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Jon

Time for reflection

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With no races in the near future you might find yourself reflecting on your approach to the sport.  My racing in the three disciplines concluded in 2016 when I had to stop running. However, when I reflect over my 33 years in the sport there is one strategy I adopted for my final race that I feel very pleased about, even now.

Everyone is familiar with the feeling of apprehension that grips you as the minutes to the race start count down.  With so many vital parts in your checklist you constantly fear that you have missed something.  The excitement of the sheer number of people also preparing for their race along with you raises your nervous tension which, in turn, makes you wonder whether you need to go to the toilet again.

After a lifetime of racing I faced one of my most important events determined to get things as enjoyable as possible.  It was the 70.3 world championship at Mooloolaba - in my own backyard!  I had had a long campaign to qualify because some years before I realised I had to win my AG in one of the qualifying events to be on the start line.  I achieved this in my third 70.3 qualifying event at Ballarat.

I know you should never do something on race day for the first time and a world championship is certainly not the time to experiment.  However, all the pieces of the challenge were there for me to do something different.  I decided I would have all my race equipment in place on the day before and turn up just in time to race. Let me explain.

With such a high profile race, all of your stuff for T1 and T2 was already in bags hanging where you pass by.  With every AG having their own wave start there was always going to be a long wait between transition closing and race start.  I just had to have my bike ready to go on the previous day without any additional fiddling on race morning.  So I had attached my filled bidons and shoes on my bike the previous afternoon and trusted my tyres would be ready to rumble without an early morning check. 

When the elites started I was at home watching it on TV.  When I thought I should leave home in time for my wave, I drove off to Mooloolaba, found a park and headed to the race start on the beach in front on the clubhouse.  I arrived just in time to put my wetsuit on, join my AG as it assembled on the beach, then swim out to the starting buoys about 150m from the shore.  i would have waited there only about 30 seconds when the hooter went and we were off.  The sun had just risen to a cloudless morning, the water was calm, crystal clear and a large white cruise liner had just parked itself out to sea on the edge of the swim course. It made for a stadium-like atmosphere.

So my pre-race strategy paid off and I began my final race the most relaxed I have ever been.  What a way to finish my triathlon career and I headed towards the only thing left for me - aquabike.

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Thats awesome Jon. How did this strategy play out on the day? Did calm mean fast?

 

Cheers

NSF

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On 04/05/2020 at 8:55 AM, Jon said:

 The sun had just risen to a cloudless morning, the water was calm, crystal clear and a large white cruise liner had just parked itself out to sea on the edge of the swim course. It made for a stadium-like atmosphere.

Yep. Times have definitely changed.

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17 hours ago, Notsofast said:

Thats awesome Jon. How did this strategy play out on the day? Did calm mean fast?

 

Cheers

NSF

Acceptable result.  I think I was just happy to be there and to enjoy the experience. 14th out of about 50 starters in my AG from memory.

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My final 'proper' race was also my best. 

HoW 2012.  AP had smack-talked the be-Jesus out of me on here, but my run (always my best leg) got me home a few minutes ahead of him & an hour faster than my first attempt at the race several years previously in 4:33.  Still only got me about 10th in the 45-49AG.

2 months later, I was crippled for the next 5 yrs.

Glad to say I can now run a little, but only enough to do sprint races.  Now the only time I run non-stop is in a race, all training is done as walk-run now to be on the safe side as I never want to go near another 'knee specialist' as long as I live.

 

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I'm pretty happy with the way things have turned in the last couple of years but getting there was 'problematic' 🤣

6 spine operations, a smashed collar, 5 broken ribs, a punctured lung and fractured hip later, I'm at a place where if I don't do another LD tri, I'm ok with it.  I've now finished, what is regarded as one of the tougher IM courses twice, once in horrendous weather and my second finish was 76 mins quicker than the previous year.

I've 'bagged' all the big climbs in Europe that I'm interested in with the exception of Stelvio.

I've gotten my running to a stage where anything over 43.30 mins for 10km is sub par and hit my HM goal of sub 1.40 last year.  I decided to dedicate a year to turning my hand to ultra trail running and getting enough points to qualify for UTMB-CCC, which I did.

For me, the trail running and adoption of XC riding has been a revelation. The people are chilled, the races are cool, there is a great sense of that 'thing' that big ticket tri  sometimes lost along the way. (although, UTMB seems to headed straight down the WTC route).

Now I seemed to have settled into a routine of early season road racing for running, then ultra trail with XC riding and events thrown in. I think I still care where I come in running races but I love the feeling of a hard, long ultra and the satisfaction and determination of 'just beating the damn cutoff' and helping others do the same. Sharing food, helping people who are struggling and being helped yourself has been the thing I love most.

I love the connection between coastal ultras and the sea and surfing. I choose to do them because they are hard and I'm not very good at them yet.

When I reflect on tri, I have great memories and the foundation it gave me for inner strength and endurance has been priceless. I might circle back to tri, I might not. I'd like to do some bike packing. Either way, I'm in a good place.

 

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Racing is going to be different. Enjoying the process has always been the key to the outcome, now more than ever we really have to enjoy the process. The rise of gravel, ultra runs, more and more sportifes was changing the dynamic away from WTC and the like, which still had their base.

I can see gravel, ultra and sportif with restrictions being viable as we unlock the world. I'm still at the stage where I can go okay, run a sub 40 10 K, do 300 plus watts for an hour and make myself swim enough to get okay tri results.

This week when going through buying a bike I gave the guy my specs, my needs and wanted a Madone, looks like I'm getting a Roubaix. I never liked crits anyway but did them and if Tom Boonen can win on one (yes his is different). I'll be fine.

Would love to do another IM and go low ten, but its the process and experience, park runs, strava and just doing it because I like it.

Australia has a real chance of being able to run a viable Tri summer season so it will be interesting to see what happens.

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