About halfway through last year I started talking to my coach about the possibility of qualifying for the 2016 World Championships as they are being held on the Sunshine Coast which is my favourite place to race in Oz. Pretty early on I identified that my best chance of getting a slot was in Asia. I originally signed up for the Cebu 70.3 but all I heard was that it would be a hot and windy day. I don't mind the heat but I detest wind on a bike course. So when Bintan was announced I decided to change races. Bintan has a reputation for also being brutally hot but is said to have a tough and hilly bike course. I am a strong rider and I thought a tough bike leg would work to my advantage. So since February all the training I have been doing has been working towards this race.
It is funny but I thought that I was training pretty hard for most of this year and when my coach told me he was upping the ante I didn't really believe it. Let me assure you, he is smashing me. Some weeks, like this week, I see the plan for the week and I am genuinely concerned as to how I will get through some of the sessions. There hasn't been a drastic increase in the volume. I am still somewhere between 15 and 20 hours a week. There has however been an increase in the intensity. Where long runs used to be at a nice and steady pace, they now included above race pace efforts and instead of one there are 2 or 3. My standard swim has gone from 3km to 5km and my 2km speed set has been doubled to 4kms. The bike is also lots of intervals and strength work but that is mostly my own decision as I choose how I fill the hours on the bike. I believe that the key to success on the course will be to be strong on the bike and that is what all my bike work has been for.
I wrote about how it can be hard to train through Winter last week and this is true. I have found the last few weeks quite difficult to get though as it has been so cold and I have been literally been getting smashed. This week however has been incredibly positive. I saw the load for this week and was shocked. I signed up for a half marathon this Sunday and thought the week would be quite light. But no, 2 HARD runs both working out about 23kms and two hard swim sets. I was told the Tuesday run would be challenging and it was but I managed it. Considering I had done a 4km swim that day I was quite satisfied. I knew however the real test for me would be Thursday (a hard 4km swim and a 22km run with 12 hard efforts). I swam really really well. I have been a bit hit and miss in the pool so I was really satisfied. But I still had the run. The first hour was at a slow pace because I was quite tired. I was worried. When I turned around to come back and commence the efforts I started very worried. I started going and bang, the legs were good, really good. I was running 3:40km pace and managing it easily. I completed the set and it had been much easier than the week before. I told Ben about how I had performed and he said that I am ticking all the boxes. Instantly my week from hell has become one of the best training weeks I have had in a long time. The sessions have boosted my confidence, I think I can run a bit. I am excited to see how I go this Sunday. I am not going out there to run a PB or anything. I want to suffer a bit and use it as a good mental training session so bring it on.
So a month out how do I feel? I feel good. I still don't have that super fit feeling I have gotten in the past but I know I am training harder than I have before and I am doing it well. I know the race in Bintan will be brutal and again it is not a race where I am aiming for a time (yes that illusive sub 4:30 time will have to wait) but I am feeling like I may be in good enough shape to be a contender for one of those WC slots I want so bad. I am doing everything I can to get to that start line in the best possible shape. What more can I ask for. I am not going to leave anything out there that is for sure.
This week I also got a bit of extra motivation from meeting some of my triathlon friends. One of the guys I have met through the sport Mike 'Robo' Robinson is in Sydney and I got to catch up with him and another newbie triathlete who I have spoken to online a lot but hadn't met before joined us as well. Morenna has signed up for her first OD in Noosa this year. We sat down for an hour and just talked triathlon. I then agreed to meet up with Morenna for a swim today and we had a coffee after. It is amazing how motivating I find talking about triathlon. Especially about people just starting out in the sport. It reminds me of why I do it. It is also great to catch up with Robo. He is a guy I met through this sport who genuinely is one of my really good mates now. So the boost in motivation came at the perfect time.
So a month to go and I am getting ready for the race. There are things I will not be able to control like the weather and the other competitors who show up. But I know on race day I will have a good group of friends there to watch me and an even larger number of people cheering me on from around the world. I am really excited to race for something. It will add a new element to the race.
Thats it for this week. Remember to grab the latest Triathlon 220 Magazine with my interview and also have a read of my latest article on the news.maccax.com site.
Have a read, stay safe and remember to TRI!!!