We've all heard that saying- time flies when your having fun! Well I think it's the same for hard work! Because I've had a good mix of the two in my first 4 weeks here in Vitoria Gasteiz & in Europe & it certainly feels like it has flown by!!
It's been a busy month so I'll fill you in… Excuse the essay- you have been warned!
Coming back to Vitoria Gasteiz for my second international season of racing it was very much like coming back to a second home. Unlike 2016, I knew the “lay of the land.” How the daily training environment works & its structured, the unspoken rules of the culture & apartments, where to get your groceries, how to make my way around town, the good loops for a 2 hour ride, my favourite morning run track, the best coffee shop & what places to hit up for wifi! All this, although seemingly small factors, made a big difference in being able to settle in stress free & easily jump into training on day 1!
There was no rest for the wicked in my first week here, it was straight in with the Wollongong Wizards to some hard work in lead up to the next big World Triathlon Series Race in Hamburg Germany the following weekend. The “PZ” hill reps, motor pacing loop on the bike, & Landa run trails for our “track” work all came back pretty quick! Utilizing the Bakh full Gym & recovery facilities & our service provider/ team physio Emma (another Emma in the Triathlon world... wow) for treatment to keep the body feeling good & all aligned.
It doesn't take long for me to farewell the 4.20am alarm that goes off Monday to Saturday mornings back home in Sydney for swim training or a long ride, happily turning that baby off until October & editing the morning alarm to a sociable 7.30 am! Another classic feature to the Spanish culture is the siesta- from 2 -5pm shops will literally shut before reopening again from 5pm up till about 10pm! The siesta is brilliant for us athletes, giving us the chance to stop & rest properly in the day to be ready for the evening session! A nap is always on the cards but my go to TV shows to binge on in the siesta would have to be the new Season 7 GOT, The Bachelor (I know) and Criminal Minds.. (talk about real variety)
We headed off to the World Triathlon Series event in Hamburg Germany on Wednesday the 12/7, with both the WTS Elite men & women racing on Saturday over the sprint distance & the World Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships to be contested on Sunday! This event was the 2nd and final chance to gain automatic qualification to the 2018 Australian Commonwealth Games team, with the 1st Aussie in the top 10 gaining this automatic nomination, and the last spot being given via discression late this year.
For the women from Australia there was Ash Gentle, Charlotte McShane, Natalie Van Coevorden and myself racing. Hamburg was an amazing city & the WTS race here really takes in the sites, having been on for over 10 years now!! With transition and the finish line sitting right on the door step of the Hamburg town hall! The swim uniquely features about 50m in the dark as we swim under a bridge in a tunnel & the crowds are next level, lining the entire course & giving such a buzz! With the Age group Triathlon events run over the same weekend it's the biggest triathlon event in the world! Wow!
I was feeling a little bit flat in the lead up to Hamburg, put it down to a big mixture of factors over the past 2 weeks in lead up; traveling from Sydney to Europe, adjusting to all the factors involved with this & a handful of quality work, all took their toll leaving me feeling a little flatter than I usually am in the days leading up to a race, none the less- "Feel good, race good. Feel crap, Race good!"
And all my preparation was great, with the body ready to rock & roll out there over the famously fast & furious Hamburg course, a sprint event- 750m swim, 20km ride & 5km run.
For me Saturday went a little like this ~ Ranked number 27, I took my on the pontoon in the middle of a close to full field with 62 girls lining up, with the water about 19 degrees in the Alster lake it was a wetsuit swim! Off with the gun it was a sprinting dash to get some clear water for yourself before that first buoy turn approached! My swim is usually my best ally but today I fell into a bit of strife, losing that critical moment in reaching the first buoy ahead of the carnage to follow, as you can imagine 60 girls wanting to also make their way around a buoy… it's not pretty!
I copped a big kick to the head, with someone's heal getting me square in the eye, ouch! My goggles cracked & leaked and I found myself in one big huddle and struggling to see. Knowing the race would be getting away from me at the front end I battled though and tried my best to make up lost ground over the remaining 500m to the swim exit, including the dark tunnel!
In transition onto the bike, the pressure was on if I wanted to get up and make the front pack, and of course that's where I wanted to be! I was just on the back of the pack for the first 1.5 laps of 6 so had my work cut out for me in this first 5km to establish myself in the bike pack!! I moved towards the front & stuck it there for the remainder of the bike course playing a strong roll!
Unfortunately it was too late as Flora Duffy & Kasper with Jess Learmont had already broken away off the front early. Leading the chase pack into transition 2 onto the run it was another foot battle over the next 5km to the blue carpet! I was really pleased with how I ran out there, holding strong & with the best form I have felt running yet this season, a testament to the work Mick & I have been putting in with the specialist help of the Australian Institute of Sport staff! I had a sprint finish down the blue carpet for 16th & 17th and was happy to take the “mini” win here!
16th in my second WTS, I'm pretty proud of that!! To my amusement I had forgotten about my eye before greeting Mick and having him alert me to the fact that I in fact had split my eye open and had exited the water with blood down my face! That's World Series racing for you, and lucky I could come up with a good story to explain my black eye in the coming days haha!
BIG Congratulations to Ash Gentle on her silver medal out there & the quickest run split on the day, and to Charlotte McShane for 8th, earning the second commonwealth games automatic qualification, both so well deserved & it's a pleasure to work daily with these two in training!!
Here's a great highlight video to how the race played out in 4 mins-
Thankyou to all my beautiful family, friends, second family & super support network who watched the Hamburg WTS live online at ITU live, It always brings a huge smile to my face knowing everyone back home is right there with me watching!!
Post race it was all about recovery, enjoying a Sunday aerobic run & ride through the German Countryside with Nat, only getting slightly lost…
Making it back in time to get out & line the streets to cheer on the SUPER EXCITING mixed team World Relay championship! With Ash, Charlotte, Matt Hauser & Jake Birtwhistle lining up for the event, run as Girl, boy, girl, boy. Each member racing a mini triathlon before tagging their team mate! Recently added into the 2020 Tokyo Olympic event schedule! Watch out World we have 3 triathlon events in the program now YAHOO! Exciting stuff for the sports future!
The guys had me on my toes yelling and cheering from start to finish, it was brilliant to watch right there live amongst it!! Australia ultimately taking the title with Jake’s killer run kick to finish the last leg! Boom! Here's a great replay video, I think it will do the event the justice it deserves!
Take the time to watch a moment in history as Australia wins the World Mixed Relay Championships!!! Beer showers for the Aussies & an awesome team dinner that night to celebrate the new World Champions!
A few days back in Basque Country Vitoria Gasteiz with some recovery work before getting back into the normal training week! No settling in though as I was back to Germany on Friday! Flying from Bilbao to Dusseldorf before making the drive to Munster, a wonderful city I was happy to find out! Plenty of travel but I always really enjoy travelling to Germany, I haven't been to a city I haven't loved, the classic Olden European architecture, cathedrals, variety of cuisine, country roads close by, great shops & the people are always very welcoming!
Only downside is I'm yet to acquire a taste for beer….
I raced for Team Lemgo Komet last year for the first time & loved it! There was no way I wasn't coming back to be apart of the team/ Lemgo family in 2017! The Bundesliga Grand Prix German Triathlon racing is awesome! The events are always so well organised, put on in spectacular locations in city centers & the crowds never disappoint! Munster Bundesliga was no different!
With a swim in the city harbour, lined by the town sitting on the waters edge! It was a warm mid 20’s so non wetsuit swim & great warm weather for racing!! Our Team for this event featured; Sian Rainsley, Anel Radford, Lena Meiser, & myself.
Our team had a terrific swim, exiting the water in front & I had Lena & Sian with me to really push the pace here early & try to get away.
I was out there to ride hard in practice for races coming up so I did just that and managed to break away solo on the bike, getting away from the chasing packs & staying out in front until about the half way point on the bike where by the chasers had caught and I joined the large front pack!
Rolling through turns for the remainder of the bike, it was down to the run! Nailing a good second transition I was off onto the run in the lead & again wanted to go out & keep the pressure on, see what I had for run legs after the last week. I was very pleased by how strong I ran out there over the 5x 1km laps & again took confidence from this moving forward.
Only passed by the champion Andrea Hewitt & later by Rachel Klamer, finishing closely behind to claims 3rd on the day among some great athletes!!
Earning myself a beer & some gorgeous flowers. Even better was that our team had earned 2nd overall for the day!! A fabulous result! More beer podiums- what a great day in the office!
Here's a great short recap video of the Munster Bundesliga event giving you a great insight-
Heading home early Monday morning after the race to fly back to Bilbao & onto Vitoria. Straight into Monday training- a swim, bike & run session on the cards. All aerobic & shaking out the body post race. A long day but essential to then be up to hitting the quality & intensity work that was coming over the next 3 days!!! Warm days & some later sessions, not starting the last session of the day until 5.30pm on some days!
One key message we've been working on is nutrition in quality sessions! It's a message that everyone needs to hear, in short (and everyday language) by ensuring your body is getting adequate carbohydrate intake during key threshold and intensity workouts you are giving yourself an extra few percent % in the tank to work that bit harder & faster in training & on race day your body will have the adaptations, having worked & trained before at that “harder” gear than what it's capable of if you don't give your body the energy fuel source it's needing!
This principle is equally as important to refuel with a good balance of carbohydrates & protein after these key quality & intensity sessions! You have a 15 minute fueling window at the end of a quality workout (not at the end of your cool down, that's already eating into the window) to refuel your body with the recovery fuel & energy it needs to “top up the tank” these carbohydrates and protein will endure your body is in the best state to back up for the next session!! For example for me on a Tuesday & Thursday we swim hard quality sessions of 90 mins in the pool from 10.30-12pm. We refuel in the window appropriate, head back for lunch, a good rest & then step up at 4pm both days for another 2-3 hours of intensity/ quality work on the bike!
For me my go to fuel- I always have 1 x bottle of water & then 2x NUUN yum flavoured electrolyte tablets mixed in with 600ml of water in another Bottle to sip on during the session. And in the fuelling window- top 3 go to snacks are; banana, Greek yoghurt and a Carmens protein museli bar.
So with a week to go until the next big “Dance” in Montreal Canada its Taper time *(insert dancing red dress emoji & party celebration popper haha)*
I don't know an athlete who doesn't love the satisfaction of when the hard works been laid down & now it's time to ease up & let the body start to freshen up for race day! It's satisfying & you have to trust you've put in the work needed to earn the benefits on race day!
I was lucky to have the Awesome words “Day Off” in my program this last Sunday, & with me being me I took that with 2 hands & planned a trip to the Beach with the coach Mick (still wondering if this was all a trick & he was teasing me)
Sunday morning we headed in the Van for a fun day in San Sebastián, you beauty!! About 45 mins driving from Vitoria. Making the most of being back in the ocean!! I look the chance to swim around the island for a cruisey 2km ocean swim, before enjoying some time to read on the beach. Cruising down to the old town for a seafood lunch by the water & of course ending the fun day with an ice cream in hand & one last dip in the ocean! Thanks Coach! Perfect day off!
Next up- World Triathlon Series Montreal in Canada this coming Saturday the 6/8. With the women racing at 1.30pm local time & the men the following day on Sunday! My first Olympic Distance WTS race!! I'm really looking forward to taking on the challenge & seeing what I can bring!! It's the best in the World fighting it out so I'm planning on bringing nothing less than my A Game!
The race is a 1500m swim, 40km cycle & 10km run going through the old town of Montreal which I'm told very much reflects a European style architecture, lying in the French state of Quebec in Canada. Stay tuned for updates on my FB athlete page & Instagram @emmajeffcoat in the lead up to this one!!
As you can see this month has been full of hard work! Lucky I love what I do & certainly appreciate how lucky I am to be chasing my triathlon dreams every day!
So on that note I’ll end with some motivation which I really liked- Borrowing a quote from head Wollongong Wizard coach- JT which he said to us this week in the middle of a tough session, “Now go out and enjoy the process of being the best athletes you can be!!”
If the Hard work was easy, everyone would do it!!
I Hope you've enjoyed this months update on what I've been up to! As always Thankyou for the endless support & the long read…. haha.
Now go get smashing goals & chasing dreams, there's not too many more satisfying feelings!!