The Para National championships were held in Robina on the Gold Coast, Australia, on the 22nd of January. This is my second year racing in Robina for the Nationals. I enjoy the location, the race course and the way it is organised. I approached this race like every other race: No matter what I have achieved in the past, this race is a new one and I focus on what I need to do in each leg to get across the finish line. In addition, I have to contain any symptoms arising from my right arm disability. For instance, the rainy weather triggered some cramping in my neck and shoulder which I tried to remediate by stretching and massaging. As a para-athlete, I always feel it's already an achievement to make it to the start line because my body has unpredictable reactions which can sabotage my performance, even at the last minute.
The paratriathlete wave was well-timed between two age group waves so we could swim with no interference. I felt good in the swim and aimed well for the buoys. My goggles fogged up half way through, I was disorientated and decided to stop to clear them. Aside from this hiccup, I was happy how this leg went. The wetsuit slipped off nicely, I was on the bike quickly. My ride was stronger than last year; I got faster and faster every lap. The course is a 5km loop, which didn't make me feel I rode for long. It's only in the run that I realised that there was one of my competitors in front of me. I worked hard in the head wind and took the lead just before the final turnaround which was about 1km to the finish line. I picked up my pace in the tail wind and gave it all to the line. Taking the lead in the last four minutes of the race is incredible. I was in the red zones on the bike several times but I'm glad I kept pushing, it's precious time I did not have to catch up in the run. The same happened at the Duathlon World Championships two years ago. I took the lead only in the last 10 minutes of the race to claim victory. It's not over until you cross the line, I always keep this in mind and give my best all the way to the end.
I'm happy to have grabbed the win in my category. It's one of those races where you have to believe in yourself, not give up in your mind and endure until the end. It's never given, always earned!
A big thank you to my sponsors for their assistance and also to the passionate people I mingled with this weekend, Sara-Ashlee and Kristen Tait, and all the fantastic people of Standing Start Triathlon, you are all wonderful!