As I write this, sitting here in Rotorua, I know that I should be thousands of kilometres away getting ready for the Xterra World Champs in Hawaii. Unfortunately I won't be competing this year, in what would have been my 9th go at the brutal race in Maui, after having to change my plans...
As those close to me know, I'm not one to sit around and 'hope' to one day be the best in the world. I enjoy training, pushing myself in each session to be faster, fitter and stronger. I love being outdoors, swimming, biking and running and that sometimes leads me to overdoing it as I seek those improvements. I'll be the first to admit I've made a few mistakes this year that have led to a few below par races and frustration with myself that I'm not able to compete at the level I know I am able to.
The most frustrating part is that the year started off really well, giving me confidence that I had a great year of racing ahead. Despite not being in great shape, Sam Shaw and myself managed to sneak onto the podium at the Red Bull Defiance in 3rd. A month later I was 3rd at the Coppermine, won the Ruapehu Express half marathon in a time of 1:12:37 and then won my first Xterra World Tour race at Motatapu. Leading into Xterra NZ I was in the best form of my life, confident that I was in a position to challenge for the title, but that's where it started to go wrong. I had a very average race at Xterra NZ (4th), and followed it up with a slightly better, but still below par race at the Asia Pacific Champs (6th). When I headed to Xterra Malaysia after that I was completely cooked and struggled to an 8th place finish.
I then had over a month away from any training and got back into light sessions in June. I had a good build up to the Coromandel Classic and New Caledonia Xdeva Cross Triathlon, winning both and gaining confidence towards my last block in preparation for the Xterra Worlds and ITU Cross Tri Worlds. I felt I recovered well from those races but through the next block my body didn't respond how I was anticipating and I could tell I was going through the early signs of overdoing it again.
Knowing this I chose to back off and let my body rest, giving myself the chance to bounce back for the ITU Cross Tri World Champs and then have a real crack at both Taupo 70.3 and Tauranga Half Ironman. I love those races and really want to make them a priority over summer, something I have never done despite racing both of them twice previously.
So right now I'm just getting back into it, incorporating the lessons I have learnt over the past year and building smartly towards what will be a cracker summer. I'm disappointed to be missing the Xterra World Champs, but after racing there eight times previously, I know what it takes to be successful there and will be back in the future targeting the podium!
Thanks to my family, supporters and sponsors for the continued support! I'm looking forward to righting a few wrongs over the next few months.