In January 2017, I finally got my achilles problem solved - an issue that prevented me from running for over a year. Turns out it was the plantaris muscle rather than the achilles. After a massive (read: very passive) 3 week build of my run with no sign of pain, I decided it would be great to race Husky Long Course!
The field for the race was strong, including Craig Alexander - 3x winner of the Hawaiian Ironman. I was confident in my swim and bike legs for the race, but knowing the run wasn't quite there, my goal for the race was simple - swim in the front pack, ride hard 'off the front' to try get a buffer on the noted runners in the field, and then hold on for the run.
The race actually played out quite similar to to the way I had planned it. I swam comfortable in the 2km swim and exited the water in the lead group of 6. I then rode hard and opened up a gap on the main group with Lachlan Kerin. Kerin was riding very strongly and I wanted to save my legs a bit for the run so I let him go after 30kms of the 83km bike leg. By the end of the bike leg Kerin had a 1min 40 sec lead on me, and I had a 2min 40sec gap to the main group.
I hit the run controlled and slowly brought back the gap to Kerin. At 13kms, I caught Kerin just as Crowie caught me. I didn't have the legs to go with Crowie so I ran my own race in second place and feeling good ... Up until about 16kms. This is where the lack of run training hit me and I really started suffering. At 18.5kms of the 20km run Michael Fox caught and surged past to take second. I kept it together in the last 1500m to hold on for third.
Upon reflection, I am extremely proud of the way I raced. It was my first race in quite a long time due to injury, and I raced off the front, giving myself every opportunity to hit a podium in my first race back. It was very good to tick the first race off and I can now start planning out my season of racing.
Next up for me will be Chattanooga 70.3 on 21st May. I'll be sure to pack some running legs for that one!