Wednesday, 24 May 2017

MAY Madness- The real world gig!



Hey guys! 

A busy month it's been this May! A little different to the usual #athletelife of swim, bike, run, gym, eat & sleep. This month it was more like morning Triathlete, evening nurse & coffee addict! 



I'm in the last stages of my Bachelor of Nursing Degree, advanced studies & I am super determined to finish this Degree & get working casually in the hospital as a Registered Nurse, when I can work it in around training blocks, racing & travel. And it will be wonderful to start getting paid for our work because as students in my degree at the University of Sydney we do 1000 hours of clinical placement in different hospital settings to be able to be accredited at the end of the degree. All hours unpaid full time work, in blocks of 2-4 weeks at a time. My last block has been in the Acute Neurosurgical ward at Royal North shore, all things to do with the brain & head! As you can imagine, some pretty impressive scares & stories, meeting plenty of inspirational individuals along the way! 

People always ask me what area of nursing I want to work in, for me, it's tricky as your meant to complete a full time new graduate year working in the hospital where you will move around on a few ward rotations or settings to get a feel for where you may want to apply to permanently work in your second year out of university, for me this isn't possible as I can't commit to full time work, as triathlon takes preference. So I will likely work as a permanent part time staff member sent where staff are needed (which is everywhere for nurses haha) on the days I nominate to work!
Long story short, in the future I would love to get into high dependency care, like the intensive care unit or the emergency scene, maybe considering paramedics! I love the challenge of thinking on your feet, the fast pace & the acute stages of care! 

On my placement I had the enormous pleasure to sit down with the incredible Lauren Parker, a true fighter and a testament to the mental will power of us triathletes! Lauren is a Newcastle girl & an impressive Professional long course Aussie Triathlete. Lauren had an accident 2 weeks out from Ironman OZ in Port Macquarie where she was in the last 2 mins of a 15 minute effort, a normal hard training ride on a road her group used to ride almost daily when both her tyres popped and Lauren hit the guard rail. Sustaining a list of injuries unimaginable to most but which Lauren will live and battle for the rest of her life! Including paraplegia from the belly button down, with no sensation of movement, only pain! A cruel and unjust reality for such a gorgeous human, Lauren, and her family, but she is tough as nails & has some serious resilience everyone can learn from!!


Working hard in rehab and getting out and about outside the hospital now. Lauren has a fundraiser page to help with the medical costs and the growing financial burden, and any small change helps. You can find out more information and how to donate on the link here! 


Now I know this is meant to be a blog about sport, so I'll pick up where I left off in April. I finished my last update at the Hong Kong International Qantas lounge on my way home from the World Triathlon Chengdu World Cup in China! Getting in some quality food before the night flight & avoiding that plane food…


Chengdu being a super sprint racing weekend was an exciting format of racing! Backing up over 2 days with some tactics in play to get into the Final of 30 elite Women and Men, hoping to have conserved as much energy as possible on the Saturday over the sprint distance before the super-fast Sunday finale of racing! 


This is exactly how my semi-final sprint event played out! I was in Semi 1, ranked as number 2, with some super fish British ladies of Lucy Hall, Jess Learmont, Sophie Coldwell and Kirsten Kasper from the USA. Us 5 girls got away early in the swim and established a gap on the chasing girls! Heading out onto the bike we worked relatively hard for the first lap of 3 on the 20km course and then backed it off when we had established a lead of over 90 seconds. 

We kept it tempo and communicated between us, riding smart and tidy! It was a nice change for racing & not something to get used to that's for sure! Getting off the bike with a dominant lead the group of us enjoyed a Saturday "stroll" run and were happily chatting and having a laugh between us as we brought it home over the 5km and keeping things very tempo paced to save those legs best we could for Sunday's final!

 I took a sneaky win if you could call it that in this tactical and friendly semi-final. But at this level, a win’s a win!


Heading into the final ranked number 2 again- winner winner, as I didn't have to change my race tattoos or bike stickers for the second day of racing! There was no friendly chat in the final that's for sure, "Ain't nobody got time for that Willis!!" Sunday's super sprint was as it sounds - fast!! Coming in under 30 mins for the 400m swim, 10km ride and 2.5km run. 
Again, the pace was on from the gun for the swim to establish any sort of lead we could up front out of the water- rewarded with some time & space onto the bike and the potential for a smaller group to get away! 

Getting out of the swim behind Jess Learmont leading, I had a strong transition to get out onto the ride in front. Putting my head down and powering away up the road, on the modified course of yesterday's semi-final with 3 shorter and more technical 3.3km loops. We had a lead pack of around 10 women with the big names all there of Stanford, Hall, Learmonth, Kasper, Coldwell, & Lindermann. 

The pack was less organised today & there were athletes racing with different plans of attack for their own race, some wanting to work on the bike, others looking to tuck in, hide & pounce on the run. Frustrating at times, but I was pleased to have the help of Sophie Coldwell up front to keep the pace up. On the last lap it looked like the chase pack would catch, an attach and surge left the chasers just off the back of our pack coming into T2 with the majority of the 30 women field all there for the run race! 

A 2.5km all out "sprint" to the tape! Non stamped her authority early and took a dominate lead over the field! My coach Mick had a chuckle telling me about the look on my face as we all headed out a few 100m into the run, it was a look of "ohhh shit this is going to hurt" and I was right. I need to work on my poker face haha. 


Pushing on that red line for the whole race meant everyone was stinging and it was a battle for who had the critical speed to bring it home. I was really pleased with how I pulled it together to run a strong race home off the back of no specific run training for this style of event. For where I'm at, I was proud of how I executed on process, & skills to give myself the best opportunity throughout that final race to perform!! Running home in 7th position, and my third Top 10 World Cup result, which I'm proud of!! 

Congratulations to the leading ladies who were super strong throughout the weekend- Non on top of the podium (GBR) Linderman in 2nd from German & Kasper 3rd from USA. An awesome weekend of racing and I really loved the short, sharp and furious style of triathlon with the super sprint Format and having to tactically, physically & mentally back up over 2 days!! Bringing to my attention how crucial it is to nail all those 1%er's in your skills out on course because they all add up to valuable seconds and that's the difference between  a win, podium or top 10 for this style of racing! 


Special shout out to Matt Hauser who took out the Elite men event in a super kick on the run, taking the tape & popping bottles in his first World Cup event! Wow! 


Up next, time to finish this Nursing placement into June, which will be my last month in Australia on this side of the world! Time to chase the sun, Yahoo!

Stay tuned for some quality training, & different types of racing that Sydney offers in winter as I get ready to join the Aussies again over in Vitoria Gasteiz, Basque Country! 

Thanks for the time to read legends!


Emma x 







Monday, 8 May 2017

APRIL – My first big dance on the blue carpet!



Hey team,

April, another month building blocks stacked, more tools in the box, a notch in the belt! Coaching analogies aside it was a great quality month of training & some SUPER Racing!!



After selection by the Triathlon Australia Elite Selection Committee last month I was head down, butt up to start the month, getting ready to really “Race” my first World Triathlon Series Event- my first BIG DANCE, a run down the blue carpet with the world’s best! I couldn’t wait to rip in!


I was thrilled to have the oppourtunity to step it up & race proudly apart of the Triathlon Australia Elite Team racing my first WTS on home soil up on the Gold Coast! A race within a race as it doubled as the Comm Games Test Event & the first of two Australian Commonwealth Games Automatic selection events, the second being in the Hamburg World Series Event in mid July. The first Australian across the line in the top 10 would earn the Automatic selection spot on the Team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in a years’ time over the same course! Super exciting hey!


We arrived up on the Gold Coast with plenty of time to settle in, with some big Triathlon Australia Elite team events to welcome in the “1 year to go” Commonwealth Games celebrations! Arguable the most exciting for all was the revelation of the new Triathlon Australia Elite Team Trisuits and Uniforms designed especially by Scody. These new uniforms are pretty remarkable, showcasing featuring Australia’s rich & dominant history within the sport! Featuring the names of all of our former World Champions, Commonwealth medalists and Olympic Medalists! What a way to inspire us as athletes! Racing with such pride and history- It certainly is my goal to earn my name onto that suit! Well done Triathlon Australia and Scody for our terrific new uniforms!

My preparations in the lead up to the WTS were nothing different, Mick & I working to keep it simple and not get ahead of ourselves! I was feeling comfortable about my race process objectives I wanted to nail & ready to roll come Saturday Race Day!



I was lucky enough to have the best support around me up at the race, with my beautiful Mum and best mates Madi & Tanya flying up to be there to support me, watch, cheer, celebrate & double check my head stays screwed on straight haha. I also had Mick’s family there for the race with his 3 young nephews making the best green & gold “Go Emma” posters I’ve ever seen! Plus so much love & support back home form everyone watching live! And not to mention the whole Triathlon Australia Elite Team of Staff there to help with everything us athletes needed! SO thankyou!





Racing kicked off at Southport for the Elite Women at 2.06pm. The Gold Coast produced some great racing weather- sunshine & blue skies, crazy to think that Tropical cyclone Debbie had only ripped through the same area a week prior! I was starting as number 23 and was bouncing around pre race ready to rock and roll, who doesn’t love those pre race nerves… Its what we live for after all!


 
Running down to the line I was pumped to rip in & step it up, time to see where I sit today among the Worlds Best! I got off to a clear start and was fortunate to have some quick swimmers around me, leading us out into clear water and space! Sitting happily in third avoiding the chaos around those swim buoys as we turned for home into the choppy water. Exiting the water towards the pointy end of the field, I could already hear my friends and mum screaming yahoo!


Getting out onto the bike where the chasing field was quick to work there way onto us 4 up front! Numbers quickly doubles & then doubles again! Before long the chasing 2 packs had used the incentives and worked hard to catch us up front and by the middle of the 20km 4 lap cycle leg there were about 35 of us Elite Women sitting together! Now a jostling game & challenge to avoid the 2 wheeled tricks some athletes pull out on course haha. A little disorganized at times with no one really willing to put down the hard work once packs came together so it was a race of sticking in!
I was pleased with how I rode out there on course, but as always there is plenty to learn from & improve at! But as I got off the bike up front into transition I was ready to battle it out on the run!





 It was awesome, I loved every minute of that run, I stuck & felt great out there! A real boost as I pushed myself to bring it home strong, even coming out on top sprinting down the blue carpet!! It could certainly look prettier but on that day it did the job, I got my big dance!! Thrilled to cross the line in 11th after a closely contested race!



A giant bear hug & kiss from mum across barrier, cheers and celebrations with my friends & some great feedback from coach Mick! And of course, a cheeky thumbs up to the TV Camera! Safe to say I was really stoked with myself in my execution of my first World Triathlon Series Race, the first of many years of Top level international racing to come I hope!



A huge Congratulations to Ash Gentle, who crossed the line in 2nd behind the inspiring Andrea Hewitt to take a well fought Automatic Selection Spot on the 2018 Commonwealth Games team!! And in the men’s Jake Birtwhistle gained the male Automatic Selection spot on the team finishing in 5th just behind the World’s Best men! Very happy for both of my fellow athletes!

Heading home one very happy athlete!! I unfortunately missed the Triathlon Australia Awards night on that Sunday but had a Monday Morning final Uni Exam to return for, the joys..


Finishing off my mid semester exams I was lucky enough to have my family time in a perfect few days getaway to our second home up at Sugarloaf Lighthouse in Seal Rocks! One of my most favourite places in the world & I love being able to head up here, pretty hidden away from everything for some quality family time, sun, surf, water, relaxation & adventures!



Enjoying a great Easter break & plenty of chocolate… my favourite! Not that I need an excuse, but Easter gives no judgement when having eggs for breakfast, Cadbury eggs! Haha.




Finishing off the month settled back into some quality miles & training, with Mick and I drawing from Gold Coast to work on plenty of areas of improvement!!



Next up was Chengdu World Cup in China. After a lengthy 3 hour wait at the Chinese Consulate I got my Visa and headed over! I’d never been to China before & was excited to see what was in store here! Safe to say the phrase “Only in China” became common place & it was certainly an interesting week here before some awesome 2 day racing!



The racing kicked off on Saturday in a very unique format where we competed in a Sprint event on Saturday in 2 heats over 750m/20km/5km racing to finish in the top end of the field to earn a spot on the start line for the “A” Final on Sunday. Where we then raced over the super sprint distance- 400m/10km/2.5km. It was some awesome racing, a super exciting format, FUN & QUICK! But more on Chengdu World Cup in next month’s update!



 I’m currently halfway through a movie, “Hidden Figures” on an overnight flight on route to Sydney from Hong Kong (after leaving Chengdu). Enjoying the peace & down time now because when I land its straight to University for my final ever practical exam! Let’s hope I won’t have to use the jet lag excuse & get the green light, one step closer in the final stage of earning my Bachelor of Nursing! The joys, No rest for the wicked!

Thanks for all the support legends!

Em 😊

X

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

March Blog Update- A month to remember!




Hey A-Team,


WOW, March 2017, what a month it’s been! My best month as professional Triathlete ever, with some awesome racing experience, big lessons learnt & a leap in the right direction. Time to reflect..


What did I say last update, exciting things were on the cards for this month & I didn’t disappoint myself as March kicked off on a flying high as I got the news from the Triathlon Australia Elite Selection Committee that I had been selected to Compete in my first WTS Event on the Gold Coast on April 8th. The WTS or World Triathlon Series is the pinnacle of racing in our sport, the best of the best triathletes in the ITU World Rankings putting it all on the line, it doesn’t get any better! Its fast, its furious, & it is time to get amongst it because the bar just raised!


The WTS consists of generally 9 races across the globe, starting in March in Abu Dhabi before heading through the season to; Gold Coast, Yokohama, Leeds, Hamburg, Edmonton, Montreal & Stockholm, finishing with the Grand Final & World Championships in Rotterdam.

I am so thrilled to have earnt my oppourtunity to race at the top, since first starting in Triathlon back 4 years ago, it has always been high on my list of dream goals to race as a professional athlete on the World Series. It’s safe to say I can’t wait & I’ll be out there to give my best swim, bike & run, but I’ll have a little smile on my face as I enjoy soaking up the first WTS race of my dreams!

This WTS race on the Gold Coast also doubles as the first of two automatic qualifying races for us Australians to earn our spot on the Commonwealth Games team for 2018, which will be a 6 person male & female team, (3 & 3) racing at home on this same course over the sprint distance (750m/20km/5km) come April next year. I am so thrilled to be given the oppourtunity among the other super strong female & male athletes lining up to have their shot at earning a spot to represent their country in the Green & Gold at a major games!!


This time around I’ll be lucky enough to have my Mum & some of my closest friends up on the Gold Coast to support & enjoy this experience with me! Without the amazing support of my close family & friends I have around me I certainly wouldn’t have got to this point as “sane” as I am now so I’m thrilled that they can be there to watch & cheer me through the next step!

Mick & I have been working hard at planning through March to have the best lead up into the Gold Coast race possible, through a month of hard training & racing in March I’m confident in the work I’ve done to this point as we head into April!


But enough about that, can’t get too ahead of yourself, time to reflect on March!

I had 2 big target events this month; Mooloolaba World Cup & Devonport Olympic Oceania & Australian Elite Championships. Both events doubling as Automatic Selection events for the Australian U/23 World Championship team in Rotterdam in September this year. Mooloolaba World Cup was first up on the Sunshine Coast of QLD, providing just that- warmth & sunshine!

This was my 4th trip up to Mooloolaba, and only last year this event was my first World Cup race & it was really exciting to be going back as a better athlete & to tackle the Olympic distance course up there.

Arriving a few days early I had time to settle into some prep work & get familiar with the course. Feeling excited come race day & ready to rumble, I was confident in the last 2 months work behind me coming back into this domestic season & I just wanted to relish this confidence, focus on my processes & let the rest take care of itself.


Us females kicked off in a relatively small field of under 20 Elite females, at 11.30am. A 1500m surf ocean swim, navigating some swell & waves on the bank, a 8 lap 40km ride up & over Alexandra Headland twice per lap, and then a hilly 10km run to top it off, through the crowd packed promenade of Mooloolaba and up over that hill, only 4 times this time around..


It was certainly hot out on course from the start with the water temp sitting at about 27 degrees. Coming from a strong surf life saving background I used these surf skills to my advantage to get an early lead & hold this exiting the water with a small group of girls just behind on my tail!

Treated to an uphill soft sand run into transition before quickly getting up & away on the bike! Being a smaller field you have less depth & so often see bigger splits & divide between packs that wouldn’t usually emerge. Our front pack of 6 athletes worked hard over the 40km to roll turns & maintain our lead over the 5 hard working girls of the chasing pack, just extending this lead in the last few laps out to around 50 secs getting off the bike & onto the run.



Heading out on the run I felt great early..  a mixture of excitement, lack of experience & my nature meant I went out off the front on the run early & stuck here…. I was thrilled to be leading my 4th world cup… up until around the half way point at 5km when I didn’t stick so well as Emma Jackson was the first athlete to came past & eventually take the World Cup Win! Until this 5km hurdle mark I was feeling comfortable & relatively fresh on the legs, but this was a different story 4km later as I headed into the back end of this 10km.

Having burnt a few too many matches early I started to fatigue & it became a game of holding onto form. On the third lap Ash Gentle came past me having run up from the chasing pack & with one lap to go I was sitting in third but that last 2.5km really stung. I so wanted to hang on for my first World Cup podium & I will openly admit I am disappointed in my 4th place finish here in Mooloolaba having lost my spot on an all Aussie podium in the last 1km downhill stretch as Rivas from Mexico came up to take over & finish in bronze behind Emma & Ash Gentle. Finishing I was disappointed with the back end of my run but I soon looked to the positives gained in this race, with many lessons to take forward into future racing at this level over a standard distance.


After a quick call to Mick & my Mum & best friend Mads I accepted that 4th hurts but was proud of my efforts & happy that I backed myself out there, taking away my best World Cup finish & result to date. I also earnt myself the first of 2 Automatic team selection positions on the Australian team for World Champs, Okay yep… it was a pretty great day out! But us athletes are always critical of ourselves & that’s what makes us always strive to be better!


Heading home from Mooloolaba early the next morning with an epic circle trisuit tan on my back as a reminder haha. It was time to get home & start my recovery so I could be in the best possible shape to head down to Devonport Tasmania in a few days time looking to back up with another performance here.

We Headed down to Devonport Tasmania on Thursday via Melbourne and then on a little Qantas link plane. It's always the luck of the draw with these little planes whether your bike will arrive at the other end …. unfortunately for me my bike was left behind in Melbourne! Fortunately this meant I was treated to a sunset ride when it finally arrived.


Travelling down to Tasmania with Mick and the High-Performance Tri & NSW U/23 squad. Last minute my Mum Supa decided to book a ticket down to Tassie to watch me race and get out of the house, having come so far following a hip and the replacement only two months ago! I was so thrilled to have Mum come along for the weekend with some quality mother-daughter time! The joys of tapering, offers us athletes a lot more time to sit & relax & ... eat. 


Friday was a day to get familiar with the course, as well as briefing and athlete registration at Devonport Surf club! If you ever find yourself down there make sure you go to the cafe below – “Adrift” it serves some of the yummiest food and I think we found ourselves becoming quite the regulars over that three days! Best dish on the menu had to be the fresh calamari & slaw + mayo tacos! Mum’s drink of choice, a corona in the sun didn't look too bad either ... not that I can comment #AthleteLife! Straight out of a “From where you’d rather be” Corona commercial!

The body was feeling good post Mooloolaba and I was ready to roll the next afternoon for the Oceania and Australian Elite and Under 23 Olympic distance championships! 

After watching the spirit of Tasmania wondering into Devonport race day morning, I was up early for some activation work and food!  Legs up and Netflix on before it was time to go down to race venue! The wind had come up and it was quite a different picture than the day previous with so much chop Devonport almost had a decent size wave on! 

Us Elite women kicked off at 1pm making our way around the rough swim course over the 1500 m! Taking on some extra fluid in the form of salt water I was able to again make the most of my surf swim background using the runners and chop to ride into shore with close to a 50 second lead over the rest of the girls! 




Heading out onto the windy 40 km bike leg knowing that I was going to have at least a few Hill reps solo. I tucked in and tried to settle into a solid rhythm! Tapping away it was looking  like Gillian Backhouse, fellow Aussie Elite & last year’s winner, might catch at about the 20km mark but I managed to hold my ground and increase my lead up to about 1:20mins by the end of the bike leg heading out onto the 10 km run!
I am a big fan of the North Street Hill, I might not say that during the race but I love how this course offers a challenging bike leg rather than the all-too-familiar out and back flat and simple option! I hope to see the hill remain as I return back down to Devonport racing in future years to come!

 Heading out onto the run I wasn't sure how my legs would feel after a tough solo 40 km ride and backing up from last weekend but I got myself settled into a comfortable rhythm and tapped away! Thankfully I was feeling pretty good on course and was able to comfortably hold my lead over the rest of the field to the finish line, where it was my chance to soak it all up!

Grabbing the tape & having that priceless post race hug and kiss off my beautiful mum who is waiting just across the line! A few tears shed and I was stoked to be able to claim my first Australian & Oceania Elite title & defend my U/23 title from 2016.


Also gaining the 2nd Automatic team selection position for World Champs in Rotterdam. Another terrific day in the office with smiles all round and this weekend I was able to step up on that podium and pop some bottles! Yahoo! There's something about being able to spray champagne on your good friends & competitors that just brings you pure joy and laughter!!


Soak it up I say you've got to enjoy the little wins along the way!! My first Elite Oceania & National Championship title- I never would have dreamed I would achieve this goal 3 years on from when I was first down here in Devonport as an age grouper Athlete trying to get my professional license to race against “those elites!”



I headed down the following morning to Hobart to stay with my friend Emily who had recently moved away from Sydney to complete her Masters Degree the little genius! Enjoying a day off and a nice stroll around the harbour side of Hobart I headed back to Sydney mentally refreshed and a little tired physically! 


A week ahead of settling back into Uni work as I progress through my final year of nursing studies, along with a relatively easy week of training as I let the body recover well before it's time to start sharpening up ready for Gold Coast early next month!




I was treated to a brilliant surprise by my amazing sponsors at Avanti Bikes and Avantiplus Narrabeen who surprised me with a brand new custom 2017 Avanti Corsa DR with Swift full carbon wheels and the new Duraace 9100. I'm honestly in love with my flash new two wheeled child! Like a little kid in a candy store I just can't wait to get on and rip into this speedy new bike after Gold Coast & into the next block of work ahead!! I can't thank the team at Avanti in Narrabeen who have supported me throughout the last few years and will continue to make sure I have the best bike & all the top gear for years to come!!



Not to mention I love the new colour scheme with a little bit of white on the top tube and more of a baby blue frame then sky blue, with that pinch of orange haha, you know it's just the little things guys!

I'm excited to announce to that I have partnered with a new sponsor moving forward, A3 performance! The guys at A3 Performance make sure I'm fully kitted out in the pool with the best range of goggles to choose from depending on whether I'm in the pool, surf, racing, training or in the sun or indoors- it's the little things day to day that make a difference for us as athletes in terms of comfort and getting the most out of yourself. My favourite goggles are the Fuse & Avenger Goggles! A3 Performance also have all the latest research & development in great new swim gear on the market, maximising my swim training benefits in the pool!! Do yourself a favour-  Checkout the guys online at a3performance.com


Now for March, that’s a wrap!

Thanks for the support & taking the time to read gang!


For any enquires please fill free to contact my manager by email;

erin@bemanagement.com.au

Bring on an exciting April aheah!!

Em x