My second ever standard distance race and a World Championship Qualifier. Obviously, I wasn’t there for a fun day out. I wanted to qualify for the World Championships being held in Edmonton, Canada 2020.
Dragged along all my fans. Mum, Dad, Nan, Owen (brother) and Ellie (Expected to be sister-in-law). They loved the 3:40AM start. Particularly when I left my tri-suit at home and Dad had to get up maybe just a little bit early to bring it in time. Essential bit of kit.
Weather was HOT and the course will hilly! Since Southport, Celia joined Team White. Celia is a Cervelo P3 time-trial bike and oh my dais, she is SO SEXY. Just a complete worldie to be honest with you. I am punching. I don’t know what she sees in me. I’m very lucky to have her. (Sorry for the cringe chat, I find it entertaining.)
This was our first race together and she is built for flat and straight courses. Leeds castle was not overly flat so potentially not the best maiden voyage for us both.
Swim was strong. Quite technical, around Leeds Castle Moat and included a run in start which was new. I was third out of the swim and out of T1. Had a shocker of a T1. My shoe fell off my bike. Not ideal but we did well.
Celia dug deep and stormed the bike, a good performance despite the hills and carrying a novice jockey.
The run. Oh hell, the run. It hurts me to even think back to the run. I still don’t know how I finished. The course was cross country and hilly. Cross country through hay meadows and woodland. I am asthmatic and suffer from hay fever. The worst combination together with a humid summers day. Physically I shouldn’t have made the finish line. I lost two places over the course of the run. My HR was over 200bpm and I was struggling for oxygen. Y’know. The essentials. Owen ran the last 200m alongside me and I promptly keeled over the line.
I thought I had dropped from second place to fifth or sixth on the run. Only the top four qualify.
This was emotional. During and after this event, I got a taste of what it feels like to miss out on something you have dedicated SO much time and all your emotion to. I finished feeling like I had had my heart broken. Both physically and metaphorically.
Turns out I actually qualified in fourth place.
Despite the reasonably positive outcome, I have taken form this race that it is not always going to be plain sailing and everything (heart, lungs and legs) were screaming at me to stop. Except my head. My head had other ideas and that is what prevailed. I set my mind to finishing and come hell or high water, whilst I was conscious, I was sure as hell going over the finish line.
I learnt a huge amount in this race, about technique and also about myself and my ability to push myself harder.
Two races down, the start of the season and I qualified for both the World and European Triathlon Championships. The beginner ain’t done so bad!
This coming weekend (15th Sept) I am finishing my season at Brighton and Hove Triathlon.
Heres to applying what I have learnt to my race this weekend and praying that my asthma keeps its ugly head at bay. That is one thing I am still working on; learning how to breath. Life’s essential hacks.
Fingers crossed, touch-wood, break-a-leg and all that jazz.
Brighton and Hove, I am coming for you I am just not sure I am ready for the season to end!