Nadi going for gold

IF it was anyone except Nadi Canning telling you she was in hospital a few days before competing in the Coolan-gatta Gold event, you’d be extremely worried whether she was going to make it to the starting line.
And, yes, she’s had an Achilles problem in the lead-up to the big race, but that’s not why the Dorroughby Ironwoman is in Tweed Heads Hospital.
While she’s not out training somewhere, the third-year medical student spends most of her waking hours in the hospital as part of her Griffith University degree.
Canning gets up every day at 5am to train and is supposed to be in surgery at the hospital by 7am, but has begged a little leeway in the lead-up to the Coolangatta Gold tomorrow.
“I’ve had to speak to the doctors and tell them that it is really important that I finish my training and they have been pretty good about it,” she said.
“It’s funny, they pay me out about the amount of training I do. Word has spread so quickly and people come up to me and say, ‘Aren’t you that Ironwoman who’s going in the Gold?’ And I say, ‘That’s me’.”
Canning finished 16th in her first attempt at the Coolangatta Gold and eighth last year.
Logically, if she continues at the same rate of improvement, it augers well for a top five placing this year.
“That’s what we have been training for, but any improvement from last year would be great,” she said.
Canning trains on the Gold Coast during the week, but come the weekend she’s back on the Far North Coast ?  under the watchful eye of Lennox Head coach Lou Wilson.
She’s had one of her best preparations and has been working particularly hard on her paddling and running legs.
“Nadi has been back up training since May after she had a bit of a break after Aussies,” Wilson said.
“She is better prepared than other seasons because she has not had any injuries or illnesses like before.”
Wilson said triple Coolangatta Gold winner Hayley Bateup and last year’s runner-up Courtney Hancock were the ones to beat.
“I just think the training Courtney has done this year is right on the money,” Wilson said.
“Bateup is the favourite but after watching Courtney train a bit she’s my pick.”
Canning said she would try to stick close to Bateup and Hancock in the paddling leg and that she had learned some important lessons from her run last year.
“I get a bit of asthma and I struggled a bit with my breathing on the run last year and, because I didn’t want to screw up my breathing, I didn’t eat anything,” she said.
“This year I’m going to make sure that I top up on my fuel,” she said, referring to her not eating anything last year due to asthma concerns.
The Coolangatta Gold course is a 15km ski paddle, 1km run, 4.5km board leg, 2.5km swim and 7.5km beach run.

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