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WEEK 10: Brought to you by Velocity Sports Lab

After a week of easy training, I was feeling a little more confident going into my first race since Texas. The little bit of speed work that I did in the days prior to the race felt good, with none of the usual burning sensation in the lungs, and I even got promoted to leading the lane at some of the swim sessions. So I was definitely feeling better about myself and my abilities, but was still a little apprehensive about pushing too hard due to all the negative stories I had heard from some seriously good athletes who raced here in the past. And with the fact that I had suffered for so long to get to a stage where I feel normal again, I didn’t want to jeopardise that by racing too hard for no real reason (other than making some Dollars), as my slot for the World Championships in Vegas was already secured.

Much like my last race in Lubbock, Texas, my swim was well below par due to the warm water temperature (26degC) and the wetsuit legal swim. I was overheating before the race even started, and by 200m, I was out the back of the lead bunch wondering if I was even going to make it to the end of the swim. Fortunately, I found some feet and followed them home, albeit nearly 2min behind the main group and 3min behind the swim leader, and had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I was just here for a solid training session for the rest of the day.

Onto the bike and I was lucky to find myself behind someone who was on a mission to catch the leaders. So I simply switched off the mind and just followed as he rode hard. At times I had to work quite hard to keep up, but for the most part it was a pretty easy ride, and we eventually caught the group at 50km. Unfortunately, there were two escapees, Joe Gambles and Frazer Cartmell, 2min up the road. They weren’t of any concern though, as I was just happy to be with Paul Ambrose (who beat me at Mooseman in June and was punishing me on our weekly Wednesday training sessions), and Andy Potts (who beat me at Timberman last year) on what was supposed to be just a training session. Towards the end of the second lap of the ride, I went to the front of the group to do a little bit of work, and to my surprise found that we had managed to drop a few of the riders just before the second transition, including Potts who was the defending champion.

Gambles and Cartmell had extended their lead to nearly 3min as we started the run. Ambrose and I ran side by side for the first 2 miles, and when we got to the first significant climb, I managed to pull ahead. I could see I was catching up to Cartmell, so had a carrot to chase for the next 2 miles, but once I had caught him, I pretty much ran out of motivation. Gambles was on fire and storming to a new course record, so there was no hope, or any inclination, to try and catch him. There was no real threat from behind, other than the amazing 42yr old Joe Umphenour (former ITU star), who was about a minute behind, but not really gaining. So the remainder of the run became a little bit of a drag, but I was happy that I could keep it steady and extremely happy to eventually finish in 2nd place when I certainly wasn’t expecting much.

At the end of the day I think I achieved exactly what I wanted, and probably a bit more, from this event; a solid, up-tempo training session on extremely tired legs, without ever red-lining it or going into oxygen debt. And of course the huge bonus of finishing second, making some US$, and gaining a few World Ranking points that moved me back into the number 1 spot. Not that that means a whole lot, but it’s nice to see your name at the top of some list. Definitely better than the top of the FBI’s most wanted list.



Annah Watkinson - Race Report IM Brazil 2017

After a great first year racing in the professional category in 2016, I was amped for the 2017 season. Feeling stronger and fitter and more in the "right head space" - I had done some great training over December spending many many many (and many more) hours on the bike - I loved it. My swim was starting to click, I was starting to understand the phrase "feel the water", and my running was strong

READ ONAnnah Watkinson - Race Report IM Brazil 2017
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