4 weeks to the Worlds

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imageimage imageTime always seems to fly by in the summer and I am only four weeks away from competing in the World Championships which will also mark the end of this year’s triathlon season. So, what have I been up to over the last two months since competing in Cologne – training, training and more training and a few ‘fun’ races thrown in.

The first of these was the inaugural ‘Isoman Triathlon’ – a different format of triathlon where all three disciplines are equalized, so in theory you spend an equal amount of time swimming, cycling and running. I entered this race at the beginning of the year as I thought it would play to my strengths of consistency and being relatively ‘average’ in the three areas. Turns out the format worked and all of my splits were within 1one minute of each other which earnt me the title of ‘most equal’ athlete over my race distance and I also gained the fastest bike split (female) – there were awards for the fastest on each split at this event as opposed to overall as you could choose any combination of the sports, so I was also competing against people doing just one discipline. I finished in a healthy fourth position and second female vet. It was an interesting and quite relaxed event which I enjoyed as a training race but I don’t think I’ll be back next year as the course wasn’t very inspiring and I’ve done more enjoyable races.

At the end of July we ventured over to Snowdon, this time for Mark to compete. He took place in the inaugural Snowdon Trail Marathon (a thoughtful Christmas gift from his wife!), which turned out to be a 29 mile run – a really tough event in horrible wet weather and the ascent to Snowdon Peak didn’t even begin until mile 21! I saw Mark off at the start and then walked up Snowdon with Oakley with every intention of getting the train back down as it was a bit too far for a 12 month old puppy and my bad knees. Unfortunately the train wasn’t actually running to the top as the weather was so bad, so we ended up having to walk back down too. Needless to say we had one very tired puppy afterwards. Mark did so well completing this marathon and even set his own record of only falling over once (in the last mile!), I was so proud to see him finish.

Earlier this month I went along to a bike race training session for beginners at the MK Bowl with the intention of developing some bike skills, especially as I am rubbish at cornering and group riding. It was a great morning and my objectives were achieved, I also found out how far I still have to go with my cycling if I compare myself to cyclists rather than triathletes – we had a mock race at the end of the session and I got dropped so quickly it was embarrassing, coming in a very lonely last place. Oh well, I can only improve from there!

This year seems to be a year of ‘firsts’ – I have also ticked off my first cycling Time Trial event this month, something that I have been meaning to do all year but just never got round to it with all my race focus. This was a 10 mile course and I loved every minute of it, I will definitely be back to do more next year and this year if I can squeeze them in before the end of the season.

Two weeks ago I competed in the Regional Team Triathlon Relay at Box End. A fun event for the Club, which saw GreenlightPT enter an impressive eight teams. I was a part of the Green Goddesses (we all had to have the word ‘Green’ in our team names) with Nicole and Jo, on paper a strong team of ‘veteran’ ladies!  The format was that we each took turns to swim, bike and run, so unlike other triathlons we had a break between each split. We were blessed with great weather and it was a great team event. To top it off the Green Goddesses won the Bronze medal at the event – not bad for a team of oldies! Adam and his team also got a silver medal, with all the other GLPT teams doing brilliantly too. I think we will all be back next year.

Then finally last Sunday I took part in the ‘Monster Olympic Triathlon’ in Ely. I decided that I needed a bit more practice at racing this distance before Chicago so looked for a race which would fall within the right timeframes. It turned out to be longer than a traditional Olympic distance triathlon with a longer bike of 44k and longer run of 12k. I did some rough calculations as to how long it should take me to complete the distance and guessed around three hours based on recent results. I had a quick look at last year’s results to see how this faired and saw that it would place me in the top three females last year so then thought maybe that time was a tad ambitious, especially given that I would be racing tired after no taper for the event. An early start of 7:30am and we were off for a 1.5k swim up and down the river. I was racing with the men in the same wave too so I decided to hang back a bit at the start with the aim to start off steady and then build, as from previous experience the men have a tendency to go off like rockets at the start and take no prisoners. This tactic seemed to work and I was able to spend half the race drafting and the other half over taking people. I could see I wasn’t far off the race leaders at the turn around point and put in an extra spurt, however I found myself constantly drifting across the river with the current and had to work hard to stay in a straight line to head for swim exit. The bike was flat and fast apart from a few sections which were described as ‘rural’ roads, bone shakers more like! The run was almost three laps of the city taking in the grounds of the Cathedral and the cobbled High Street. I really struggled to begin with and just focused on keeping going, trying to not let too many people overtake me – why do other runners always make it look so effortless? Suddenly with one lap to go (about 3k), I found my running form, I’ve no idea where it came from or why it took so long to find me but I suddenly felt very spritely and almost sprinted from then on, I was about 1k from the finish when I looked at my watch and saw it said 2hrs 54mins ish and quickly calculated that if I gave it my all I had a chance to reach the 3hr target, I sprinted like mad (luckily it was mainly downhill then!) and was delighted to cross the finish line in 2:59:32. Unfortunately not a winning time this year but I did finish 7th female and was 2nd in the 35-44 age category for the race.

I had been managing my training with very sore knees the last few weeks and unfortunately this race finished off my left knee so I’ve now to rest for a few days whilst it heals itself, fingers crossed it’s not too long as typically I am actually feeling really well after the race and ready to hit my last block of training before Chicago – everyone keep their fingers crossed for me that my body can hold itself together until then!

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