The Olympic Distance Age Group World Championships are being held on Sunday 15 September 2013, with the best Olympic Distance Age Group Athletes from Australia and around the world competing against each other. Athletes race around the country to earn points to qualify in their age groups, and mother of two Tracey Linguey will be toeing the start line in the 45-49 year age group in the best shape of her life. Coach ‘Zoolander’ recently sat down with Tracey to chat about her lead up.
It is an exciting time, heading off to the World Championships, the Sprint and Olympic distances have a uniqueness about them. You are an official member of an Australian Team that is competing internationally, how do you feel about the lead up?
In a state of disbelief most of the time. Is this really happening? Am I actually going to get on a plane and swim, bike, run around the streets of London? Whenever I stop to think about it, I feel a little bit sick. Until Hazelwood last weekend, I was pretty nervous about the race but that hit-out felt strong and made me remember that racing is A LOT of fun.
I probably haven’t grasped what a massive event Worlds is, and maybe that’s just as well. Definitely getting excited now, although not enough to take a selfie in uniform. YET! !
How has your training been so far?
Consistent – for me. Apollo Bay training camp was amazing and I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of. I’ve said this many times and happy to keep saying it: I’ve never had to train so much to be so average at something. So at times, it has been a challenge to stay on track.
How much extra planning have you had to put into your preparation given you are racing overseas?
It feels like it’s been going on forever but to be honest, I’ve let fellow London Bound Athlete Lisa McFarlane do most of the worrying. A little bit of “Triathlete OCD” is starting to creep into my life, so maybe my prep isn’t as carefree as I think. What will I be eating? Will the bike be safe? What if I can’t get it back together properly? What if the tri-suit isn’t comfortable? Will I be able to sleep? Where will I train? How will I train?
Because I’ve been committed to being consistent, my days have sometimes taken on military-like planning with training having to fit in around work and family. I’ve called on friends to help me out with the kids, and my mum and my hubby have been incredible.
What have you found has been the most valuable lesson from the training regime and the decision to race at this level?
Consistency really does pay off. My fitness is probably double what it was this time last year or even leading into the last summer season and it’s all down to getting that training done day in, day out; week in, week out. My mantra: Don’t think, just do. Added bonus – I’ve lost a couple of kilos!
I’ve also run with the group for the first time in the lead-up and I’ve learned so much in such a short space of time. Training with a group is definitely more beneficial than going solo.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of what everyone else is doing, sometimes you can even feel left out, as the majority of the squad is in a different training phase, how have you coped with this and what have you done to compensate?
Been lucky enough to have a couple of others leading the way – firstly with Adam Murone training early on for the long course worlds and, of course, Lisa Dominguez carving it up. Being in the pool with them both and knowing they have been out there in the dark and the cold working hard has helped a lot. There are also many Tri Alliance members and coaches offering support which to me is what being part of a squad is all about.
How has your motivation been training over winter and what’s motivated you?
Motivation has been surprisingly good. It’s a big deal travelling anywhere, let alone overseas, to race and the family has had to make sacrifices for me to do it, so I don’t want to let anyone down. That’s the driving force for me.
Coaches have been utterly brilliant. Lisa Saad has fixed my crazy arms and made me a lot stronger in the water; some Greg Nugent/Zoolander gold (“guts n glutes”, “drumsticks”, “knees up”) rings in my head during the runs as well as giving me a healthy dose of HTFU, although my flailing left otter claw remains; guest appearances by Ollie and Sarah have revved me up too.
How important has the support network of Coaches and other athletes been to you?
Absolutely paramount. Fellow athletes are always offering encouragement and that gets you through the low-energy days. Lee Bethune and Evalin Ling never let me forget London is calling; and Lisa McFarlane was my rock during torture … I mean, training camp. Even TA members I’ve just met are supportive.
A couple of questions around the race,
Why have you chosen to race Olympic Distance at this level?
Almost accidental. Possibly too soft for long course and definitely too lazy for fast sprints – Olympic seems just right (although funny, I never feel that way during a race). Thought I’d put my name down to earn a few points during a couple of races, but never expected to make the team. A fabulous life-changing surprise.
What has been your biggest challenge leading up to the race?
Fitting in bike training. I’ve had to do some ridiculous things (granted, not unheard of in the TA squad) mostly revolving around riding in the dark. I think at one point I forgot that you could actually ride a bike in daylight hours, plus I had to buy a high-powered light (came in handy during two recent blackouts at home). I’ve also had to train on my own a fair bit and that’s not always enjoyable.
What do you think your biggest challenge will be during the race?
The run for sure. The first 2km will be make or break.
Of course, making the team is one thing; you have to qualify, what advice do you have for those attempting to qualify in Edmonton, Canada 2014?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Enjoy the time away, enjoy the race, the rest will follow.
Will you be racing in an aero helmet? If not, why not?
A) Would feel like a fraud
B) Might indicate I’m taking this whole tri thing a little too seriously
C) Possibly end in divorce!
What are your plans post Age Group World Championships?
In order: Eat a lot of cake, drink a lot of champagne, have a lot of sleep-ins, eat some more cake, panic about my fitness, panic about my weight, return to training.
Challenge Melbourne in February is my next major race goal. Have no idea if it’s achievable, but going to give it a crack!
One word association:
Swim – Rhythm
Bike – Cadence
Run – Hell
Gel – Necessary
Wax or Shave – Both
London – Dream
Wetsuit – Squeeze
Pool or Ocean – Ocean
Final words……. Three years ago I was an overweight, unfit, unhealthy middle-aged slob. If you’d told me then I would be competing in any event – let alone a world championship event – I would’ve scoffed. Triathlon has changed EVERYTHING in my life for the better. Thanks everyone for helping me on my way.
Tracey, what an inspiration. I look forward to seeing that selfie in your uniform before you go, in the meantime – practice that finishing line photo!
Until next time, Coach Zoolander….