2 qualification races in 2 weeks which couldn’t have been much more different from one another in terms of my performance; Eton Dorney and Nottingham sprint Triathlons. Eton was always planned as my ‘A’ race and what I had been working towards all year as I had raced really well on this course last year and did a duathlon there in February to reccie the course, however due to a catalogue of errors it was my worse performance so far. Leading up to the race I had been feeling very tired and my arthritis had flared up which always saps my energy, I also missed what I now know to be a crucial bike session that week due to work commitments. I just wasn’t really ‘with it’ on race day and with no thought to planning I ran out of time to do a warm up pre race and also didn’t pay enough attention to my bike set up in transition which I later paid for by my shoe being in the wrong place and the elastic band dropping out of position and my brake rubbing on my front wheel. My swim and run where actually ok but I felt awful on the bike and just couldn’t push it and finished with personal worst on my bike split which meant I finished 2nd from last in my age group and behind quite a few ladies whom I’d finished ahead of at St Neots.
Looking to take the positives from a bad day, the sun was shining, the race photos were good and I learnt what not to do moving forward.
So, moving forward to my next race, which was Saturday in Nottingham, I ensured I did everything on my training schedule leading up to the race, wrote down my pre race plan, practiced the route and reminded myself that I actually do this for fun!
Holme Pierpont was a great location to race in terms of atmosphere as the multiple lap race meant there was lots of going past the spectators. Some of my fellow GreenlightPT team mates stayed to support as they had come up to race in the Outlaw Half the following day plus Mark and Oakley. I was in the last wave which didn’t start until mid afternoon and had 300 ladies (and 1 man!) in it. With such big numbers and given my beating at St Neots I decided to start the swim on the outside which meant that I had to swim slightly further but I did have a relatively incident free swim. T1 was slow as I struggled to get out of my wetsuit due to cold hands and it getting stuck over my timing chip and a near miss on bike exit as the lady in front of me fell over, then it was onto 4 laps of the lake and I rode my hardest and the headwind on the back straight played to my strengths, enabling me to gain places. I felt strong on the run but unfortunately the dreaded stitch that I seem to get raised it’s ugly head again and I had to slow until it had passed. The finish was great, down a gantry past the grandstand – a great way to finish the race. I was delighted with my time, a PB of 3mins, and finished with a smile on my face.
Unfortunately I chose the wrong race to do well at as the winner of my age group was 4th lady home with a great finishing time meaning that I didn’t get within the % qualification time to improve my placing after St Neots. So, it’s now a case of wait and see if I get a place for the World Champs. 20 people in each age group get to compete, I finished 17th at St Neots and 18th in Nottingham but my 25th at Eton Dorney had knocked me down the rankings, making qualification unlikely.
Of course I am disappointed and secretly hoping that I’ll squeeze in the team but it’s unlikely unless a couple of ladies withdraw as I think I am currently sitting in about 22nd place. When I set out in October to work towards qualification it was always going to be for a roll down place and at the time I was off the times I would have needed, so I’m not disappointed with my progress. I worked hard over the winter and have done my best within the limitations I have of time, resources and physical ability so I can’t ask for any more than that – there are some very fast ladies out there!
So what now? Next weekend I will be tackling the Jubilee 10k river swim (let’s hope it warms up as planned), I then have an Olympic distance triathlon as I’m interested to see how I perform at the longer distance, even though I haven’t trained for that, followed by the European Aquathlon Champs in Cologne, so time to refocus and keep motivated.