My Triathlon Life Story – cont.
From 1st January 2019, I was taken under Sam’s wing. I have gone into triathlon wanting to see what I can achieve in 12 months and with the intention of giving that 12 months 110% commitment. If at the end of 12 months I had achieved nothing, I would call it a day. On the other hand, if I achieved what I set out to achieve, I would re-assess.
Sam and I mapped out my 2019 sporting calendar:
- *19th May 2019: Southport National Triathlon Championships and European Triathlon (ETU)Championship Qualifier
- 1st June 2019: Blenheim Palace Sprint Triathlon
- *30th June 2019: Leeds Castle Triathlon and World Triathlon (ITU) Championship Qualifier
- 4th August 2019: Prudential Ride London 100
- 1st September 2019: Shrewsbury Sprint Triathlon
- *15th September 2019: Brighton and Hove Triathlon and European Triathlon Championship Qualifier
*are what we refer to as my ‘A Races’. These are key events which my training is structured around and which require tapering. Essentially, tapering is reducing exercise (quantity/intensity) leading up to an event in order to reduce muscle fatigue and optimise performance. The others I just put myself through for lols and Sam just rolls his eyes.
As a general rule of thumb, since January, my weeks contain 8-12 hours of training and include 1 rest day.
I can hear y’all yawning from here! Chill, I love it. I’ll train and you guys can just come along for the ride.
19th May came around pretty quickly. January – May ’19 mainly comprised eating, sleeping and training. I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol for the 6 weeks leading up to the event (not that I can remember and if you can’t remember, it doesn’t count). I told you, the whole thing is a test of endurance and self preservation!
At this point, I had slightly more gear and slightly more idea. I had invested in a wetsuit AND elastic laces (both essential items). I thought that I was almost starting to look the part. Until I arrived.
I rocked up to registration with my treasured second-hand road bike (Roubaix). He was soooo unimpressed being racked next to a very fancy Specialized Shiv (just a c.£11k time-trial (TT) bike). I imagine he feels like I do when I stand next to my tall, tanned, gorgeous friend; short, stumpy and pale. Poor Roubaix is perfect in my eyes (although he is slightly heavy and slow but I don’t like to tell him that, it might hurt his feelings).
Southport was my second ever triathlon and my first ever standard (olympic) distance event. I was competing against athletes who had already proven themselves at European and World level for a number of seasons. I had just scraped together four full months training and this was the start of my first season. I genuinely had no idea what to expect and when I arrived, it was far more daunting that what I had imagined. Not only was it larger than I expected but other athletes had equipment I didn’t event know existed. I was pretty basic.
Before arriving at Southport, I had hopes of a top four placing which would ultimately enable me to automatically qualify for the European Championships. After seeing the obviously very experienced athletes prepare with all their equipment, I had doubts. I really was a complete beginner and felt like a complete imposter.
However, after an optimistic three hours sleep, a strong swim (including a mass open water start with 240 people in one pack), excellent performance from Roubaix (despite a head wind) and a pretty decent run, I qualified for the European Championships being held in Tartu, Estonia 2020.
I achieved third place but missed my spot on the podium – I didn’t realise I had achieved a podium position until they posted my bronze medal the following week!
Safe to say, it put a good amount of fire in my belly for the season ahead and set my own expectations pretty high!
Pressure for the rest of the season was on.
A special thanks at this event to my very loyal supporters: Mum, Dad, Nanny Lesley and Rebecca Oddy. Mum was more stressed than me the morning of the event and Roddy helped keep me slightly sane and focussed. The scale of this event was new to all of us and emotions were running high. Thank you all for putting up with a hot head.