A race. A real life race! The Cotswold 51fiver Olympic distance to be exact, and what a race it was.
I knew it was going to be a good from about 4:30am; after weeks (and weeks and weeks) of torrential downpours, race day dawned with unexpected sunshine. The bike was racked, transition was set out (shout out to Roka for their amazing transition bag!), and I felt surprisingly calm. I was less calm when I found myself at the front of the swim wave! For all of 2 minutes I realised what Lucy Charles-Barclay must feel like, and then was overtaken by some torpedoes in wetsuits. For me, it was a good swim (24:05)! A quick scramble out of the water, and into my happy place: the bike. I felt good, and pushed hard from the start. The course was amazing, good tarmac, rolling hills and enough flat sections to pick up some serious speed; having other competitors to use as carrots was also helpful. I got my head down and pedalled hard. I managed to sneak in just under the hour mark, a great reward for my efforts (54:44). And now for the finale: the run. A slight muppet moment was forgetting the aforementioned rain. The course was a mud bath in places and my Nikes were feeling the slide. Several times I flung myself rather unelegantly into some brambles/nettles. By lap 3 of the 2 mile loop, I’d got the hang of it. It wasn’t quite as fast as I wanted to be, but I would happily take it in exchange for remaining upright (38:54). I finished with some gas left in the take and a huge smile of my face. 1st placed female (and 6th overall competitor) made for a great official start to race season!
Having a good race is always a motivational boost for training. It’s the carrot that dangles in front of your face during long turbo sets when thoughts of ‘I’d rather be snuggled on the sofa’ keep creeping in. It also keeps the fire burning post race and gives you the fuel you need to bounce on to the next challenge. But this doesn’t mean that I have found training easy recently. Far from it!
It’s been incredibly challenging balancing work with triathlon training; as someone who works with and for their patients, if something happens at 5pm on a Friday, you can’t just walk out and leave it for someone else. A patient will suffer. After the race, many of colleagues commented about how I make it look easy (and the very flattering ‘you’re so talented’). What people fail to see is the daily 6am alarms to train before work, getting home after a long day, and going out to train again. It is never easy. It’s is always hard work. But I focus on the positives, the highs, my motivational carrots, and just keep on going.