Greetings once again from Thailand. I don't know about you but I cannot believe it has been 12 months since I was here last getting ready for two of my favourite races. Tomorrow I am racing the Laguna Phuket Triathlon and next Sunday I will be racing the newly rebranded Thailand 70.3. The 70.3 is basically a completely different race with all three legs being held in completely different areas. In fact the only remnant of the old course is that we still have to run over the pedestrian bridge two times on the bike course. Ah well, everyone has to do it. So 12 months has flown by and I find myself back in Phuket and back at Thanyapura. It is funny how much it feels like coming home here. I have now stayed here enough times that a lot of the staff remember me. It is a really nice feeling to be so welcome here. It also doesn't hurt that the facilities are still world class and I get to access all of them!
So 12 months on and I am back going through the same motions as I did last year. My sessions have almost been identical to last year over the last few days as well. I really feel like I did the right things at the right time last year and am keen to replicate it as closely as possible. There are however a number of things that I am noticing have changed over the last 12 months. The first real difference I have noticed is how little the heat has been affecting me. As I am sure you all know I have worked really hard over the last few months to drop my body fat percentage to get lean for the races here. I think the effort has paid dividends. While it is definitely hot, it isn't bothering me too much. I have been on multiple runs and it hasn't felt like death. At some points it has almost felt comfortable. It is a bit weird really because the weather at home hasn't been super hot like it was last year. So I really am putting this change down to my lower body fat.
Another massive difference I am noticing is how much stronger I am on the bike. The first ride we did here we rode the LPT course. They have made sweeping changes to it this year which means we tackle the dreaded Naithon Hills in reverse, or the same way we did last year at the Challenge race. I literally cruised over them well under the sort of effort I will be dropping tomorrow and when I uploaded my ride file I was shocked to see that I went over every single climb faster than I did during my race last year! I know I have really worked hard on my bike strength this year and I am so excited to see what sort of result I can deliver next weekend over the 90kms.
One of the other changes I have noticed is that I have put a lot of pressure on myself this year. Now up front I have ZERO expectations to win the 30-34 Ag this year. I would however love to make the podium. A lot of people ask how I went last year and when I tell them I won my AG in both races they expect me to do it again. I have spoken about this a bit before but the difference is I really do want to make the podium this year. I wont be devastated if I don't but every time I see a super fit looking athlete around I have a mild panic attack that they are in my age group. At the end of the day all I can do is focus on my own performance and see where the cards fall. This may sound a little odd to some people but I have actually stated meditating over the last few weeks and this is something that I have been doing to help me deal with these feelings in the lead up to the races. Tonight I plan on doing a decent session to try and calm myself before I go to bed.
To be honest, I am just super happy to be back in Thailand. I am a little sad that my wife isn't here with me but I am happy that she is at home with our little cat Susie. I really love coming to train in Thailand. I think it is an amazing place that would exceed most people's expectations. My brother is getting married in Thailand next year and I have been shocked by the reaction of some members of my family who have this perception that Thailand is a dangerous or unsafe place. I cannot recommend the place highly enough. The weather is beautiful and hot, the people are incredibly friendly and helpful and the food is cheap and delicious. To top it all off the training is out of this world. The first time I ever came here I was so sceptical about training in Thailand. I am happy to say that is probably the biggest change I have noticed since I first came here. Thailand is my favourite place to train. Do yourself a favour and spend some time here. It doesn't have to be triathlon training either. Whatever is your poison, have a go. There is something here for everyone.
That will do. I have to get my stuff together for tomorrows race. It is as always an early start so I will be off to bed early tonight. I may try and avoid some spicy for this evening. Instead go for something a bit more neutral. I'm also really looking forward to catching up with my Team MaccaX gang for the camp this week.
Have a great weekend, check out a training trip to Thailand and remember to TRI!