I want to qualify for Kona. To make that happen I need to go back to focussing on the process rather than the end result, which is exactly what I've been trying to do since the start of the season. Last year I was so caught up – border lining on obsessed - with the points chase, I lost sight of that process.
After establishing a great relationship with my previous coach over four years, the decision to move on was a tough one. However, I felt the time was right for a fresh approach – a training resurrection. Training under Ben Day has brought new challenges, which I feel I'm responding well to. We're also going into the Kona points chase this year with a different strategy.
It's March and I haven't yet raced an Ironman in this 2016 qualifying season. At this stage last year I'd already raced three and then went on to race another four in the 2015 season. In a change of direction, we've spent the early part of the season building fitness gradually and racing solely over the 70.3 distance.
Mandurah 70.3 in November highlighted my lack of fitness after a much needed break. My 11th place was extremely lacklustre, but on the back of two Ironman DNF's, crossing the finish line was a huge moment. Strange as it may seem, I needed to remember what it felt like to finish again.
By the time December rolled around I had some consistent training under my belt and was ready to race Ballarat 70.3. Something happened... I stopped thinking. Or rather, I stopped over-thinking. I raced with a confidence I had no right to have. It wasn't a standout performance, but one that I could be proud of. After a year where riding has been a weakness, having the fastest bike split was great, but holding on to 3rd place was better.
Late January and Dubai 70.3 had a hot field. I went back to thinking and raced more tactically. A bout of cramp on the run course had me lying on the ground, unsure whether I'd be able to keep going. Thankfully I could, but I had to work really hard to move into 6th place and hold on. Out of the three races, this was the performance I was most proud of. Some of my fighting spirit returned.
The first Ironman of 2016 is fast approaching – Ironman South Africa on 10th April. It will be a huge, deep field with talent everywhere I look on the start line. There's a lot riding on this, yet the pressure that I felt leading up to last year's races has turned to excitement and anticipation. I'm ready to race.