On the run up to this race, I had been feeling strangely calm. It probably has, in part, something to do with the NLP sessions I have been having with Kim Ingleby, and the fact that it is merely a warm up race for me. I was aware that there was an AMAZING top field in the women’s race (Lucy Gossage, Marie Rabie, Lou Collins, Sky Draper, Lucy Smith!) however that was not bothering me.
I have done a great deal of different things this year in my training. I have also gone up into the next age group, so don’t know ‘the enemy’ as well. Although both these things made me uneasy, I was alright about it.
I think, in a reverse way, this all contributed to my race morning unease! I am usually in a real stress on race morning, checking my kit several hundred times and stressing over getting there on time. I was sitting calmly sipping green tea with half an hour to spare instead on this occasion, thinking ‘this isn’t quite right’!!!
THE GRENDON SPRINT TRIATHLON
SWIM – When the women were allowed into the water to warm up, I spotted Sky positioning herself WAY over to the left. I looked at the first buoy, and noticed that she in fact was in a direct line to it. So I decided to follow suit. Apart from a bit of chop at the start, I had a clear run, and once I cleared the first turn, I was in clear water. I wasn’t sure at the time whether this was in fact really good, or really bad!
BIKE – As I entered T1, I heard the commentator say that Jackie Phillips was just starting the bike, and I assumed from his comments that this meant that I was in second place in my age group. I set off with excitement, keen to try out my new Argon18 E112 sponsored race bike. What that in fact meant, was I caught the back markers of the men’s wave quite quickly, as well as a few women (none of which were my age group, sadly!) but that came at a cost. The heart rate was WAY too high, and when I noticed, I backed off. This was probably not helped by the fierce headwind on most of the bike course, but by the time I realised, it was effectively too late. I eased off back to heart rate zone 3 for the second half of the bike leg.
RUN- Keith Molloy, my run coach, was standing on the run course. It is the first time he has come to watch a race. When I set off on the run, it was only half a mile before I knew the error of my ways earlier. I did not feel the usual spring in my running step, and my form must have suffered because the next time I passed him, I heard him shout ‘lengthen your stride, relax shoulders, stand up tall, push…’. That’s when I realised I had taken my eye off the ball, as far as form was concerned. So, as I have been taught, I focussed then on myself, and ensured that I continued to do the best that I could at the time.
I hadn’t seen any ‘H’ athletes come past though, which I was amazed about. I assumed that was a mistake on my part.
My initial reaction was negative. It always is. I was thinking about all the things I could have done better, and so on. When I went to get the results from the timing tent, I was pleasantly surprised.
- I exited the lake in 2nd position in my age group, and maintained that position throughout the race, something I have never managed before.
- I raced the new Argon and learned what to expect from it, and there were no ‘new bike’ mechanical glitches despite greasy roads
- I remained calm in my mind, throughout the race, even when I knew I had not executed the race plan quite right during the run leg.
- I did not let other athletes on the course create negative thoughts in my mind.
Things I need to work on:
- Do NOT get carried away by targets in the distance when starting the bike leg – focus on the WHOLE race plan and pacing strategy
- Take on more nutrition pre race and at the start of the bike leg, to ensure sufficient fuel for the run.
I am pleased with the results (2nd place in my age group), glad I managed to convincingly beat some key people that I needed to beat despite not having my best race, and am looking forward to the next race.
This week saw me complete my second time trial on the new argon. It would be fair to say the first did not exactly go to plan! The chain came off before I rounded the first corner, and the seat came loose at around mile 6, meaning I had to complete the remainder of the race in a semi-standing up position! Not ideal, to say the least!
This week’s race was another new course for me, and different to the published route, so I learned that the route was up and down a main ring road just about an hour before the race started! The numbers in a time trial are usually issued in rough order of likely speed, with the slower people setting off first and the faster ones last. As it is a cycling time trial run by a cycling club, I usually expect, as a triathlete, to be slower than the average pure cyclist, and therefore set off somewhere near the start. Usually, it is also dominated by men, and genetically they will always be faster anyway.
Despite all this, I was issued number 22 of 29, (last time I was given number 7!) and had people dressed in GB skin suits and oiled up with baby oil in front of me. I remember clearly thinking this is NOT right at all!! I was seriously concerned that with not many setting off behind me I very well might be last to complete!
This may have motivated me, because I started well, catching and easily passing many of the people who were starting lap 2, having set off earlier. However, number 23 came past me quite early on. I had an eye out for number 24 (2 minutes behind) and didn’t see him till the last turn on the last lap (2.5 miles to go) where he came past me on his single speed, uttering some encouraging remarks as he passed me on my time trial bike!
I thought… hmmmm this is not right, but at first was resigned to the fact that despite his bike he was a man and clearly better than me, before very quickly deciding that I perhaps could catch him back in the remaining 2 miles.
So I set off in hot pursuit. I was giving it everything, and he didn’t make it easy for me. I caught him back and I think I JUST got past him on the line, but by gosh my lungs were screaming!!
It was a great race, and I proved to myself that when I think I am giving it everything, there may well still be more!
Overall I was 20th – not bad in a predominantly male field, and fastest lady (ok, there wasn’t many of us, but still, it’s nice to be able to say that, eh?)