Husky Long Course 2017

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My last blog post was about the frustration I've had with injury the past couple of years. In January 2017, I  finally got my achilles problem solved - an issue that prevented me from running for over a year. Turns out it was the plantaris muscle rather than the achilles. After a massive (read: very passive) 3 week build of my run with no sign of pain, I decided it would be great to race Husky Long Course!

The field for the race was strong, including Craig Alexander - 3x winner of the Hawaiian Ironman. I was confident in my swim and bike legs for the race, but knowing the run wasn't quite there, my goal for the race was simple - swim in the front pack, ride hard 'off the front' to try get a buffer on the noted runners in the field, and then hold on for the run.

The race actually played out quite similar to to the way I had planned it. I swam comfortable in the 2km swim and exited the water in the lead group of 6. I then rode hard and opened up a gap on the main group with Lachlan Kerin. Kerin was riding very strongly and I wanted to save my legs a bit for the run so I let him go after 30kms of the 83km bike leg. By the end of the bike leg Kerin had a 1min 40 sec lead on me, and I had a 2min 40sec gap to the main group.


I hit the run controlled and slowly brought back the gap to Kerin. At 13kms, I caught Kerin just as Crowie caught me. I didn't have the legs to go with Crowie so I ran my own race in second place and feeling good ... Up until about 16kms. This is where the lack of run training hit me and I really started suffering. At 18.5kms of the 20km run Michael Fox caught and surged past to take second. I kept it together in the last 1500m to hold on for third.


Upon reflection, I am extremely proud of the way I raced. It was my first race in quite a long time due to injury, and I raced off the front, giving myself every opportunity to hit a podium in my first race back. It was very good to tick the first race off and I can now start planning out my season of racing.

Next up for me will be Busso 70.3 on May 7th. I'll be sure to pack some running legs for that one!

Cheers,
Rochey



Frustration.com/achilles

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Safe to say, this year has been pretty testing of my patience! Well not only the past year… Let’s do a quick recap of my last 3 years:

2014 June – November: Glandular Fever
2015 July – October: Patella Tendonitis
2016 January – current: Achilles Tendonitis

It has been pretty difficult to get a consistent block of training done over the past couple of years, let alone racing those triathlon things.However, there has been glimpses of hope during this time.

Late last year I was really happy with where my running was at. I was doing a bit of racing on the track, ranging from 1500m up to 5000m races. Geez those 1500s are seriously fast! This really helped me with my running efficiency and speed.


Early January I did my first triathlon of 2016 – a local sprint distance at Kurnell. I had a great race and a cheeky win to get the confidence high… only to be brought down a week later with a chronic achilles injury.  The achilles has prevented me from doing any running at all. I had to withdraw from the Australian ITU Championships race in Devonport, a race I had spent my whole summer training for. ‘OK’ I thought, ‘a great opportunity to work the swim and bike!’ They are going great, but it has taken 7 months for the achilles to finally start to feel like it is settling down.




I have been in Phuket for the last month, adding some variety (and humidity) to my training. I have based my training out of Thanyapura – a five star sports facility here in Thailand. I spent some time here 2 years ago with Michael Murphy and loved it. I’m sure this will become a bit of a regular trip! As it turned out, the boys from the Victorian Institute of Sport Squad are also training out of Thanyapura. A huge thanks to Danielle Stefano and the boys for allowing me to tag along with them for some training. It has been unreal to train in such a high performance squad. Never a dull moment.



Coming up I have the Singapore ITU race this weekend, followed by World University Championships in Switzerland in August. The level of support from UTS Sport has been incredible – 
I cannot thank them enough. Time to turn this pear-shaped year around.

Cheers,
Rochey

Weaknesses to Strengths

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So, it has been a rough past couple of months for me with injury. After a little break following Port Stephens triathlon, I was not even into a weeks worth of training when my right knee started giving me some serious grief. After multiple scans, physio appointments, sports doctors appointments and a cortisone shot later, it was diagnosed as patella tendinopathy. Rest was what was required. It was debilitating, any bending of the knee was a pretty chronic task. I was sure it would pass in a couple of days, however this knee was seriously stubborn and after 8 weeks of rest (which almost killed me), I was finally able to jog 20mins pain free. I have been building the running and riding very slowly, and started getting back in the pool a couple of weeks ago. The very extended rest period has left me very keen to get stuck into training for 2016.

As a very last minute decision, 2 weeks ago I decided to race down in Yarrawonga, Victoria for UTS as part of the Australian University triathlon Series. I entered a couple of days before the race when my knee was feeling OK-ish. I went into the race knowing that I had 2 weeks of very light training under the belt, so I didn’t want to kill myself and kept the effort level under the red line.


In the opens race it was just myself, Brad Kahlefeldt and Nathan Buschkuehl. We all swam together, then Brad pushed the opening couple of Kms on the bike. I was able to go with him, then we shared the lead pretty evenly over the 40km bike course. We got off the bike together, and then onto the run Brad took off. I hadn’t done much running and didn’t want to push my knee any harder than I needed to, so I ran to consolidate 2nd behind Brad (and 1st in the Uni Championships category). Considering how little training I had done, I was very pleased to see some fitness still hanging around, with the knee cooperating so far!




S**! I was sore Monday – Thursday! Yes we did get straight in the UTS bus and drive 7 hours home after the race. And yes, I hadn’t done a session over 1.5 hours in over 10 weeks. But, I have never pulled up so sore! I took 2 rest days, then a total of 2 hours of light training over the following 4 days to start to feel better and finally decided last minute to race Nepean on the following Sunday morning. 

Quite to my surprise, I found myself toeing the start line at 7am Sunday morning out at Penrith for a 1km swim/ 30km bike/ 10km run. I really do not have much to report on this race – I swam average, rode average and ran average. I was able to scrape into 9th position, but it was ugly! Anyway, I was very happy to tick this off and earn a couple of weeks worth of rent.


From here, it’s into base training. I will be very slowly building the distance in training, and getting ready to peak in Feb-April 2016 for the Continental Cup races around Australia and Asia. As much as this knee injury has set me back, I am looking at it as a weakness that I have had to identify, and I look forward to turning this into a strength. I am doing my rehab work religiously and will be making sure my body is well conditioned and ready to take on 2016.

Cheers,
Rochey

Back to back weekends of triathlon -ing

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Each time I find myself squeezing into my race suit I seem to be feeling better and better! The past two weeks were no exception - racing the NSW Club Champs last weekend and the Port Stephens Triathlon Festival this weekend.

1st - NSW Club Champs


This was my 4th year racing Club Champs for Hills Tri Club – the tri club I first joined when I started triathlon at 15 years old. I love returning to this race every year and hope that it won’t be too long until Hills finally finish on top!

 Quick summary of the race – 1km beach swim. Sat in the front pack, had a swift transition and hit the bike leg. Sam Douglas pushed the 30km windy and wet bike leg and I was able to stay in contact feeling relatively good for a strong 8km run.

The highlight of the day was having Moya and Gabby show up and surprise me before the race! I thought I had finally escaped her for a weekend being a 3.5hr drive north of Sydney. But, I guess that with a car, an aux cable and a couple of Taylor Swift albums on the Iphone, anything is possible!

Then back to Sydney that night to run the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon on Sunday morning with the Can Too group I coach!









1st - Port Stephens




Last weekend I then backed up and raced the Port Stephens Triathlon run by Elite Energy. Conditions were brutal, which caused the swim leg to be cancelled and replaced by a 4km beach run, followed by a 40km bike and 10km run.

As much as I enjoy the swim, the dynamic nature of triathlon demands athletes to be ready for anything. This is the reason why I love the sport – every race is unique, the training focus is changing regularly and you just have to expect the unexpected!

I ran strongly in the opening 4km beach run, making a small gap but nothing that was going to last over the 40km bike leg with a solid little pack of riders just behind me. I thought last weekends wintery conditions in Forster were a bit gross, but Port Stephens really dished up a hammering for all athletes on the bike leg. I have been running well so just played conservative and safe on the bike in the torrential conditons. Some guys at the front of the race with me pulled the pin after 25kms due the rain but I raced on with Fraser Walsh to the finish of the bike. We got off the bike together and I ran well in the windy conditions to post a sub 29min 10km run. Just joking, the course was about 9km, but regardless I felt fairly strong and controlled throughout the run.


Things are looking really positive at the moment, I’m loving racing and really enjoying training with my training partner Dean Deegan (who had a great race at Port Stephens finishing 4th overall). Uni is also almost wrapped up for another semester… happy days!

I'm back ... Happy Days!

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What a disappointing year 2014 was for me! I fell sick to Glandular Fever for most of the year, unable to put together 2 days of proper training in a row. Not only did I struggle in training but this also affected my headspace big time.  For this reason, my blog has been untouched throughout 2014 as there has been nothing positive to report on!

However in December I started to pick right up and got the all clear from the doc (poor doctor had to sit through a lot of pissed off Kieran visits that year!).


Thanks to the following people who stuck by me all year and helped me get through. Means a lot having these people in my life! (Also big thanks to Joanne Baxas for her constant support)


My family – my rock!

My Girlfriend Moya

And a couple of good mates!


Anyway, being able to train freely again has been unreal. I’m training the best I ever have and I’m starting to put together a couple of good races.

Quick overview of how I have progressed this year:


January: 2nd Nowra Triathlon (turned Aquathon) – Opens
January: 1st Triathlon NSW Sprint Series race 2 – Opens
March: 1st ACT Olympic distance Champs – Elites
March: 3rd Triathlon NSW Sprint Series Race 3 – Opens
April: 1st Triathlon NSW Sprint series race 4 – Opens


Podium at Tri NSW Sprint series


ACT Olympic Distance Championships


With a couple more races over the next couple of weeks lined up, including the Sydney 10, Tri NSW Club Champs and Port Stephens Olympic triathlon, I’m in a good headspace and really looking forward to racing.  2015 is going to be a good year!

Cheers,
Rochey