Husky Long course was my first race to kick off 2017. I thought this would be a great race to practice and prepare myself for IM OZ in May. Since i had done it 2 years earlier and loved the location and course, i had some indication of what to expect but also some motivation to improve on my previous result.
Although going into this race i had mixed emotions. I recently just got a new TT bike, so i was excited to compete in my first race on a much quicker and smooth functioning bike. However, my preparation going into Husky was not ideal and somewhat frustrating to the point i considered numerous times of pulling the pin, had it not been for my coach telling me to just give it your best.
Since late november, post Western Sydney 70.3 i have had a painful hip which limited my running training. With almost 6 weeks off running, the pain still remained inconsistent, which made it hard to pinpoint what was causing the pain. With the new bike providing a different position of riding i have found it has slowly improved and the pain is no longer unbearable, so i decided to give the race a crack with no expectations of times, just that i didn't want a DNF next to my name.
Race morning i was surprised that i was reasonably calm, maybe due to the fact the weather was practically ideal and wetsuits were allowed.
The swim has never been my favourite or strong point. The swim start is always fast so my aim was to try and stay with the pack as long as possible, preferably to the first buoy and then i could ease it off and find a comfortable rhythm. I don’t know what it is about open water swimming but I feel i get anxiety in the water and this occurred during the race at the start but only for a short period of time. Thank goodness, but i thought at one point i was going to have to backstroke until the tightness in my chest went away. I was talking to myself real hard in my head “calm down court, its fine court, just breathe, you will be out of this water soon and onto the bike”.
After settling myself down i found the swim to be reasonably ok as it wasn’t too crowded, i could see and sight well. With a time of 34:23 for 2km i was sitting in 6th position in my AG. T1 could do with some more practice but i was just happy to be out of the water and ready to ride.
The cycle leg was 83km, consisting of a 3 lap fairly undulating course. I hoped on my bike and almost instantly i felt the pain in my hip, it was more of a nervy pain which mentally almost broke me (not going to lie i did shred a tear or two) as i thought this is going to be a long and painful ride. My initial thoughts at this point was to try put everything into the bike and not to even worry about the run as i didn't think i’d be able to do it. By trying to ignore it, i kept my focus on my speed and focused on practicing to stay on my aero bars as long as possible. Overall I felt i managed my nutrition and hydration on the bike well, as this is something i need to be more educated on but also i maintained a speed that i thought i could or would like to hold for IM (Dreaming). Bike leg 2:31
Coming into T2 i was glad i was finally off the bike and about to embark on an unknown run situation. I ran out of transition not knowing what position i was in but i wanted to try run as far as i could before possibly having to walk the rest of the way.
I ran out of transition all guns blazing until i heard someone yell out pace yourself Court, so i looked at my watch and pulled back a notch. Surprisingly i was feeling ok, so i set myself a goal to try and stay under or around 5min/km for the 21kms. At the 10km mark i started to get blisters as i unintentionally got my feet wet (This was a lesson learnt) but i shuffled along too the end. Run split 1:45 which i was reasonably happy with but i know i need to improvement on this leg for IM.
Overall i was happy i competed and ending up with an overall time of 4hrs:54, 2nd in my AG and gender rank of 16/ 180 finishers. My next focus was onto Wollongong Olympic.