Before the sun had even risen from behind the horizon, I was in transition setting up my bike, shoes and helmet for the approaching race. I would say the one downfall of this race is the transition - although it is so big that it can easily fit all of the competitors in, they decided to put the entrance and exit (for the people who hadn't started their race yet) in the same corner as the bike in and out, which made for some close collisions between cycles and people!
Soon enough, the swim was upon me. All of the men's waves went off before mine, and it was only then, watching them go off, that I realised that this is what I was so nervous about, having not done a full 1500m in training since my op without stopping before this I was unsure whether I would make it round! So you can imagine my relief when they announced that the swim would be reduced to 750m due to the amount of mist over the lake!
But of course, as usual, luck wasn't on my side - I was the first female wave after the men, and just happened to be the first wave that had the swim put back up to 1500m! In a way though, this was better, because I now know that I can do that distance This was my only Standard distance Triathlon before the Europeans, so at least I have actually done the correct distance before having to compete abroad.
After finding my racking spot back at transition it was time for the run, the section I probably felt most comfortable as there was no pressure on my shoulder.
For anyone following my blogs, you probably know that the running was the easiest discipline to get back to after the operation, so naturally I felt quite confident during this race. The first 5.4km of the 10km race run, I felt amazing. I had a really good rhythm, long strides, breathing easy, and honestly felt like I was on for a PB.
You are probably wondering why I was so precise about the 5.4km - it's because at that exact distance (I looked at my watch!), the whole lower half of my body cramped. I don't mean the slight pulling of the muscles, I mean the type of cramp where you can't bend your legs and you feel like someone has poured fire in your muscles. Yeah, you know what I mean! PAIN!
No stress, I just had to slow down my pace a bit for the rest of the race, and although it was quite frustrating knowing how good I felt at the beginning, it showed me what I have to work on and how much more I can improve.
I think most of it was down to the fact that cycling on a road bike compared to a TT bike uses totally different muscles, ones I haven't worked before, so it just means getting used to the position of the bike and powering through it. Although comparing with another competition last year I am thinking of ditching the energy gels as this could also be a contributing factor. That's one thing about triathlon, its completely a personal race. What is good for one person is not necessarily the same for another person and over time things change within your own training and body and you have to learn to adapt, or change.
Overall, it was a fairly decent race, and I managed to get 4 minutes quicker compared to last year even with the super slow run and slower swim and not having tapered the training for a race at all beforehand.
However I managed 3rd in my age group and got on the podium - not bad for my first race back and the British Champs!
It is only about a month now until the Europeans, so time to take the training up a gear and ready myself for that!