With this being my first International adult competition in the Triathlon world, I was expecting it to be hard both physically and mentally, but what I wasn't expecting was to come back as a European Silver Medallist!
To say I was nervous is an understatement! People always say that you shouldn't show your competitors that you are nervous, but I'm pretty sure they knew from the look on my face when I finally saw the whole competition area being put together!
The swim was situated in the marina next to the river, so luckily there was no current to pull me off course. However, I was already preoccupied with the distance of the swim to worry about the current; 1000m is the furthest I have swam in a multi--event sport before, so this was a real challenge for me. I didn't hit my target time that Perry had set me unfortunately, but it gave me the opportunity to realise that I need to improve on my open water swimming without a wetsuit. The swim out went well and I kept up with the top group, but the swim back into the marina seemed so much harder as my arms were aching from the pull of the wetsuit - I realised that I would have been better without it at this point. I came in just behind the front group, in a trio of swimmers. I didnt know where my other competitors were but I decided to make up the downfall on the run section.
However, before getting to transition I had a very wobbly pontoon to get out the river onto which sank with the weight of more than one person, then a long decking run and up the highest and steepest set of steps Ive ever seen - it was knackering just getting to the top of them let alone a further 100 metres run into transition.
My wetsuit came off really quickly and my total transition time was 50 seconds! Not bad - now for the 5k run.
The run was a simple out-and-back, 2-lap course along the river side, with the added bonus of the turn-around point being the Lindt Chocolate Museum (it was a real temptation whilst running!) We were protected by surrounding buildings, so there was no wind to run against, but it was still 23 degrees Celsius which made it very uncomfortable to run in and my asthma played up a bit.
At this point I didn't realise that I was in 2nd place until my mum started shouting excitedly. I couldn't see the girl in first place until she ran back the opposite way going into her 2nd lap. She was about a minute in front of me, but I could tell she was struggling.
By the time I was running into the finish line, she was only 11 seconds in front of me! Gutted - I just didnt have enough to catch her - still I'd caught up well. But being the youngest in my age group, I realised that the other athletes are a lot stronger and have a lot more experience than me, so all in all I think I did the best I could at the time... but next year I will be going or GOLD!
The finish line was very glamorous with a red carpet leading you over the finish line and a huge arch that you had to run under. And being cheered all the way in by all the GB supporters was a fantastic experience.
The only reason why I remember that part specifically is because it was the best feeling ever to run over that line knowing that I am a European Silver Medallist!!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my sponsors, Sovereign Play Equipment and Pedal Potential for helping me with the crucial funding to get there and to compete, and also to PAS for the important fuelling I needed during the race. Please see my link to my Sponsors and supporters above.
Also, a huge thank you to Perry, my coach, for DRIVING to Germany ( I know, he's crazy!) to support both me and Seb. He is an amazing coach and I have him to thank for talking me into going back into Triathlon. I wouldnt be a silver medalist if he hadn't seen my potential and convinced me to come back. And I am so glad that he did.
And well done Seb Garry for your great race in Germany too - 4th place in the European Champs and the youngest competitor by far in his group.
Now the hard work to get fit and ready for Chicago in September!!