Natalie Van Coevorden is an Australian representative in Triathlon, having competed on the world stage since she left high school in 2010. The 24-year-old was born in Campbelltown, NSW and now splits her residence between Wollongong, NSW and Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain for training purposes. Van Coevorden has set her sights on representing Australia in the Commonwealth and Olympic Games and is training and competing relentlessly to achieve her goal.
More than two months have come and gone overseas this year and July was one of my busiest months yet. Three different races, three truly unique experiences. In training this month the theme has been about being able to keep in the moment and being able to revert back to key processes under pressure and fatigue. If you practice it in training, you should be able no matter the situation in a race know what to do. It is definitely an important component of triathlon that I know still affects me especially when I am tired and I think it’s a continuing process to train the mind, just as much as the body.
Leading into Hamburg was a pretty stressful time for me. I didn’t get selected in the initial start list to race and it really shook me off path. I was flustered and I couldn’t concentrate. I am passionate about what I do and racing at the highest levels in ITU World Series races means a lot to me. It is so competitive to get starts in ITU races so I had to step back to reflect and look for a plan B. I had some consistent results from the start of the season behind me so I had to back my ability to do something else. I also had a small bike stack doing some bike crits which didn’t help anything either.
After a bit of a hiccup, I was very grateful to get the opportunity to race the next Commonwealth Games selection race in Hamburg. Hamburg provided me with chance to show my potential. I had a great swim coming out of the water in 4th place and got myself in a good position to start the ride. But I have big regrets seeing a vital opportunity go past me. I got swallowed up by the big group and lost control of the fundamentals with so many influences around me. It wasn’t the ride that I wanted and I was unable to show what we had executed so
well in the past few weeks in training. I finished in 22nd place wanting more already for the next race.
The weekend after Hamburg, I took the train up to Banyoles to race in the Spanish Sprint Championships and European Club Relays for Poissy Triathlon. I haven’t been to Banyoles since 2012 when I raced in a World Cup race. It is such a spectacular location in a small but gracious town. The night I arrived I knew I was in a true Spanish culture when we had dinner at 11:30pm. I was lucky that I didn’t race till 6pm the next day so I had the whole day to relax and get ready to race. The race panned out perfectly for me. Carolina Routier and I had a 45 second break out of the water which grew on the bike to create a big enough gap leading into T2. I had a fast transition and I broke her straight away. I kept pushing the pace till about 3.5km when I eased up as I had a race the next morning. I was happy to win for my new club and contribute to the club placing second overall.
The turnaround to my next race was fast. At 9am on Sunday I was back and ready to take on a short, fast race for Poissy Triathlon. I was third leg for the team and I was excited to race my first super sprint relay. I dove in the water behind two other teams but I put 10 seconds into them by the time we exited the water. I rode a solo 7km with three other teams catching me at the dismount line to T2. I got some expert tips from a past mile runner in our squad on how to run a perfect 1600m. I
went out with full guns blazing and lead to the turn around. The last 800m really tested me and I had a sprint to tag my final runner putting us into second place. It was the hardest 20 or so minutes I felt like I had ever raced. The last leg was really exciting for us and we hung tough all the way to the end and ended up just short in 2nd place. The weekend took a lot out of me so it was nice to spend Sunday afternoon exploring the famous Girona.
There is no rest for the wicked and I was back to just surviving normal training the following week. Last Sunday, I competed in a 2km open water swim race. It is always nice to go back to my swimming roots and I think my body was happy that it was 3km shorter than usual. Although, I am sure, that the boys that I was swimming with decided it would be fun to play snake and I am fairly sure we swam an extra 500m zig zagging our way to the finish.
I am currently in Canada for the next stop on the series at WTS Montreal. This is my first trip to Canada so I am really excited for many things this weekend. The start list is quite small again with a lot of quality in the front end of the field. I would really love to execute this weekend with things that I took away from Hamburg.
Thanks for all you supportive messages and encouragement.