On Saturday, I competed in the European Aquathlon Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Slovakia is not a country I would have chosen to go to if I was booking a holiday, but it was surprisingly very nice. Although the language barrier was quite hard to get over as none of the words even looked similar to the English language and they tend to roll their tongue so they couldn't understand us (quite difficult when ordering a taxi every day!), The people and the area were really nice and friendly though and we must have looked Slovakian as they kept talking to us in their language. We stayed in a 'boatel' on the river with the view of a castle - it was beauitiful - apart from when another boat pulled alongside and clipped us and made the boat sway (not good with being on top of the water!!)
We were called out in Age groups and country and I just happened to be the very first triathletes name to be read out. I ran down the red carpet and onto the beach, but instead of choosing number 1 spot on the lineup I decided to be more central and stood in number 10 spot. It happened to be a great position to be in as I could see both side of me whilst I was swimming and I had a fantastic start. It is usually pandemonium at the start of a race when you start in the water, but I had a good sprint into my dive and managed to get in the front pack.
The competition area was a huge man-made lake set in the middle of a park, although, for some strange reason, we didn't use the whole lake but instead did 2x500m loops (although some measured it as being more like 1200m in all) We had to exit the water after one lap and run around a cone in the middle of the beach and dive back in.
The water was crystal clear, so seeing how deep it was in the middle as you swam was a little scary - I kept on having visions of piranhas coming up and attacking me after finding a dead fish before the race which had been 1/2 eaten!!
However, once the race was underway and the adrenaline started pumping, all of those thoughts left my head. That's what I like about racing, everything apart from the race ahead becomes irrelevant and you forget about your day-to-day problems (like A level exams looming). I'm pretty sure many people in sport would agree with me on that one!
The run was a pretty simple route: 5x1000m loops. It seemed continuous and became very monotonous and boring, but with the help of the crowd (and a very big group of British supporters cheering the whole time) it was a lot more bearable! I think the GB athletes and supporters even outnumbered the locals.
By the time we ran, the heat was up to 30 degrees Celsius and my asthma wasn't letting me run like I wanted to, but all of us Brits who are used to the endless cold conditions and no sun to train in, suffered quite a bit! Thank goodness it was fairly flat. I even have a tan line around my numbers, so I now have the number 209 tanned onto my limbs until I can get it covered ...or it fades if we don't have any more sun this year!!
I am very happy with my race, especially a 2 minute PB swim over last years race and even happier to come away with 4th place in Europe!
Congratulations to all of the British competitors - I think we cleaned up on the podium placings. And I'm so happy to have met a lot of new people especially all the girls in my age group - theyre a friendly bunch of girls. Can't wait to catch up with some at the European Triathlon champs next month. See you then girls :)
A very early start this morning to catch the tide meant that the water and outside temp hadn't had chance to rise so it was a very cold 14 degrees in the sea for my first run/swim/pub with the Redcaps.
We met at East Beach and I decided to start the first section wearing my lifeguarding wetsuit (easier to run in than my triathlon one) so a very quick 200m swim, followed by the first 2k run. By the second swim though I had warmed up and so had the sun so I ventured in wearing just my trisuit - which also gave me an opportunity to try it out for the first time before my Europeans (it was perfect!)
We swam and run along the coast finishing at Leigh beach by which time the sun was blaring down and we all had warmed up completely.
Total run of 10k and total swim of around 1000m.
Leigh was now very busy compared to how quiet it had been earlier but we all managed to get a lovely spot in the gardens of a pub where we spent most of the afternoon sunning ourselves and having a laugh.
A great days training and a great bunch of people. Thanks Chalkwell Redcaps.
I also managed to get a great photo with my new sponsor Glynn of Rippleside Metalsowrks...
My first 10k race (not as part of a triathlon) was a bit daunting as I didn't know what to expect. I usually start as part of a group of a couple of hundred in a lake and end running pretty much on my own out onto the 10k leg of the running discipline. However this time I was part of a very large group of runners from the start so I decided to place myself as close to the front of the pack at the start to give myself an advantage and not got caught behind some of the slower runners. I ended up finding myself at the very front of the pack! After the initial shock from the whistle going and catching me unawares, I had a quick look behind and realised how many people were hot on my heels. I kept up the momentum to get ahead as I knew we were about to go off road pretty soon - and not my favourite type of running. However due to the dry weather the farmers fields which had been churned up by tractors were left as large crevices in the ground which made it very difficult to keep up your speed as your ankles kept twisting. There were a few miles of uneven ground to contend with until we reached decent tarmac again, which I was very thankful for.
I was very happy to see the rows of people heading towards the finish - and my Mum who shouted that she had a huge piece of red velvet cake for me for doing so well. That made me sprint for the finish quicker knowing that was waiting for me! #
I was very happy to find out that I was 2nd female overall for my first 10k race proving that my run training is heading in the right direction.
With thanks to my sponsors for their support which without I would not be able to train, replace equipment and compete
Thankyou; Sovereign Pedal Potential Rippleside Metalworks
Thank you to my sponsors, Pedal Potential, Sovereign Play Equipment and Rippleside Metalworks. I have finally got myself some new, very much needed running trainers after mine had literally no support for my feet and had done far too many miles.
Turns out that the arches of my feet have collapsed, probably not helped by my old trainers, but after a quick gait analysis I & fitting,I was in and out of the shop with my new trainers in 30 minutes!
I had a 'fun' training session today with the Chalkwell Redcaps Beach Lifeguarding Team. In the 10.8 degrees sea water down at Southend sea front, we completed our own little triathlon: a run, then a swim, and then onto the surf rescue board! Forty minutes of continuous loops doesn't sound that hard, but I was bloody knackered by the end of it and mildly hypothermic!
I Even had the chance to practice my rescue skills... with my dog! She loved being on the board so much that I think she may be the next member of the Baywatch team (Would like to see her costume!)
I just want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Glynn at Rippleside Metalworks for becoming my new sponsor. Your help means the world to me & will enable me to replace some items of kit that was wearing out but I otherwise would have to make do with. It will also enable me to continue with my gym membership that I had cancelled due to cost which will mean I can keep up with certain parts of my training. Thankyou so much Rippleside :)