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I went to Chicago for four days at the start of the month for a fundraiser for one of the biggest running stores in America,called Runners High ‘n’ Tri. There were about 400 people in an auditorium, they had the NBC sports anchor as the MC and they put on a really good night. I trained with some of the local triathletes over the next few days, which was all part of the fund raising program so it was good to be involved with something like that.
Other than that, I’m basically just finishing off a big block of training and that has been going well. I had initially scheduled to do a 70.3 race in Calgary, but I decided to skip it and get stuck into my training for Hawaii a week earlier than first intended. I’d had an early start to the season and I’ve just been through a patch of fairly extensive media and sponsorship commitments.
When making those sorts of decisions you have to maintain some flexibility. I’ve raced five 70.3 races this year and won four of them. Yes, I could keep trying to rack up the wins, but at this point of my career, I’m more interested on focusing on the big races. Hopefully, I’m a little smarter – the body is a year older and I’m just not sure I would have benefited greatly from doing another race. When you’re scheduling your season, you obviously look at the important times of year and when you need to be at your peak, but you have to be prepared to adjust as you go. You can always add extra races later on if you feel you need to.
My next race is in Muskoka, north of Toronto in Canada. It’s a hilly bike and a hilly run, so it’s a good test for me to see where I’m at. I’m looking forward to it because it’s good to test the effectiveness of your training with a challenging course.
I’ve been asked if it has been any different racing on the circuit this season given that I’m now the reigning World Ironman champion – you know, do athletes single you out tactically as the one to beat and pay you extra attention? It’s a bit like everyone wanting to knock off the footy team that won the premiership the previous year. Well, in footy, at least you’ve got your team-mates to support you. I must admit, there are times when I’ve felt a bit isolated. Most of the pressure, though, comes from within. I set myself high standards and I want to execute a great performance every time I race. You have to remember that triathlon, essentially, is a sport about yourself. All anyone can do is train the best you can, prepare yourself the best you can both physically and mentally – what others think and do is irrelevant. Sure, it’s impossible to win every race you enter, but you want to execute all the time. All the great athletes have shown remarkable consistency.
When you think of legends like Greg Welsh, Michellie Jones, Miles Stewart and Emma Snowsill, even when they didn’t win, they were or are invariably at the pointy end of the race. There are going to be people that want to bring you down – that’s competition and that’s human nature and I’m totally fine with that. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing marbles in the playground or racing for medals . . . no-one likes to see one person with all the marbles.
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