks to a whole heap of people who have helped to get me to the race this weekend. Obviously the first person I want to thank is my wife Dez. You know how much your support means to me. I promise to give you a smile as I run past on Sunday. To my family who are all coming to watch me race this weekend. Knowing you have all come this far to watch me race will ensure I give it all I have. To my coach, Ben, mate thanks for the amazing program and kicking my ass when I got distracted. It will be amazing to have you spectating on Sunday as well. To the Wolfpack (you know who you are) you boys reminded me how much fun this sport is. I found another reason to be involved in this sport and am excited to see most of you on the weekend. To my training (and eating) crew in Sydney, thanks for all of your encouragement and many food dates which helped to keep me carbo loaded before some of my harder sessions. You have helped to make my training a social activity. My teammates from MaccaX as well as Macca and Azza, the support and motivation you all give me really blows my mind. Fellas you should be so proud of what you have created. It is bigger than the sport of triathlon and I am honoured to be part of it. To my sponsors in no particular order, Mizuno, Giant Sydney, True Amino, Pioneer, Suplest and Thanyapura. Thank you all for your confidence in me. I am proud to represent you when I race and train. Finally to all of my readers and followers, even though I do not know many of you or haven’t met you in person I feel like I do know many of you. Knowing there are so many people who genuinely want me to succeed is an incredible feeling and not something I take for granted.
That will do for this week. It is crazy to think that the race is upon me. I am going to make the most of my time up here this week and above all else. I am going to enjoy the race. So until you all get my edge of the seat race report I will leave you with this.
Chase your dreams, back yourself, thank you and remember to TRI!