In July I had my first games experience in Glasgow! It was a bit of a whirlwind and almost feels like it didn’t happen! We stayed in the athletes village which was a really cool experience and though a bit tiring, I wouldn't trade it this time around!
After Glasgow I headed back to my base in Girona, Spain for a few more weeks of training before the final 2 races. I have to thank Emma Moffatt for continuing to be my training buddy despite calling her ITU season after Glasgow. I really appreciated that and also Emma Snowsill who joined me on many sessions and was always there for moral support, good chats, advice, wisdom and feeding me the best raw cakes and coffee! Those few weeks flew by and before I knew it, it was almost time to pack up and leave Girona for the year!
I was lucky enough to have a visit from my crazy busy coach, Shaun Stephens on his way from Monaco to the south of Spain for the Vuelta. It was really great to catch up in person after almost 5 years!! Crazy to think the person I talk to almost daily over the computer is someone I hadn’t seen in 5 years!
Unfortunately just before leaving I caught a cold and was not feeling so hot. I spent the 4 or 5 days leading into Stockholm desperately trying every homeopathic remedy in the book to regain strength and health in a very short amount of time! I was literally eating raw ginger like it was a carrot stick!
On race day I figured I had no reason not to try and just see what happens! The goal was always Edmonton so I wasn’t going to do anything silly but if I felt alright of course I would give it a shot! The weather conditions weren’t ideal for racing whilst sick though! Sub 14 degree water (i know they said 15 but none of us believed that! ;) air temps in the teens as well and then rain and wind thrown in there too! I chose not to do the swim familiarization the day before the race and I didn’t do a swim warm up so when I dove in it was the first time I’d experienced the water! I didn’t seem to matter though because I had a great start! I came out of the water in 9th place I believe but with numb hands I struggled to get my helmet on. I made the front group though and noticed quite early on the we had a small-ish lead group with a bit of a gap to the rest of the field. Luckily a few of us were motivated and we got organized pretty quickly. We continued to stretch our lead out to about a minute I believe over the 20km cobbled, hilly, wet and technical bike course. I was still totally numb when we got off our bikes and have no idea how I got my shoes on! Transition was on a big hill so that was a shock to the system when we started running. Only a few strides in we were barreling down a steep, wet cobbled hill and with numb legs I was unable to get to the very front with the 2 US girls Sarah and Lindsay. I think Andrea and I were in the same boat and just found our legs and pace a little later on. I made it around the 2 lap run course feeling fairly relaxed and controlled but when it was time to sprint up that big hill deciding 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions, I had nothing to respond with a settled for 4th. It was really a surprise to me based on the condition with which I was going into the race so although my initial goal was a podium, I was very happy to walk away with a solid 4th place and a boost in the rankings of the World Series. All in all Stockholm was a success!
Or so I thought!! Upon landing in Calgary from a very smooth trip I started to feel a little funny. I thought it was likely the travel and perhaps hunger. So after the drive to Edmonton I got myself a burrito and blueberry juice. BAD idea knowing now what was to come. I felt really nauseous and went to sleep early from the jet lag. Next thing I knew I was running to the bathroom. Every hour on the hour I was getting rid of that burrito and what seemed like everything I'd ever eaten in my entire life! hahaha Worst night ever! I spent the next day in the fetal position with a fever and wicked head and body aches. Guess it’s wasn’t food poisoning! The next 24hrs were about waiting it out. Fortunately I slept from noon until 7:30am the next day! Then the worst was over. After not eating for 40hrs I was pretty weak. I spent the next few days trying to fuel up and recover while still staying a little bit sharp for the race. At this point I still had that head cold from Stockholm so conditions were less than ideal but I was confident I could still have a performance similar to Stockholm.
Boy was I wrong! I had an upset stomach the night before the race and woke up in a sweat, both out of the ordinary for me but I brushed it off and got ready to race!
I had probably the best swim start of my life with just Carol, Lucy and myself out front. After getting the outside around the buoys I lost a few positions and finished the first lap in 4th. Though I was in great position, it felt horrible. The 2nd lap got worse. My stroke rate was slow, my whole body felt flushed with lactic. It was not how I normally feel in the swim. I exited the swim in 9th I believe and lost more positions in the run to T1. I got on my bike and made it into the small-ish front group. This was ideal, but the fact that I couldn’t move from the back of the pack was not. I was just so weak and rushing with lactic. My stomach was really upset and I was beginning to heave involuntarily. I got dropped from the first pack after the hill. Whilst riding solo I threw up off the side of my bike. I sat up and rode along, not really thinking about anything as far as I can remember. Just heaving hahaha. I was caught by the 2nd pack and unable to help out whatsoever so I assumed position at the back. When we went through transition and everyone got out of the saddle I could feel I was getting dropped again and asked myself the question “Do you really want to go out for another 11km?” The answer was a clear no. It was not happening for me today. I pulled off the road beside our mechanic and leaned over to be sick again but that part was over thankfully. I continued dry heaving for the next hour or so and sat in the support of my family and team staff.
A few U23 boys got sick the night before and during the race as well so it seems I may have picked up ANOTHER flu. That says something about the state of my immune system after a season packed full of global travel and racing! It was so upsetting to me that this year, I had done everything right. I was fit, healthy and in the mental and physical shape for a really good performance. Having that taken away by something out of my control like a flu bug was just hard to accept. I really thought I could still race decently. And seeing the way the race played out made it even harder. But I was quickly reminded of all the positives this year so I didn’t stay upset for long! I swallowed that pill and accepted my ranking of 9th overall in the series. I was going into Edmonton hoping for a podium but when I remember back to last year, making my goal top 10 in the series which I thought would be really hard and best case scenario, I have to be happy with the fact that I achieved that without the grand final! One of these days I will finish a grand final!!!
After that I stuck around a few days and went to the ITU Hall of Fame gala where I got to see people like Mark Allen, Simon Lessing, Greg Welch, Emma Carney, Karen Smyers and Les McDonald get inducted into the ITU’s hall of fame. These were my idols growing up and getting to meet them and chat with them was a really great experience. I also got to cheer on the rest of the races and even organized a girls brunch with a bunch of the elite women so they could experience a Canadian breakfast! All in all, even though the week didn’t start so well it ended alright!
That's Mark Allen!
Girls and the lucky guy at the gala ;)
Post race brunch with some ITU fwiends!
Now I’m back in Victoria for a few days before going to Vegas for the GP Super Sprint! I’m hoping to be feeling better by then and have some fun and a good crack! Right now I STILL have that head cold but my flu is fully over and done with so things are looking up!
Full season wrap up to come…But this is a pretty decent sized post, if you’ve made it this far I’m amazed!!
Thanks everyone for the support this year! It’s been really amazing to hear from so many people, old friends, new friends, family, coaches, and strangers alike! This has been an awesome year and I am so grateful to be back on the circuit!