As I have explained previously, the idea of failure gives me the heebegebies. Failing at something is different for everyone and I appreciate that. We all have different hopes, dreams and aspirations. Some people see success as making it over the finish line, seeing how many tequilas you can sink in a night (often me), making it to the end of the week without having a breakdown (sometimes me), losing weight, going for a run, starting a family, finishing a book etc. etc.
For me, it’s about being competitive and being the best I can possibly be at whatever it is I am doing. Ultimately, that is what makes me happy (albeit sometimes very stressed). Equally, not achieving something can make me pretty unhappy because I put so much of myself into something, I therefore have a lot to lose.
One of the reasons I did not pick up riding after university is because I could not afford to be the best and as competitive as I would want to be and I found that demotivating. I could not just be a ‘happy hacker’. I suppose this could be seen as a failure or just an acceptance of external limitations and being realistic.
Relating this back to the Shrewsbury Triathlon; I had set my mind on a top ten placing and whilst physically I was no where near as prepared as I should have been, mentally I was pretty set on this outcome.
I arrived at the West-Midlands Showground with borrowed gear and completely clueless. Put my bike and other essentials into the transition area (commonly referred to as ‘racking up’ as shown in the picture).
I then set about getting myself ready to start. Put on my tri-suit, covered myself in body lube (chaffing is an issue – preventative application pictured) and squeezed into my borrowed wet suit; a surfing wetsuit meaning it generated more drag/resistance so put me at an immediate disadvantage (Obvs getting my excuses in early).
I took myself down to the start line where everyone was rocking their streamlined numbers and Garmin watches – all looking the part. Then there was me, looking like the child who forget their PE kit and was forced to dress out of the lost property box.
This was my second ever experience of open water swimming. During the race briefing it was highlighted that it is not uncommon for beginners to hyperventilate in open water. Excellent. Those of you who are familiar with the River Severn know that water clarity it probably not something it is known for. Visibility and therefore swimming on the right direction is challenging. Swim went OK, no biggie.
Hilarious. Watch the highlighted instagram video. Words can’t explain how terrible it was.
Roubaix (my bike) performed pretty well despite being ridden by a complete apprentice. ‘P’ plates would have been advisable. It was VERY steady. At this point I had ventured out on my bike some 10 times and riding without stabilisers was still touch and go. You’ll be pleased to know that we pulled through. Team effort.
Better than T1 but questionable.
Somehow pulled out a personal best (20min 19sec) for a 5km. Quite enjoyed it.
It was difficult to judge my placing as due to my inexperience, I was not registered in a competitive wave. I came out the swim first in my wave and from there on, I was just racing myself. There were four waves which started ahead of me. There were also a lot of fit and coached athletes taking part. My physical fitness was questionable.
Priorities – So on my way to get a post race pizza (SHOCK, thinking about the next meal), I looked up the race results online to find I had pulled a third place out the bag. Annoyingly, this meant we had to pull a u-turn and delay pizza for the podium.
If you are ever having a bad day and fancy laughing at some unflattering Instagram content at my expense – check out my Shrewsbury Triathlon 2018 highlighted story, as choreographed by my much loved brother, Owen (pictured).
Obviously I ran straight off the podium back to the local pizza joint where I replenished any depleted carb stores. Obviously I didn’t take my medal off all day. Nothing wring with a bit of bling.
So, thankfully my triathlon career hit off to a successful start and I caught the bug. It also meant I set myself some pretty high targets for the future.
Onwards and upwards.
P.S. Big thanks to my support team – mum, brother, nan, grandad, Beth and Karen (Beths mum/my surrogate Welsh mother).