Since Christmas I’ve been training hard, working with a coach who’s sorted my training plans and nutrition for the year. My Triathlon season kicked off in April with a couple of sprints.
The first was at Southwell Triathlon which was absolutely freezing,but I felt pretty good on the day and I finished 9th in my category on a blustery course.
Next up was The National sprint Champs at Belvoir Castle which was my first open water swim of the year. I’ve been working hard on my swimming but this still has only made me a very average swimmer. I didn’t have my greatest swim but had a great bike leg and a good run. I finished 6th place in cat which I was quite surprised about.
One of my main races of the year was next, The Outlaw Half (half ironman distance). Looking at the weather all week and realising it was going to be gale force winds and torrential rain was something I wasn’t looking forward to. A 3am wake up call on race morning and a look out the window to see the weather forecast was spot on!
We set off in waves and I think I was in wave 4. I placed myself to the far side of the lake, not being the fastest swimmer I didn’t want to get involved in the chaos which seems to always happen in the mass start of hundreds of athletes racing to the first buoy.
I set off steady but finished strong, I ran out the water trying to rip my wetsuit off in transition. Heading out on the bike was hard, not being able to see because of the rain and wind, but I settled in to my pace. This year I have learnt that you can’t go as hard as you can on the bike because when it comes to the run you won’t have the legs for it. This will cost you a lot of time.
All was going well and I was surprised at my average speed until I got to 40 miles. That’s when I turned into the headwind for the rest of the bike leg, which dropped the average speed down a bit. I then headed out on the half marathon run trying to fight through the wind. I finished that in 1hr 40min. When I’d done I was totally drained but glad I’d got through it. It wasn’t the time I was hoping for but did it in 5hr 15 min, finishing 23rd in cat.
One month later and it was onto Ironman UK 70.3 in Exmoor. This race is touted as one of the hardest in the world because of the climbing on the bike and run course. The week leading up to this race was terrible as I came down with a stomach bug. Then fell at work and twisted my foot, then worst of all Rachael’s Nanna died who was a cracking old lass who I also had a great relationship with.
I was close to not going especially as the weather forecast was terrible again, but Rach said she would like me to do it. We headed down Saturday in glorious sunshine but that changed the day after!
Another 3am wake up call and we headed off to the event site. Getting into my wetsuit and heading down to the lake with the other 2000 athletes. The swim went ok once I settled down into a good stroke.
I then headed out onto the bike in torrential rain, I looked down at my Garmin and my power meter and heart rate weren’t reading – with the toughness of the bike course it would make it near impossible to pace it right to do a good run after. I felt like I was climbing well on the bike and around 25miles into the course there was a big, scary, wet descent. A guy in front of me lost his front wheel on a corner and went down hard. As he hit the deck I heard his arm snap, bending in the wrong direction!
I at this time had a foot down skidding behind him just managing to stay on the bike. I stayed with him whilst someone got the ambulance to come. At this point I knew my time wasn’t going to be any good, but I was glad I could help him in some way as we are all doing this for the same reasons and all in it together.
I got back to transition and headed out on the run. I think I’d pushed the hills too much as my legs felt like jelly! The run course was the hardest bit for me with the big climbs sapping everything from the legs. Around half way I started to get cramp in my legs and also my stomach. I presume this was down to my stomach bug and dehydration through the week.
I was just happy to get to the finish line where Rach and Tegan were waiting for me. The atmosphere was amazing with everyone shouting encouragement. It definitely lived up to being the toughest 70.3, but I loved the challenge it brought.
My next race is over in Austria in August. Ironman Austria 70.3, so I hope I can keep fit and healthy for that and hoping for a good performance….and some luck with the weather for a change!