Sunday, 12 April 2015

End of Season Recap!

End of Race Season!

A bruise is a lesson...and each lesson makes us better.

   - Arya Stark    Game of Thrones

The past few weeks have been crazy! I brought another bike but this time I swapped the thin wheels for fat, mountain ones. I brought a 3500 D Trek Mountain bike from Yellow Jersey Bike Shop. This bike had it all for a beginner mountain biker like myself! It was light, durable, fast and cut through the rocky trails like Valaryain steel. On the Easter Friday I took it out for a spin with the group. I was so nervous as this was my first time mountain riding. Soon enough I was hooked! I could have spent hours out on the trails. It was challenging, muddy and adrenaline pumping and I loved every moment of it. Stacks and all! 

Crossing the finish line a Christchurch Duathlon. Photo Cred: Sovereign

The TQ Sprint triathlon event down at Redcliffe was on as well. That was a great event, finishing 1st 18-19yo and 2nd U19 female. I was so pleased with my swim, dropping over a minute from last year's time! Everyone had fantastic results and hopefully the points collected push Vision Tri club over the line to win Small Tri Club of the year for the 3rd year in a row. #uptheStarks!

However, the event to cap off this great race season was flying across the Narrow Sea to my homeland New Zealand to compete in the last Sovereign Tri Series Race, the Christchurch Duathlon. Christchurch was not only a test of my fitness and ability to adapt to different climates but a test of my maturity and self reliance. Due to the fact I was completely on my own. No parents, no coaches, no dragons, no training friends and not a single competitor that I knew of. I had to organise everything from food to hair to taxi service.  

Somehow I had brought a cold snap with me to Christchurch. I was welcomed with wind, rain and 11 degree weather. Coming from sunny QLD where anything slightly under 20degrees calls for ugg boots and pjs. Going from QLD to Christchurch is like travelling from Kings Landing to the Wall. Winter is coming sweet summer child!

The fear of failure was high for Christchurch. Anything could have gone wrong on the day. I was nervous. What if I came all this way, spent all this money and did all this training to crumble under the pressure. What if I get a flat again? For a moment on the bike, sheer panic seeped in when I actually believed I did get a flat. There are a couple of things I would have changed in that race. For example, I would change the amount of time I spent worrying where second place was than just focusing on running to the finish. I wasted energy in looking back where I should have just solely looked forward.

In the end, my hard work paid off and I finished 1st place. Running through the zoo was incredible, although I didn't look around to see the animals, I did run with a swan for about 10metres. Afterwards, it was great to warm down by the lions and hang out with the Meerkats. Sadly no direwolves or dragons were to be seen. I was so tempted to take one home! (meerkat, of course).

This race season was filled with many good memories, some not so good and some truly fantastic results. I've learnt and grown (in maturity not height, sadface) with the sport. I am appreciative of the time and commitment my coaches, club, parents and supporters have given me this season. Now I am ready to tackle the gruelling early morning starts, winter chills and quad- burning hills.

What do we say to the god of sleep....Not Today.
Valar Morghulis and remember R +L = J ;)
Can you tell I'm keen for the Game of Thrones Season 5 première?

For more info on the Christchurch Duathlon click the link below:

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Feeling Flat - Devonport OTC

Pun intended.

Sometimes luck just isn't on your side. You can do everything right. You can sleep well the night before, eat properly in the lead up, drink your body weight in water and recover with your compression game on point. But in the end a mechanical failure is what it is. In the end all one can do is wipe the tears and get back to the grind.

Cornering slightly on my speedy Emonda SL5,
Courtesy of Yellow Jersey Bike Shop.
Photo cred: ipimage 
This is exactly what happened to me at the Aus Junior Triathlon Champs in beautiful and remote Devonport, TAS. After a rather struggling wetsuit swim in 0.8m swells, I was head down, bum up, chasing the pack. My speedy trek Emonda flying up the 20% gradient hill. Then lap 2 of a 4 lap bike course I felt a wobble in my back wheel and heard a slight noise. Dread burned in the pit of my stomach and I knew it was a flat.

Why ???? (insert series of curse words and fist shaking at the Tri Gods)

No spares, no wheel, no race. I watched hopelessly as the packs went by. When the officials came I was forced to mouth the words that felt like acid. A phrase I NEVER want to repeat again - I pull. It was a long, disappointing walk back to transition. Having a DNF is the worst feeling in sporting history!!! Honestly, I'd rather go out in flaming style, like overshooting a corner and feel the bike slip out from underneath me. All the while I gracefully soar through the air into the ragged arms of the bitumen. Not from a small, minute, pathetic little tear in a tube caused by either a leaky value or stranded piece of glass! Ughh it makes me mad just thinking about it! I'd rather be disqualifed from a race than not finish. No matter what, I'd rather finish what I set out to do!

Astrid and I post relays.
Literally just after.
Pain is temporary but this disappointment lasts forever. This horrible feeling still hasn't left. Instead it's been repressed, deep into the back of my subconscious. Until next year, I'll unearth the feeling and use it as fuel to redeem myself over the U23 Olympic distance. For now, that file is locked.

The weekend wasn't a complete disaster story. On the Sunday we particpated in the relays. Both youth and juniors combined because of limited numbers, so I had the chance to race my training partner Astrid. Who did an amazing job in coming 4th in the Youth Girls race! I feel like a proud sister! I was in a team with my other training partner Tyler, who also did a great job in the very competitive junior mens race and came 33rd. Fantastic job! I came out of the 250m swim with Astrid and we entered the 4km bike leg together. As training partners we ride together almost every cycle session. Soon enough we built a solid pace, rotating with ease and caught two other girls in front. On the last corner I sneakily got the inside edge and took off in front, getting a 10m lead coming into T2. On the 1.2km I could feel my legs turning to jelly but I pushed on to the end knowing it was only around the corner. Collasping over the line with Astrid hot on my tail, I felt the relief course through my body. I finally got to race. I finally got to release the racing vibes that had been bottled up from the tragic day before. I realised then and there why I do 20hours of training a week. It's addicting! The excitiment and nerves and the feeling of joy you get when you cross the line knowing you put everything into it. I'm addicted to racing.

The Squad shot with professional long course triathlete
- the hilarious and inspirational Jimmy Sears.
(left, with the hair Einstein would be jealous of)
In the end, there is nothing I can do about a mechanical failure. I just need to move onto the next race. Hello, Christchurch! To be honest, I don't think I would have survived the weekend without Astrid and her mother Robyn there for support. (And photos!) Astrid with her encouraging words and Robyn with her motherly like hugs, I felt well looked after. I couldn't be more grateful for their presence. Also I want to thank Triathlon QLD for having me in the team and taking good care of me over the weekend. I like travelling with a small team. It gives me a chance to bond with other competitors and learn all the goss in triathlon. I want to praise long course professional triathlete Jimmy Sears. I learnt a lot from him about life as a professional triathlete, how bad sugar is and how wonderful hard boiled eggs are. His hair may be crazy but enclosed is a head full of knowledge. I'd give him a follow on all social media platforms if I were you! I would of course like to thank my parents, because well.. they are my parents. I couldn't thank them enough for what they do for me. And lastly my coaches and support team at VTC. For constantly pushing me towards my goals and helping me out when the wheels start to go flat.

Onwards and upwards!!! Redemption is coming...

Watch this space

Mine and Astrid's Compression Socks Game on point!
Astrid and I after the relays, smiles all round!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Project DOVE - little kindness goes a long way

I was proud to take part in such a wonderful charity event run by the Vision Tri Club. Project DOVE is about raising awareness of drugs, obesity and violence through exercise.  Project DOVE was started by the one and only Brett "the Doc" Sutton. He is an Australian triathlon coach and a former professional boxer, boxing coach, greyhound trainer, racehorse trainer, elite swimming coach and current mentor for my wonderful coach- Cath. He has trained numerous athletes into World and Olympic champions. Including Ironman world record holder, Chrissie Wellington, and Olympic champions, Nicola Spirig and Emma Snowsill. Just to name a few. This man, in my opinion is the king of triathlon coaches and one day I would love to have the honour of him coaching me to the top.

Currently many athletes and supporters of triathlon have seen entry fees sky rocket to the point where the athlete can no longer feel like a 'participant but more like a customer.' Sutton states that he has seen 'Elite/professional athletes so isolated to the point their existence is at stake.' This should not be happening in this great sport, hence why this foundation was created. Project DOVE aims to 'bring back equality into the sport of triathlon for pros and age groupers alike.'

'I believe triathlon can be a great vehicle for community spirit and activism and that’s why I started DOVE.' 
- Brett Sutton

Crew getting ready to take off. Nice foggy 6am start.
So to add our two cents, the Vision Tri Club ran a swim training event. Participants had the option to chose to do; 100x 100m, 50x 50m or 25x 25m. We worked in pairs of similar ability and I was partnered with Andrew to do the 100 x100m, who is gearing up for Hell of The West in Goondiwindi in a few weeks. All up I would be swimming 50 x 100m or 5km.

Easier said than done.

By that statement, I meant that in two years since I left school I have already forgotten how to count!! I quickly lost track of where I was up to and often (pretty much after each 100m), had to check with my lane buddies Julia and Clare. Thank God they can count! As I neared towards halfway I was even more delighted when I discovered someone had brought along a box of giant white marshmallows, red skins and Minties! You literally had to eat the marshmallow in two bites. They were so good I only had one.... maybe two... ok I had three. Sorry coach...But believe me, after 3km of constant swimming your energy begins to fade. So I say its a fairly reasonable excuse.   

Phones are now water proof. Photo cred: Bronwyn Jennings Photography  
Overall, the event was such a success with the whole club turning out to participate and even brought along two pro triathletes Ellie Salthause, Felicity Abram and 1984 Olympic 400m Bronze medallist Justin Lemberg for a swim! The event ran so smoothly even with a full pool. Although I felt like I was going to kick my lane buddies in the face every time I tumble-turned, despite being assured that I was nowhere near them. (It was a 25m pool for your info). The ladies doing 25 x25 even continued on to do 50x25m! An amazing feat by everyone!

All money raised is being split up between Project DOVE and Ellie's charity Still I Rise. An amazing not for profit organisation providing counselling and rehabilitation services to Australians living with cancer. I would like to thank Just Sport N Fitness for opening their facilities to us, Cath and Greg for organising the event and the whole Vision club for a spectacular day in the sun.

Ready for the next round!

For more info on Brett and Project DOVE:
Ellie Salthause's charity organisation:

red faced, goggled, post 100x100m photo.

Even got to take home a certificate

The Twins and I, post swim.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

It's All A Learning Curve - Oceania Champs 2015


I hope your still staying true to your new years resolutions! If not then that's fine, cause I didn't. Impulse buying is a serious condition!!

On to more important things.. Last weekend was the Oceania Junior Triathlon Champs held in Penrith, NSW. Actually held at the Sydney Regatta centre which hosted the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games where Michellie Jones got the silver medal. It is also home of the oldest triathlon event in Australia- The Nepean Triathlon. You learn something everyday!

I was so excited for this event. Its a great experience to race with the big fish. The competition is fierce and the atmosphere is intense. I admit I was nervous before the race. We were given a weather warning before the start, with temperatures expected to reach 37 degrees with high humidity!
I was pacing around with my cap and goggles in hand, impatiently waiting for the swim warm up call. The swim is in a man made fresh water lake so no current. The temp was also around 27 degrees. Perfect temp for a fast swim. The only thought running through my head is please goggles stay on! I was banging the goggles against my eyes in hope they stay on for the close knit pontoon start. Everyone knows I struggle with my swim, its not my best leg but it is something I work on consistently. My plan was to go hard and draft behind a pack, preferably the middle one. For the first 300m we were all fairly close together still. It was on the long stretch to the swim exit that we split up and I ended up swimming with the athletes between the main packs. Damn! I hadn't realised until the last buoy 250m to the exit that they were pulling away from me.

As I entered transition I saw the main pack I needed to be with at the mount line. My heart was racing, I need to catch them before the adrenaline dies!! It was a fast transition, I mounted well and took off. The bike was 4 laps around the Regatta and a relatively flat course. I could see the pack, they had about 10-15 athletes. I was gunning it to catch them. Pushing my new Trek Emonda SL 5 down the road and making good time. But alas, I was alone with the adrenaline begining wearing off and the main pack still out of reach. Soon enough I was caught by the group behind me, there were 4 of us from Victoria and ACT and we were flying! The pace never dropped but we never caught the main pack.

It was on the run I started to flake. I had put everything in to catching packs in both the swim and bike that when it came time to the run I had little left with no one in arms length to catch. My shoe wasn't on properly and the weather was really starting to heat up. So happy I decided to wear my Pink Gale AMO sunglasses, perfectly protection from the bright sun and sweat. But overall I am disappointed with my run. Coming from a running background I should have pulled my head out and moved myself forward. It wasn't until the last lap (of the 3 lap run) when I was catching more athletes that I put in to the finish. Still losing in a sprint finish. The end time being a 1:06.

Afterwards instead of feeling euphoric, all I felt was disappointment. I walked away, got my bike and allowed myself to process what just happened. I just wanted to do the race all over again! I was exhausted but I know I can do better. I can get a 1:04! Then the cruel little 'ifs and buts' snaked their way through my head. 'If I was closer I would have done better, if I swam faster I would have had a better bike/run, but they were too far ahead.' I started to receive calls and texts from my coach, parents and friends at Vision praising me on my efforts. But I wouldn't accept them. It wasn't until my good friend Bronwyn sent my a text simply saying: Righto I want 2 things that didn't go well, 5 things that did go well and 2 ways you can improve. It was from that message that I actually took the time to process the positive side of the race. Only took me two hours to get out of the crappy black sad cloud I'd put myself under!

What went well:
1. I completed the race. I didn't crash, I didn't faint, and I pushed through to the end.
2. Goggles didn't fall off in the chaotic pontoon start! Must have been all the suction from pressing down so hard.
3. Worked fantastically in the pack of 4 on the bike.
4. New bike PB on over 20km by 2 whole minutes!
5. I wasn't overly nervous before the race. Yes I paced around a little but I wasn't using up vital energy being sick or crying.
6. My new bike, courtesy of Yellow Jersey bike shop was amazing! I worked well and smooth and I felt fast on it.

The next day was the relays. The relays were set out ITU style, so super sprint races - 300m swim, 5km bike, 1.5km run. Fast and hard. They were so much fun. Because I was representing NZL at the champs, I was put in the NZL team. The NZL athletes were super nice and great to race with. So pleased to have the opportunity to represent my home country and will be in the future.

Overall, from that terrible race I learnt that there are positives in any situation. A lot of people focus on their physical strength in preparation for a race. But how I see it now is that a race is 40% physical capacity and 60% mental strength. You may be the fastest in the world but mentally if you are not willing to put in the 120% needed then you won't get far and you inevitably won't be happy about the result. So mental strength is a skill that consistently needs to be worked on.

In the end, no matter how bad it seems, a race is just a race. There is always another- in this series there is, in exactly a month. I am so excited and determined now for Davenport. I am determined to redeem myself and have a much better race. Also first flying to Tasmania! I want to see if the locals are as crazy as everyone says they are. I am so thankful to have a great support network too. Also to Triathlon QLD for looking after me while at Penrith. Aside from the race I did have fun. Especially riding down to the local Coles with the Youth Girls, decked out in riding gear and lining our very expensive bikes up outside the store. (Don't worry, I stayed to keep an eye on them!)

Now to prepare for the #roadtodavenport. First things first, I need to book a tan for the race. I look like a ghost!

*Sorry there are no photos from my race. I didn't get in any and I had no one down there to take any. Next time!  Pinky Promise.

Monday, 24 November 2014

I Have Sponsors Now! (Cue the Confetti!!)

Yes attention please as I have an announcement to make!

I would like to introduce you to my new sponsors: AMO and Energia Sports.  (Cue confetti!*) I am so thankful to have these major triathlon brands on the support crew. Both have already been a major help for me and I'm excited to work with them. So I'll just give you some info on these amazing brands!

AMO or Advanced Multisport Optics 

" Made for Athletes That Sweat" 

Athletes that achieve are athletes that work hard through the pain, SWEAT and tears. AMO design the best multi-sport sunglasses on the market. Made by athletes, for athletes. They understand that we triathletes want sunglasses that not only look 10/10 amazing but are light, flexible, durable and adaptable. What's even better, that most of us just dismiss, is that the sunglasses block 100% of the UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Being based in Brisbane and absolutely dying from this blistering summer heat I find this an amazing feature. 
The AMO story is a personal journey that triathlete Tim Hallworth embarked on in 2012 to right a wrong in the choice of sports sunglasses that multi-sports athletes were faced with. He found that there was no single sports sunglasses product that met all of the needs of athletes and along with his lovely wife Fenny, they are set about correcting it. Go Team AMO!  

For more info on their story and fantastic sunglasses range move that mouse pointer to this link here:
or to watch the secret to the sport sunglasses fit here:

Energia Sports 

Energia Sports is an online triathlon store with everything from tri-suits to compression socks and  from the latest Garmin watches to top of the range in sports nutrition.  Run by triathletes themselves, Energia sports understand the importance of all having all the accessories that come with triathlons. For example, there is a wide variety of compression socks and calf sleeves to choose from. I don't care that calf sleeves aren't yet 'fashionable,' I will still wear them in public because I actually want to be able to move the next day! Also there is a range of Shotz and TORQ gels, powders and bars so you can stay nourished during the long sessions. Easy to shop, easy to buy, super quick delivery and 100% guaranteed satisfaction. Swim, Bike and Run with Energia Sports!!

To check out their amazing range of triathlons necessities and accessories then click on the link below.... go click now!!

Kaitlyn's  9 Sponsor Tips because she couldn't think of 10!  

For anyone out there looking for sponsorship here is my advice:
1. write a resume and cover letter. (get your coach, parents and friends to check it)
2. get in contact with brands you know and trust. Email them, or do what I did and go down to race festivals and meet them face to face.
3. follow up. ALWAYS FOLLOW UP. don't let them forget you.
4. be unique and stand out postively. do you have a youtube channel? blog?
5. let them know what you can do for them. not the other way around!! google: ROI
6. stay in contact. easy: social media, email. race reports. duh!
7. only represent that brand. for example I'm now with AMO, therefore you will not see me with Oakley sunnies. #teamAMO #sorryOakley
8. sponsorship generally is a legal contract so read all the fine print and understand what you are required to do before you sign.
9. Don't slander the brand. Don't be stupid. simple.  

Now to clean up the confetti... 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Surviving Dentistry 101

Well that’s it, my first year of dental technology is finally done. I can't believe how much fun it was! I have many good memories with some truly amazing people and so many side-splittingly hilarious stories to tell. I have to admit although exams period was difficult, it was the period where all the laughter came from. Staying overnight in the library junked up on caffeine and kebabs did turn us into crazed dental techs.

We are crazy to begin with anyway. Dental technology is different to Dental Science. I learn to make the prosthetic appliances. So I make complete and partial dentures, crowns, bridges, orthodontic appliances, mouthguards, implants, and more. I work with the dentists to create an appliance for the patient to fix their smile and their overall wellbeing. Eventually I want go into the field of implant dentistry. So basically, I like teeth and I can handle blood. Just imagine creating a tooth implant where the dentist has to cut open the gums and place a titanium screw into the bone. Lots of blood. Cool aye!

This year we focussed mainly on producing complete dentures for edentulous (toothless) patients. Some technicians can do it in a couple of hours, me...a week. But it’s a deathly practice! I seriously don’t know how I survived lab! There are dangerous equipment around! The wax knifes and scalpels may be small but they cut pretty deep, as I found out on more than one occasion. I also discovered that molten wax burns and stains.  Also that if you use a flame torch to heat up a small piece of wire, then attempt to pick up that piece of wire. You WILL burn your fingers badly and have to sit under a running tap getting laughed at for 20mins. Experience is the best but most cruel teacher of all.

Eat Street Markets

Isabelle and I making dentures. #ebolasafe

I’m so happy with the amazing friends I’ve made this year. Being the youngest person in the whole of dentistry this year is pretty scary. All of my friends are 20+, in long term relationships, moved out and thinking of kids! Meanwhile I’m like: I wonder what I’ll have for breakfast tomorrow.  They were able to take me under their wing and teach me how to stand on my feet in uni. It’s different to highschool, teachers spoon feed you from a silver platter. Uni lecturers give you material. It’s up to you to make the effort. Together we made a lot of good memories. I participated in the Griffith Uni Dental Students Association (GUDSA) touch tournament where I got MVP and the wooden spoon. I was able to interact with the other dental students in all years and I made more friends.
We would occasionally do group study dates before exams- especially Oral Biology. Dental histology and anatomy made me want to hit my head against a wall...multiple times. The simple acronyms we cause up with for learning the cranial nerve branches actually saved me in the exams. I must say that having friends with such different nationalities is so much fun. I've tried jellyfish sushi, pho, curried fish balls, cronuts, afghan lollies and so much more! I went to a true Taiwanese food festival and I had a proper Vietnamese dinner at a friend's house. It feels so good to learn things from a different perspective; to learn different cultures and languages and political views from various people. I'm so pleased to have shared these wonderful experiences with such amazing people!    

The Mutliple Scoregasms!! We lost every game but won in team spirit!
Juggling uni with triathlons is not easy, especially with the path I’m going down. But for me education has always been one up from sport. I’ve seen many athletes amount to great things then retire to nothing, all because they chose sport over anything else. I finish this degree in 3 years so I’ll be 19. I’ll work for a year then I am able to begin my Masters which runs for 3 years part time. By the time I finish that I’ll be 23. The top female triathletes range between 25-35. Andrea Hewitt is 32, Gwen Jorgenson is 28, Emma Moffat is 30! I have so much time to develop my skills to get to the level I want to. Once I’ve done my degrees and have money under my belt then I can focus solely on triathlons. So by the time I’m ready to call it quits I’ll have a career to fall back to. Only a selected few can live off triathlon- I don’t advising on risking it.  

GUDSA Touch Tournament 2014 Got the Wooden Spoon!
I’m happy with what I am doing. It’s a struggle sometimes but that’s just life. Great things in life don’t come easily. I am so excited for this 3 month break. Not only do I have time for activities but I will be turning 18 in a month! (longest wait of my life). I can also improve on my swimming, catch up with old friends, read a book other than dental textbooks and SLEEP! I can actually take proper naps during the day and not have a single care in the world. #napsshouldbecomplusory  Bring on the holiday celebrations!!!!

Things I learnt in my first year of uni:

1.   Group study is awesome. Only if you are with the right people and in a group no more than 5 or 6.

2.   Nothing is ever straight forward. Question everything...

3.   Don’t fall asleep during lectures. People will take photos and post them online. Even if your friends say they won’t.

4.   Don’t study on bean bags- they are too comfortable and you will fall asleep and again people will take photos and post it online. Look up Sleeping @ Griffith on Facebook for more info.

5.   3 hour lectures at 8am are horrible. Pack a big lunch for those days.

6.   Don’t eat before going into an anatomy lab to look at cadavers.

7.   Sushi is hands down amazing! It’s cheap and healthy- what a bonus!

8.   Iced Macha lattes- iced green tea lattes on almond milk are just to die for. And it’s healthy caffeine! #goorganic

9.   Uni students drink a lot of alcohol – especially at toga parties.

10. Learn to save because you will be poor. Ask yourself: do you really need that shirt? Can you buy it online? Can you wear it multiple times in a row?  

11. If a lecturer mentions something than 3 times then you will most likely be tested on it.    

12.  Pjs, sweatpants, no bra and onesies are totally acceptable at uni. Rock it girlfraand!

13. If you can’t pronounce it- make it up. #sphenoid boing

14.  The cops on the M1 southbound are at Logan (under the bridge after Beenleigh exit), Coomera (just before and just after Dreamworld) and coming off Smith Street motorway on M1 Northbound. Drive safe kiddies.

15.    If you don’t know what to write in an exam long answer question- grossly elaborate on what you do know and curse yourself for skipping it because you thought ‘he won’t put this on the exam.’ Expect the unexpected!

16.  Do whatever you want to do, be whatever you want to be- just don’t be an asshole. (Life lessons from my good friend Isabelle)
Volunteering at the colour run is better than running it.

This one time I partied too hard with school friends at another uni. QUT #togaparty 2014. ready for round 2 2015!

Photography skills level: expert. Denture made before trim and polish 

Our entertainment during our 1 hour lunch breaks.

Injection method when processing a denture

Monday, 20 October 2014

Australian National and Oceania Duathlon Championship

Racing is pain. That's why you do it. To challenge yourself and the limits of your physical and mental barriers. You don't experience that in an arm chair watching TV.          - Mark Allen (6 time Ironman Champion)

Speaking of pain, I am feeling it's never ending burning ache right now as I write to you the events of the past weekend. On Sunday I competed in the Australian National duathlon champs in Adelaide. Which is the host city for the World Duathlon Champs in 2015! In a last minute decision I was brought up from the 16-19 age group into the ITU junior elite category. This was a huge leap for me! My first ever ITU race run by Triathlon Australia!! That leap couldn't have gone any smoother. 

Pfft, (insert chuckle), I was lucky enough to be allowed to race let alone come away with a 2nd in Australia, 3rd Oceania for junior elites and 5th overall. Even got some chocolates and prize money! 

I had to overcome a series of small problems in order to achieve that result. Firstly, coming from age group to elites I should have read the rules a little better. I did not have an ITU compliant suit. (It's currently in the works and won't arrive until December). The technical officials didn't have a blank suit for me to use. So thankfully, after some lengthy discussions between my coach Cath and the TO's and nervous pacing on my behalf, they allowed me to race in my club suit which is mostly compliant! It is just missing the ITU logo. (They wouldn't let me draw it on). 
Secondly, I had a slight problem with the brakes and my race wheels on my bike. So as soon as I got to the apartment I was lucky enough to find an Avanti Bike Store less than 200m down the road. 
* if your down in Unley, Adelaide, check them out! They found the time to slot me in and do a quick service. They helped me out so much for a great price! * 
Thirdly, my bike still wasn't completely ITU compliant as the seat was a few centimetres forward, similar to a time trial bike. Once again, thankfully Tyler (training partner and Yellow jersey bike mechanic) was able to quickly adjust the seat. 
Fourthly and lastly, I had to deal with the heat. The race was set to start at 12pm. The heat of the day!! Adelaide turned up the furnace with blistering 31degree dry and windy conditions! 

Although there were hiccups, I'm glad they happened. I'm also glad they happened without my coach present. She would have helped me but being so far away I had to learn to control my emotions, think positively and get the job done. I drew encouragement from it. I could have easily broken down in tears and pulled out. But this race is something I really wanted to do. I want to go to Worlds for elites so I knew I had to suck it up and get moving! You can only control what can be controlled. I couldn't control the weather or my competitors. But I could control how much effort I put in and how I was going to perform on the day. 

About the race
I admit, I was NERVOUS leading up to the start. The girls around me looked fast and fierce. We started off at a hot pace, but our mouth quickly went dry and our breathing turned laboured and coarse. I drank and poured water on myself at both stations. It was a 2 lap run. After a lap I wasn't able to hang onto the top girls and was left on my own in 6th place heading into the 4 lap bike. 
After a lap I was caught by 7th female and we worked together. The bike course was bumpy and there was one massive hill. But what goes up must come down and I definitely enjoyed drafting down that hill. 5th female dropped out and we caught 4th female on the last lap. She was cramping bad and as I was heading up that hill for the last time I began cramping in my calves. I tried to drink and stretch while I was on the back of the pack leading into transition. 
The last run was between myself and a competitor from WA. It was only 1 lap so I knew I had to try break away early. I tried but she hung on. I tried to surge again and this time my hamstrings started to cramp. I could feel the vomit at the back of my throat. Now was not the time to blow pasta chunks everywhere! I was in medal position for junior elites and I wanted 2nd not 3rd! Unfortunately, she got the gap on me and I finished with 3rd. But don't get me wrong, I am estatic with that result!! 3rd in Australia... (@&#! *Insert happy dance).

This weekend was a valuable experience. Not only did I learn a lot of lessons but it is the first time travelling without family. I am so glad I had my friend Clare to support me. It was a great bonding experience. She competed as well and did amazing!! 4th in the very competitive 25-29 age group for standard distance. 10km run/40km bike/5km run to do that distance is insane! So proud of her! I am also happy for Tyler who worked so hard in the junior elite men. He never gave up and fought on strong. It was a tough field and he did very well. Thankyou Tyler also for helping me out. He is experienced in ITU regulated races so he was patiently able to answer my continuous roll of questions. 
A huge thank you to the technical officials who did an amazing job! I got to know them all fairly well while waiting to hear confirmation on my race status. 
Also thanks to Cath, Greg and the whole Vision Crew for their wonderful support! 
A special thank you to Kelly and Mike Allan who kept a watchful eye over me and their words of encouragement during the tough times. Your support was greatly appreciated! 

It just goes to show that if you stay calm, control the controllable and trust in your abilities, then the results will show. I will now get back to ridding my body of this never ending burning ache. 
Foam Roller, where you hiding at?? 

Enjoy the photos! 

Beautiful morning in Elder Park, Adelaide

Photo Cred: Clare White Photography
Small tapering ride the day before. Practiced my mounts and dismount and no hand skills. I can now successfully take a selfie whilst riding a bike.

Clare finishing her race. Looking good as always!