This year was one of transition and frustration for me. After 8 years of living in Fayetteville, Arkansas in the United States, my husband (Mark) and I decided it was time to move home. We love being back. Although we had a great time living in the US, I feel that there are far more opportunities for me to compete in various athletic events, starting at regular interclub competitions as well as the Australian Athletics Tour, and other interstate events throughout Australia.

Just coming into the beginning of the track season, I had surgery for the second time on my navicular bone in my foot. It has healed well, and has caused no problems since. Just as training picked up and I started looking forward to getting a block of solid races in, I started having complications with my asthma, and couldn’t seem to get my breathing right. I had some big gaps in my training program and a few shocking races as a result.

I was a bit nervous coming into Nationals in Perth, not knowing what to expect to happen with my breathing. Thankfully, my lungs didn’t flare up and I was able to get through the heats with no drama. I was a little disappointed finishing in 5th place in the final, however also grateful that my breathing was fine and I was able to be competitive.

After a short break, I feel revived. My asthma is under control, and I am ready to get some good base work in. I have realised that the only year I have been injury free, and gotten a solid winter season in, was when I have had the most success on the track. My coach Bruce Scriven, with the input of Steve Ovett, have composed a training program, incorporating swimming and weights (things I have never done in the past), and backing off the mileage to keep me injury free.

After one tough 6km cross country race behind me, I am now looking forward to a couple more cross races, and in particular, the Leonora Gift next month in WA.

Having never been to Leonora, I have been told by friends that have competed in the past, that it is a fantastic weekend. Not only does it provide an opportunity to compete against some of the nation’s best competitors, offering a huge prize pool, it also gives us the chance to visit a small somewhat secluded community that most of us would probably never otherwise get the chance to visit, and also one that has a big appreciation for running. I can’t wait! This will bring the start of a new season.

Erica Fountain