Monday, 28 March 2016

March 2016 Blog Update - Plenty of racing, traveling & some favourites!

Hey Legends,

Hope you had a wonderful Easter break, with family & friends to enjoy some down time & chocolate (my 3rd favourite day of the year... A holiday where eating chocolate is a necessity- brilliant) 

Where do I start? I spent my Easter up at Seal rocks Sugarloaf lighthouse with my family, our holiday house escape where we retreat to often. It's one of those places that leaves you refreshed, relaxed & appreciate- my second home (& second favourite place in the world!)

On the drive up, kicking off 2 weeks uni break, I couldn't help notice the smile stuck on my face (inbetween sing alongs- personal favourite car trip artists: Florence & the machine or Counting Crowes)
 I started to reflect on the past month. I know I said last month  that March had a lot to live up to, well it's done that! 

I started the March with my first AIS NTA camp (Australian institute of Sport National Talent Academy) down in Wollongong training alongside fellow NTA Aussie athletes & the renound World Class/ Champions of the Wollongong Wizards, under head wizard Jamie Turner. Over the week we were able to experience/ learn valuable lessons in & out of the training environment- doing everything with intent & purpose. Reiterating the process over outcome mind frame & working on aspects that sit outside the swim, bike run box: strength & conditioning, personal excellence, hydration, media work, goal planning, athlete management & the odd Masterchef competition. Along with daily training we were lucky enough to have Q & A sessions with Aaron Royal, Australia's only male currently qualified for Rio Olympics & Gwen Jorgensen from the USA, 2015's undefeated World Champion, also headed to Rio! 

Soph Malowiecki & I also had the pleasure of being asked to dinner by Gwen & Pat. Enjoying a home cooked meal, prepared by the man behind the champ, Pat Lemieux, aka Master chef. Sitting down with the humble & down to earth Idol of mine for dinner was surreal & a night I won't take for granted as I know how much others would love to have had the same opportunity! Chatting away & walking away learning that in this pursuit like most their is no secret to success, it involves a journey paved by hard work, persistance, personal growth, highs, lows, times of self doubt, & a love for what we're chasing all the same. 

We ended the camp with the Wollongong Oceania Continential Cup event that weekend. I had my first live press conference, answering some questions for my 5 minutes of fame on NBN 9 news haha. 

Going in as the highest ranked Aussie athlete & a fun, technical but tough course I was looking forward  to racing in a field with many international athletes, all here to gain Olympic qualification points & use the event as a good hit out leading into the World Triathlon Series & World Cup season openers. I was pleased with the tricky ocean swim conditions & was proud to have the world champion Gwen consolidate with me pre race on swim tactics & starting positions, a factor that helps set up a race!

 Leading out the swim & forming a front pack on the bike of 3 Aussies, Gwen, another fellow USA  & Japenese athlete. I got carried away, feeling great but as a result overworked the front on the bike, still running strong off the bike to come home in 4th, in a hot international field, but my time on the front of the bike may have cost me a spot on the podium. 

Lessons learnt, none the less I was  pleased with my race, loved my first NTA camp. Loving even more having my mum & Aunty down to watch, my HPT training squad & the big surprise of having my second Quinn family there to yell & cheer me on all the way to the line, making them all proud! 

Onto week 2 of uni, still no class attendance, (whoops) because I was on my way to the Sunshine Coast for my first World Triathlon Circuit Race - Mooloolaba World Cup! Lucky it's all available online these days, although this isn't the most ideal for a Bachelor in nursing (I'll do the catch up later don't worry NSW Health)

Before I left I was treated to an AMAZING brand new 2016 AVANTI CORSA DR TEAM Di2 Dream road race bike!! Im in carbon fibre heaven! With a brand new Giro black, orange & blue to match & a new kit! Wow the bike of dream, sure left speechless! Thankyou to the team down at Avanti Narrabeen & the Avanti Australia Rep! 

Mooloolaba is always a favourite race of mine because:
 1. Mum travels up with me & we are able to enjoy a day in Noosa with best family friends a few days out from the race.. & this year I even flew a plane with my Best pilot friend Molly!!! Surreal experience & one for the bucket list!!

 2.the Sunshine Coast is just beautiful & Mooloolaba provides a great race atmosphere & ocean swim too yahoo. 

3. This would be my first World Cup, adding to the fond memories of this place now. I had no external or internal pressures on myself leading into the race & after chatting with my marvellous coach Mick I was able to go out there with the objective of learning tonnes & having a blast doing it! This is the next level! 

The night before the race Dad flew up, which would be his 3rd triathlon he has watched me at ( he has good choice) & to my surprise Mum & Dad had organised "operation Emma" to fly my sister Meg up from her new town at Uni in Wagga to come watch my first World event! They got me a beauty, pure joy turned to a stream of tears (of happiness) an overflow of emotions. My family are just beautiful! I would be racing with pride knowing they were watching me do my best on the world stage. 

Ranked number 42, I got to experience the torture pre race heart beat music, getting off to a great start I expected to be thrashed around in the Swim but instead used the surf  to my advantage & got out & around the swim course in the lead.

Getting away on the bike quick with the resulting front pack of 10 girls. Mixed in was Aussie Olympic medalist Emma Moffat & Aussie Gillian Backhouse, Olympic Silver medalist Lisa Norden & Jodie Stimpson who was coming off a win at WTS race 1 in Abu Duabi. Making a similar mistake to Wollongomg I overworked the bike & did a large chunk of the work on the front & into the wind for the girls, earning street credit but similarly stinging my legs. But as mum said, hey at least I got all the TV air time for 2/3 of the race haha thanks Mum. 

My first World Cup run & I experienced that next level on the run, a work in progress for me now so that soon I'll be able to stick it with the world's best for 3/3 legs! Finishing in a battle to the line to take 23rd.

I was very pleased with my first World Cup race, proud but also knew I had made errors in hydration with the temps around 40 degrees out on course & some race tactics. Take one example of my now world famous T2 run into transition off the bike, a photo that has run a caption contest all over news feeds for a World Traithlon. You can give it your own caption, I know what I was trying to say.... Haha. ( see Below) 

Home from Mooloolaba with the family, managed one day at uni, before packing the bags & heading across the ditch to Gisborne NZ, travelling through Auckland & then flying south to the East coast. A lovely town on the ocean providing some swell, yahoo, a flat bike/ run course but beautiful classic NZ scenery! Fun fact- Gisborne is first town in the world to see in the sunrise of the new day ( as it is the town furthest east in NZ which is in the time zone that starts the new day first- scientific enough?) 

Gisborne would be host to the Olympic Oceania Elite & U/23 Championships & would also double for the Olympic Oceania Region Qualification race, meaning whatever country won the Elite men & woman earnt their county  a third spot at the Olympics. A big event! 

Racking my bike in transition next to Emma Moffat I had a proud smile on my race & was ready to race, little did I know it may have been a sign? Emma & I were able to work the swim well, using surf skills to body surf in after lap 2 of the 1500m swim, pulling a considerable gap on the field & chasing Kiwi's. 

We started the cycle & quickly chatted together about what we wanted to do over these next 40km. Emma is a lovely athlete & one I admire in our Australian history of triathlon for us women, it was a real buzz each lap to have commentary marvel over the "Emma train"BOr "Emma & Emma show," a name that has a long standing elite top of the podium history for Australia in Triathlon (Emma Snowsill, Emma Jackson, Emma Moffat just to name a few) & a legacy I dream to carry on! 

Without getting confused (haha) Emma & I  worked great together, sharing the work load & got off the bike having put 3:50 mins on the chasing field. I wanted to produce a solid 10km & did this, a step forward for me- proud to have the 2nd fastest run split of the day & crossing the line in second (behind Emma who got the job done for the Aussies) & the first U/23 Elite- earning myself a Oceania U/23 Olympic Distance Championship title to match just perfectly with my Australian National title in Devonport last month. Like I said, the smile wasn't leaving my face too soon!

Some moments never lose their spark no matter how much you experience them- podiums, watching your national Flag being raised & singing the national anthem is one of these! Standing on the Dias I was a very proud Aussie, a clean sweep for us, Olympic qualification spot secured & great day in the office for me to finish a busy month of racing! Not the mention the bouquet of beautiful sunflowers wasn't too bad!! 

Able to enjoy a rest/ recovery day in NZ at the Rere waterfall & Rock waterslide was brilliant, awesome old school fun, thanks coach & bus driver... We know you weren't all that certain it was a good idea but hey, that was an adventure I'll remember, I think I'm still laughing ( the smile Continues)

And so that takes me back home, a few days of madness seeing friends, riding my beautiful horse Cherokee, training & actually attending uni (it's only week 4....)

Now I'm sitting up on the balcony of our Lighthouse head keeper cottage, watching the sunset. Having enjoyed a glass of Moet with mum & dad to celebrate & reflect on what has been a brilliant month!! ( I am now number 89 on the ITU World Rankings... Having moved up from 119 into the top 100, another goal ticked yahoo) The smile won't be leaving over Easter... That's if the Supa Easter bunny finds us up here .... 

Next stop-April & New Plymouth World Cup back across the ditch in NZ to kick off another busy month! Bring it on I say!! 

Thank for sticking out the longer read... If your still here! 

Until next month, 
Em X 

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