For the past seven years (bar 2014), when it comes to this time of year I have been jetting off to the other side of the world to train and race while residing in the Basque Country in Spain. Honestly, I am surprisingly happy to be staying in Australia for the winter this year although in saying this, I have relocated up north to Queensland, a much warmer state and have set myself some new goals with a new coach and group to train with. While, I feel like my social media accounts do a pretty good job of allowing anyone who for whatever reason have an interest in my life to keep up to date, I will officially explain the back story to how this all came about.
Let's go back to Christmas Day 2018. I had spent December working as a PT with Savvy Fitness in Wollongong, trying to build some sort of fitness back but also allowing plenty of time to socialise (because the festive season! ;) ). Three days before Christmas I started to get some stomach pain which eventually turned into a hospital visit Christmas night and my appendix being removed. This left the first half of January as a complete ride off which quite honestly I really enjoyed. I don't think I have had 3 weeks completely out of the water since I was about 10 and this forced rest gave me a lot of time to think...
I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue with triathlon and I spent a lot of time trying to decide whether I was satisfied with what I have done in the sport or if I believed I could do more. Amidst all this decision making, I milked my appendix debacle quite hard and convinced my parents to let me third wheel their holiday to the Tour Down Under cycling event in Adelaide in mid January. This turned out to be one of the best weeks away I have had in a long time. I had a chance to cycle the Adelaide hills with my parents and their crew, my brother who was also down there with a group of his cycling mates from Sydney while catching up with some old friends and making some new ones. If you love to cycle, I would highly recommend ticking TDU off the list!
Come February, I still hadn't quite made a decision about what I wanted to do but I had been speaking to some close friends and there were suggestions made of making a change to a training environment away from Wollongong. I spoke to a few coaches, including Craig Walton who is the coach of the Bond University Triathlon program on the Gold Coast. Following our conversation I made the decision to pack my car and make the move (I also think deep down I have always wanted to be Queenslander).
Since I started triathlon in 2012, I have only really had one group environment which was a great fit for me for that period in time but this left me with no idea about what to expect when I turned up to the lake at 6am on my first morning to do a swim/run session. I went from being someone in a squad who could give advice to new athletes to being the one trying to work everything out while not doing anything wrong/weird.
Two months later and I couldn't be happier with my decision. I came to Craig with an open mind and I am feeling the strongest I have felt in a long time and I have fallen back in love with challenging myself every single day and trying to be a better athlete. Which brings me back to why I am not going to Europe this year.
I have a few pretty clear and cut goals for 2019, all of which I can do while staying based in Aus;
1. Consistent training (very cliche) but doing the same sh*t day in and day out is what will make you the best athlete you can be.
2. Become a strong swim/bike athlete and allowing the run to fall into place naturally.
3. Be confident.
Thank you to Craig and the whole squad for being so welcoming and a great group to work with. Also all my Gold Coast families who have had me for dinner/Easter Egg Hunts/family cafe excursions, and my flatmates; Emma, Chris and Archie the Chocolate Lab who are so easy to live with.
While I miss all my Wollongong crew, I'm in a really great place at the moment and I am looking forward to what will happen next!
Keep following to find out when I decide my first race!