So the milestone has snuck up and passed by pretty damn quickly – it was actually three weeks ago that marked my one-year over here in Sydney. Some amazing experiences, some heart break, some frustrations – everything you’d expect have been experienced, but in the end, no road worth travelling is easy!
The decision to move over east was a few years in the making, but actually packing my bags and moving was one of the most nerve-wracking things I had done. Luckily enough, I had a wonderful girlfriend move over with me, making things a lot easier. We got set up in Sydney, got stuck into the training, and within a week I was competing for my new club, and had my first state medal at the NSW XC Relays in Miranda.
I quickly learnt that there was a huge difference in the professionalism and ability over here than what I’d been exposed to in Perth. We had quite a few good young guys running well in Perth (Ethan Heywood, Josh Tedesco, Sam Mcentee and Marc See) – but getting into a squad with a 3m34 1500m runner, a 7:56 3000m runner and a 2:11 marathoner took things to a whole new level.
The guys over here are professional. The first week staying with the Roff family made me realise how much I had to do that I wasn’t already doing. Stretching. Strength work. Ice. Massage. Eating well. Communicating with the coach. In fact, the communication thing is still my weakest point – after chatting to my old coach Ray Boyd once a week, it’s a very new thing to need to be in contact with Ken 3-4 times per week. Even now I still haven’t got it, but slowly but surely learning.
My first real breakthrough came at the national XC in Brisbane, where I took my best senior result from the mid 20’s to 6th. It was a day where most things went right. I didn’t go out hard with the lead pack. I conserved, worked through the field, and finished strongly. This also coincided with my first national title – winning gold in the NSW team. Although I felt a bit strange not wearing the black and gold, it was a privilege to run for NSW, and being part of a winning team made it all the better.
I moved on from there to the state 3000m, where I ran a PB of 8:14, and then onto Zatopek Classic, with a 10km debut and PB of 29.36. Things were looking good, and I was ready to push for a possible birth at World XC.
However, the decision to go on holidays with my Girlfriends family to the French Alps/Spain was one that possibly bought about the next few months of pain. Given the chance to change my decision to go to Falls Creek instead, I defiantly WOULDN’T have changed a thing. Travelling around Europe and experiencing so many new things was something that I’ll remember forever, and make much more accepting to new things (like eating snails and Foie Gras!) However, the walking around the Paris streets in unsupportive shoes, and much training on cement put my achillies in a bad place, and upon coming home, I was always behind the 8-ball.
I actually managed to run a 3000m pb again, this time 8:11, after holding onto Jeremy Roff through half way (3:59). It was a big moment for me, finally getting under that time of 8:12.20 that all Western Australians hold dear – being the record of Ray Boyd. Although my time didn’t count as a record, I felt a sense of achievement.
The following week, my achillies went, and a 3-month period of catch up began, bringing me to three weeks ago, where I had cortisone and a weeks rest.
Currently, I’m about to start sessions again, and get the ball rolling on winter ’11. First race up is Nowra for State XC, and even though it’s the hardest course I’ve ever run, I’m looking forward to get the racing shoes back on. Having to forego Gold Coast half isn’t great, but hopefully come national XC, I’ll be ready to challenge last years finishing place.
Being in such a positive place, it’s so easy to get motivated. Knowing that I’ll be turning up to training to run with guys that have run at World Champs, Commonwealth Games, World XC, World Uni Games and have national titles under their belt is always something to look forward to. If that’s not motivation enough, then I don’t know what is! Jeremy has just headed over to Europe/America to try and get a World Champs/Olympic Qualifier, and with Jeff already in the team for Worlds, there is a buzz around the group. Hopefully the achillies holds up, and I can have something positive to report back in the not too distant future!
Lastly, I want to send a shout out to the guys at the Running Centre, who have looked after me for a long time, from being in to the present day. Raf, Jason, Cody, Doigy and the crew have kept me on the move, even if now all they can do is tell me how good I am at dancing.
If any of you guys want to come and get a closer look at how some of the best guys in the country train, come over and join us for some training. Feel free to give me a buzz if you’re in town, I’m always keen to run with some local Perth kids!