I just woke up from a glorious 90 minute nap. You know, one of those ones you snooze 3 times on, leaving you painfully numb and literally unable to get out of bed. My mind & body was bound horizontally under the calm but wretched warmth of the bed linen, totally unwilling for life. I was in a helpless cycle until the deadly slow call of my travelers brew bar downstairs grew to a tinnitus-like ring in my ear. It was calling in desperation, my subconscious begging for a perilous grip on the hand grinder with throttle on bearings & burr, simultaneously adorning scent and sound, yearning for the whistle of the stovetop kettle. Yep, I'm jet lagged in the USA. But my brew bar is here so what does it matter. I feel so inspired by the delight of brewed coffee that I'm going to share my experience with you just now, with my tools carefully juxtaposed against the heinous, mass-appeal mentality of the Mr. Coffee percolator, belonging of course to my wonderful but poor-tasted homestay (don't feel bad about owning one of these, I'm just a snobby a**hole).
...So onto the more pertinent topic of triathlon, I'm currently in St. Petersburg FL ready to kick off my 2014 international campaign in the St. Anthony's 5150 Spring classic. I know the risks of coming here, it's is my fourth time I've traveled from Oz over the 14 time zones to get here & sleeping is always hard after a total flip of the body clock. While the travel is not appealing, this race has always suited my seasons plan but never my immediate travel or location arrangements. Nevertheless, it's a fantastic event that I like to be a part of, and I have still done well here in the past despite the brutally long travel. My best finish here was 4th in 2012, I was even leading the race until the 9km mark on the run and lost 3 places within the last 3 minutes. I had good lead into that 2012 edition so I've replicated it somewhat heading into this race.
The replicated journey to performing in this race started two weeks ago in the Gold Coast Triathlon in Australia, which I also did as a lead in to St. A's two years ago. It's Gold Coast's biggest race & actually run by Ironman Asia-Pacific so you know that it's a quality event. I respect athletes that are able to get the job done over any distance and format, which is why I try to race as many formats as I can, while of course still being within the realms of reason & rationale. The benefit of this race two weeks leading into St. A's is palpable, a hard-to-replicate non-drafting 50+ minute long S/B/R hit-out, perfect in servicing the fast twitch fibers that are mostly underdone when training for 70.3 distance events. A kind of baptism to the fast racing that awaits on Sunday.
The field on the Gold Coast wasn't overly strong, but there were some good ITU talents as well as Clayton Fettell, another true format journeyman. I led from start to finish in the race, with the honest tactic of just going hard from the gun. I broke away on the bike from Clayton in the gut-wrenching headwind, aided obviously by the supreme yaws of my Felt IA but still fortified by my current strong cycling legs. The wattage wasn't overly impressive but still enough to bring a smile and induce a good amount of fatigue for the 5km run, which I cranked out in a solid 15:28. My run has improved a lot this year, and I'm excited to test it against the best in the races to come. I think the main difference in my run is that I've been able to start with fresh legs after hard bike segments. Even though in my last two races I've finished the ride with legs close to exhaustion, I've been able to shed that feeling as soon as I'm out on the run, something I've not experienced in the past. Cycle fatigue was always passed immediately into the running legs, always creating a frustratingly different feeling to 'race' running from 'training' running.
Considering my performance on the Gold Coast and my small but tough top-up of training since, I know I have the goods to perform in St. A's on Sunday. I want to perform, and more than that, I want to beat the old guard of athletes still hanging around like long-haul travel constipation. It's time the youngbloods took control, and I'm out to prove that on Sunday.
Thanks or reading, and until Sunday, over and out!