That sums up my journey since joining Pursuit Coaching / Blackfins only 4 months ago, from feeling competitive to knowing how to race. Physically a different athlete, a new mindset, and new found confidence for racing - not just competing. Why didn't i do it sooner?! Well here is some of the road to Pursuit and the transformation...
Having hauled myself off the couch in 2012, seeking a new personal challenge and wanting to have some fun with friends, we set off down to Point Walter for our first sprint tri...what a blast. I've always liked kicking goals and challenges...so triathlon is a slippery slope and before you know it you are signed up for Olympic, and then oh well why not, a half ironman, surely i couldn't complete a full could I...only one to way find out.
Mountain bike, skid lid, lycra and trainers was all the equipment you needed...the sports cupboard has accrued a few more essentials (toys!) since then in the pursuit of dreams.
Bang comes a programme off the internet and the long lonely 20 week journey began building up to Busselton Ironman 2013, more focused on time ...and thanks to a friendly nudge at 36km into the marathon a dream of sub 10hours was in sight, if i hauled more arse, and surprisingly there was just a little left in the tank to sprint home in 9:59:24.
With a few more years experience under my belt now you can critically analyse those moments (life changing in as much i'll never forget that feeling...better than sex!?!?)...how and why that came about, in my case luck.
From following my own plan for a couple of Ironman races, Kona became the goal...there are stretch goals...and this was one, the numbers looked possible but highly improbable from where i was then, what would a coach program do for me i wonder?
A coached program brought me huge gains through steady state, sub-threshold building an 'on and on and on' capability...but the Kona dream never came together. Don't get me wrong, success in many shapes and form including my first podium at Mandurah 70.3 and entry to World Champs 2016, even getting a top 10 at Ironman New Zealand 2016 (5 minutes shy, damn the cool weather and too many 'pee rolls' on the bike)...Ironman Cairns battling through a puncture to nearly get back...but that was the story for the dream, nearly, but never feeling like i was truly in the race...!
It was at the roll down in Cairns after giving my all, on paper, i should have been qualifying but it never came together. Although punctures happen it shouldn't have cost me the race, so why was the big question...and only now i know. I was competitive, I was in the hunt, but i wasn't racing...
Racing to me has brought together the mental side, the power and the endurance with a mindset equipped to execute a plan and not be daunted by the 'bigger challenge'.
surrounded by great athletes to challenge you all the way and get the most out of any session and where to get the best coffee!
So what are the main differences I have experienced joining Pursuit Coaching / Blackfins...
Mental toughness and mindset
An awesome squad culture and atmosphere
Confidence in own ability
In essence this squad is what i have been building to and helped me find my next level...racing, confident and finally a bloody win and an 8 minute personal best improvement - from 4:19 to 4:11...