I would like to once again thank everyone who has offered me support and congratulations over the last few weeks. As I said in my last post, I have been blown away by the number of people who have reached out to me. You think you are doing something in isolation for yourself until you have people reach out to you and tell you that they are inspired by what you do. It blows me away and helps to motivate me. Thanyapura, the sports hotel that I choose to stay and train at in Thailand shared a post about me a couple of weeks ago. It was that famous fat photo of me from my first ever triathlon next to the picture of me holding my third place trophy from Bintan the other day. It has been popping up on my newsfeed a bit as people like or comment on it. It is funny that that photo of me from the Byron Bay Triathlon has become the most significant photo of me out there. I was looking at it the other day and was wondering if you went back to that guy who was hating life during that first triathlon and told him "Mate in a few years you will be going to the World Championships" how he would react? Probably not well. But back then, even without any plans of doing anything other than having a crack at a triathlon I was setting myself on a path that would change my life forever.
So where to from here? What does the qualification mean for me over the next 12 months? I am not deluded enough to think that I will go the World Championships and have a chance of winning. I always intended to go there and enjoy the experience. But that does not mean I am not going to prepare properly for the race. I want to line up against the best in the world next September and I want to give the best possible performance I am capable of. When I planed out the 2015/2016 season I signed up for a number of races which I thought would maximise my chances of getting a slot. Where there was a Challenge or Iron Man option I would go for the IM option to earn points and try to get the slot. Now I don't need to worry about that. I can be more selective about the races that I want to do. I can go there and race completely pressure free. I plan to enjoy them all. I have Sunny Coast this weekend which is my favourite race around. I have said that as long as it is possible I will do this race every year. I am also going to re-introduce some of the Challenge races I was planning on missing. Challenge Forster for example was a race I did last year and has the most amazing run course I have experienced. Despite a PB there I did not have a great day so I am keen to go there this year and have a solid crack. Early next year I was planning on racing Geelong 70.3 but now am unsure whether to do that event or race Challenge Melbourne instead. The beautiful thing is that I have choices.
I am also signed up for the Norway 70.3 in July next year. In 2012 this was my first 70.3 and to this day it is the most beautiful race I have ever done. I am very critical of Norway after spending two years there which I didn't enjoy very much. But let me tell you, this race is as good as it gets. I am excited to use this as a preparation race before Sunny Coast 2016 and see where I am at in my training.
I am excited to lift my training to the next level too. Above all else, the thing I love about triathlon is the training. I love the structure it gives to my life. I love the time I get to spend with myself. I love how I feel after a really hard session. I love pushing myself to the limit, then pushing a little further. So I plan to train hard for the next 12 months. This may mean that I make other sacrifices. I play soccer in the Winter and while I am currently planning on playing again next year, I may give it a miss to focus more on triathlon. 2 years ago I played and in the lead up to Cairns 70.3 I broke 2 ribs in a game. It has made me much more nervous when I do play and I may not want to run the risk of an injury next year.
As far as my goals are concerned, the World Championships is one of many. I am still working towards my other goals of ultimately completing a 70.3 in 4:05 (the same time it took me to complete that Olympic Distance race) and this weekend I am hoping to finally break the 4:30 barrier that has proved to be so elusive for the last 12 months. But there are other goals which I have already achieved. Once I decided I liked this triathlon rubbish I decided I wanted to introduce others to the sport the same way I was introduced to it. I have had friends compete their first triathlon with me. I have friends signed up to do their first triathlon. I have had people I have never met before reach out to me and tell me that I inspired them to complete their first triathlon. Next year I want to meet as many new triathletes as I can. I want to get to know the people who are starting on their triathlon journey. Talking to these people fills me with motivation. I find it funny hearing the fears and anxieties they are facing. I remember them well and sometimes I still experience them. I am finding that I am increasingly surrounding myself with more like-minded people and I love it. It is one of the reasons why I am so happy to be part of Team MaccaX. The people I have met through the team are inspiring and amazing. I am also looking forward to meeting a lot of people this weekend at Sunny Coast. I will be at the beach for a swim about 7am Saturday morning so head on down!
Last week Chris McCormack, the founder of my triathlon team and 4 time World Champion triathlete called me out on his podcast to be the first age-grouper that they interview. While they were talking about me, Macca said "If there's any individual that can show you what triathlon can do to your life it's Tim". Who would have thought that the fat bloke in that picture would be talked about one of the greatest triathletes to ever live? I think it proves that no matter how big or small your fitness goals are they can lead you to some incredible places. So why not chase them. It all starts with a single step...
Train hard, chase your goals and remember to TRI!