…..and DEFINITELY NOT the day to sleep through my alarm!!! 2.30am and I woke suddenly thinking that it was time, but after looking at my phone realised that I had another hour to sleep. Great…I thought. I then woke suddenly again but THIS time is was 4.20am!!!! 50mins AFTER I was supposed to have gotten up and eaten breakfast! After jumping out of bed and swearing a few times, I wolfed down my breakfast and completed the rest of my pre-race morning routine but as if in a fast forward mode! Now as any athlete will tell you, everyone has their own routine, their own needs and requirements that allow them to be fully ready for their event. Eating 3 hours before has always been my routine and it works so the fact that I ate 2 hours before sent me into a blind panic….it might sound crazy, but you’ve got to make sure that your digestive system is properly awake and ready for a 2-2.5hour race!! So, throwing everything into a bag (so glad I laid it all out last night) I jogged out of my hotel down through the shanty town, dodging the odd bicycle or rickshaw that would appear out of nowhere, toward the race venue, trying not to panic but panicking all the same.
This was of course time for a Mummy call. After a 5min calm down chat with Mum I felt a little better, still nervous but able to calm myself. enough.
Once I got to the venue I collected my timing chip, smiled sweetly at some guy to let me borrow his track pump, set up my transition area, went to the toilet, put bag into storage, and all of a sudden….everything was ok. I was ready and I had plenty time to spare. This of course was spent in the toilet cue again, but at least now I new i was ready.
Stepping into the holding pen with the other girls made it a definite reality and focussed head came on. Although it wasn’t raining it was still only 6.30am and blooming FREEZING so once onto the pontoon, sitting down on the edge and dipping your feet in was bliss. All too soon however we were in and the horn went!
I managed to keep a reasonable pace through the first leg of the swim, keeping a good sight on where I was headed, kept going ok until turn 3 turned in toward the sunrise and I could barely make out where I was aiming for. I ke;pt going hoping for the best and eventually, with one detour only, I completed the swim. 13th in my age category and 87th overall. Hmmm…
Now I actually still havent seen the results so can only say what Ive been told by my Mum. However throughout the bike I was able to creep by quite a few women, and finish with the 2nd fastest bike split from my category. happy with that! Onto the run and I knew my legs were hurting but I had a job to do! The three-and-a-half lap course was a brutal one with two very steep inclines thrown in. On the first lap and on the first hill, my left quad muscle began to cramp. I’ve never had this before, but after battling with an ITB issue on this leg I was nervous of it going. A quick 5sec stretch and harsh word with myself that even if it does go, there is no WAY of pulling out now! And I was good to go. Through the run I managed to keep overtaking some more girls however I was struggling to find the D category girls (everyone has their age category letter written on the back of their calf muscle). Passed a few E’s – that’s good cause I’ll be one of them next year! – and had a few encouraging words from fellow GB athletes and spectators.
Onto the final lap and at the half way turn point I glanced to see an Aussie girl about 200m in front with that D on her leg. I kept her in my sights, lifted my legs higher and ignored all pain and fatigue. I seemed to be catching her a bit but we still had a climb to go! Turning the corner into the ascent I kept strong and planned to open up my stride as soon as I reached the summit, no matter how painful…and boy were my legs screaming then! Running down through the stadium I was closing down on her. Making the U-turn into the finishing straight and I was 5m from her. I thought of all those track sessions with Ken and the team and broke into a sprint. I passsed her and kept going…scared to turn to see if she’d taken me on but scared to be pipped to the post. However the distance grew as the finishing line drew in. Over the line in 5th position, down from 13th and a respectable 16th overall from 87th after the swim.
What a race, and a good end to the season! (although I think I’ll still do huntly…just for fun of course). I’ve been desperate to see the results to analyse where I could improve, how much faster were the other girls, how do I compare to the age group above etc etc but perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise and a sign that I should enjoy this moment, enjoy the rest of my stay in China and leave the scheming and such like until I’m home…..
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank a few people who have really been key to me getting here and have helped me so much, to whom I’m incredibly grateful:
Ken Bryson – to my coach who has provided my with training programs designed specifically around my goals (one of which was top 10 finish at worlds) and has been instrumental to my progress throughout one of the busiest years of my life! Thank you Ken, I really couldn’t have got here without you
Ingrid Machell – My friend, my masseuse, my training buddy….your help and company, especially over the past few weeks with my hip, has been invaluable! I look forward to our end of season celebrations!
Mum – you are my hero. There are not enough words to express how grateful I am for your constant support and encouragement. You give me strength and help me focus when I no-one else can. I have always looked up to you and hope to make you proud. Love you lots. Here’s to the Lairig!
Adam – my boddam. Thank you for putting up with a triathlete girlfriend, who trains a lot, works a lot, and often falls asleep half way through movies. You’re always there for me, even if not in person, and I thank you for it xxxx
Dad – thanks for your support and encouragement. Thanks for believing in me and for your extremely helpful graduation present 🙂 Best bike bag ever!
….there are many many people who I am very thankful to, who have supported me financially, mentally, physically, who I’ve trained with and raced with who have helped me get that racing edge. YOu know who you are. I love you guys.
well I think that’s about enough for one post 🙂 Im off to get some shut eye 😉
Goodnight China, Afternoon Scotland, Morning America
Special thoughts going out to those you lost loved ones 10years ago today in 9/11 attacks.