What to do when you only have a two session training day, in a foreign country, staying at a sports resort and trying to do as little exercise as possible in the hope the legs begin to feel better? Not many options came to mind so I thought it was about time I wrote, or attempted to, write a blog. I am not usually a blog person, as writing and me don’t go hand in hand. English was by far my least favourite subject at school and those who know me would say I am somewhat of a numbers girl. But when I have a bit of extra time on my hands I thought why not give it a go, I read plenty of other athletes blogs so it can’t be that difficult can it? Well here goes, I hope I keep you somewhat entertained until the end.
The year of 2015: Lets just say it is a year I would rather forget and hope never repeats itself. I guess if in the first week of January you sustain a stress fracture some would consider it not a very good omen for the year ahead. I was certainly one of these people initially but once I had cried all my tears and told myself my life was over I finally moved on. I soon realised it was not the end of the world and instead should be counting my lucky stars I could continue doing what I loved (minus the running), just with a little speed bump in the way. I had a good support team behind me and after quite a few frustrating months I was excited to get back running. It wasn’t all smooth sailing but it was great to lace up the shoes and head out the door for a run. I remember my first 30 minute jog, barely running 6km and thinking to myself how the hell am I going to run 10km, let alone in a race?!?
A few weeks later I was toeing the start line in Yokohama surrounded by some of the best girls in the world, quietly sh**ing myself on the start line thinking why am I here yet on the other hand excited to finally be back racing. I told myself the last ITU race I competed in was the Tongyeong World Cup 6 months ago, but I won it so I should be sweet right? Lets just say the race was a bit of a false start and a harsh reality check. I probably wasn’t quite at the right place mentally or physically for that race but I tried and you can’t die wondering, or so they say. Two weeks later I backed up for London WTS and after a front pack swim yet disastrous T1 where I thought I would end up having to ride in my wetsuit, I was back in the chase pack. But I finished my first race in 7 months.
The remainder of the season wasn’t fantastic and I never felt like my normal self racing. I had glimpses here and there with 2nd in the Dunkerque French Grand Prix and a top 10 at Stockholm WTS. I even had races where I felt confident on the bike and rode well at the front of the pack not wasting precious energy. I finished the year bitterly disappointed with my results yet also a little proud of how I rode in a couple of the races. It was the first year since 2008 where I hadn’t been on some type of ITU podium or felt like I had performed to my potential in any of the races I competed in. It is times like these you ask yourself what went wrong, how can I improve and get back to being able to compete with the best? Lets just say I asked myself these questions many times and although I never came up with a clear answer I knew I had to do something different if I wanted to change.
This is where Joel Filliol came into the picture. Thankfully Joel agreed to coach my fiancé Drew and I and welcomed us into the #jftcrew. Changing coaches was one of the biggest decisions I have ever made and not one I made lightly. Since I began the sport of triathlon my previous coach Steve Moss took me under his wing and taught me so much about the sport. We experienced many highs yet also many lows together and I definitely wouldn’t be an Olympian or U23 World Champion if it were not for him. He always believed more in me then I ever did in myself and I can’t thank him enough for what he did. But people grow and need change and this is why I decided to move on and try something new.
In December Drew and I packed our bags and headed off to the island of Fuerteventura for our first official training camp with Joel. We were both feeling like the new kids on the block but thankfully the group was very welcoming and easy to get along with. Even though it was only for 3 weeks it was well worth the journey to work with Joel in an every day environment and train alongside some of the best athletes in the world.
Plus a trip to the Canary Islands doesn’t sound too bad either. Before we knew it and after scoring a business upgrade for part of the flight home we were back in Brisbane a bit less tired and weary then we could of been thanks to the flat bed in business class. Christmas and New Years came and went and after a short period at home I was back at the international airport ready for another flight back to Europe, this time with a little less baggage, minus Drew. I’m not going to lie, a few tears were shed saying good bye and walking through those departure gates but these were the sacrifices we were willing to make to better ourselves for the season ahead.
I’m now back at Fuerteventura for the next training camp and have already clocked up some good sessions with the squad whilst being here. It’s such a fantastic opportunity to be able to train alongside some of the best female and male athletes in the world day in and day out. We have a great girls group on camp plus I can’t forget to mention chief #jftcrew photographer Tommy and physio Pepe who both when not photo-ing or physio-ing keep us honest and on pace in the tough sessions.
I’m looking forward to the year ahead and seeing what 2016 has on offer. I am fortunate to have the continual support of my amazing sponsors for another year (Project Clothing, Celliant, Specialized, Asics, Subaru, Oakley) and also Triathlon Australia. I know it’s cliché to say but I honestly would struggle to do the sport without the support of these people as they certainly make my job a lot easier. Here’s to a successful 2016 for all and I thank you for reading my blog till the end, for that I applaud you!
Until next time, Emma