To say that this weekend went well would be an understatement.
The last 3 weekends have been hectic, with the European Championships first, then Chester Triathlon last weekend, and then the Leeds Aquathlon and Triathlon the weekend just gone.
We travelled up to Leeds on Friday as it was a very long journey and I didnt want to be tired for my race on Saturday morning. The National Aquathlon Championships, a 750m swim and then a 5k run is the start of a whole weekend of racing ending in the elites on Sunday afternoon. I had my brand new wetsuit to try out for the Aquathlon, courtesy of Chalkwell Redcaps, which was taking a chance using it for such a big race but it was perfect in the endless pool at my fitting last week. The field of athletes was vast as we made our way into the lake but my wetsuit felt amazing on the swim, and although there were quite a few sections where I was dunked and kicked, I came out in a good position while reserving some of my energy as I had a busy weekend of racing. Then the run felt like Hell squashed into 5 kilometres!! I don't know whether it was from bad nutrition or if I am maybe lacking in iron again (I have had this problem before), but the whole way round I thought I was going to throw up and I forced myself not to stop and walk! Its a long time since Ive felt like this in a race. The run was over 2 laps and a hill in both sections and by the time I got to the finish line ( after a sprint finish that came out of nowhere!) I was ready for bed. But I had to wait for the presentations as I had no idea how I had done and that's one area that Leeds could improve.
When they finally started reading out the podium places, I was really surprised to hear my name in first place as National Aquathlon Champion! I really didn't think I had done that well!
After a race, (and especially after a r
ace that went well) I like to have a little 'spoil me meal' where I can eat whatever I want and not worry about how it will effect my training. However, I couldn't do that this time, because the next day I had the British Standard Triathlon Championships. But the trouble I had finding somewhere that did pasta dishes.
Sunday had much nicer weather than the previous day and perfect for a Triathlon: not too hot but not cold and rainy like the day before. It was a nightmare trying to get to the car park as all the roads we had used on Saturday were now closed off and we ended up dumping the car in a side road and walking to the venue - another 30 minutes walk. We finally arrived and I headed into transition to get set up.
As the standard distance of Triathlon is longer than a sprint race (1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run), nutrition is key if you want to make it to the end in one piece. So this time I made sure that I had enough energy snacks and gels to get me to the finish line in the centre of Leeds city. My energy levels tend to take nose dives during races and I have to re-stock regularly.
The swim was a little harder compared to the previous day because a) there was more of us swimming and b) the previous 3 waves must have had quite slow swimmers in them as we ended up having to slalom through them! There was a lot of jostling for places too as this was the qualifying races for 2018 so it was everyone for themselves today.
The same was said for the bike, or at least where the 'mount' and 'dismount; lines are on the bike course The picture below will show you the mayhem, but imagine over 100 people in my wave plus about 50 form the previous wave all trying to get on their bikes at the same time in no more than a 5 metre wide road; yeah, mayhem!! Quite a few people fell off their bikes as the mount line was located on the middle of a hill, but luckily, I managed to dodge my way through and out of harms way.
The bike course was really nice: two 20k laps around the streets of Leeds, on closed roads, which made it so much easier as we don't have to worry about cars trying to get past. The road surfaces were nice and smooth and I could see why the Brownlees were so good at the bike section of a race after training here. However the course was very technical so it did get a tad confusing for some.
After finishing the 40k bike course, it was time for the 10k run into the heart of Leeds. As it was just a straight run there, I had no concept of how far I had gone until I turned a corner and there was thousands of people on the pavements cheering everyone on. I always love it when people go out of their way to make our race just a little more fun, like when I saw someone with a sign saying 'TOUCH THIS SIGN TO POWER UP!', or the young children lined up with their hand outstretched for a high five - it makes the constant 2 and a half hours of racing just that little bit easier and pushes you on if you are flagging - which I certainly was doing as my second race over 2 days. What an atmosphere though.
I cannot explain how happy I was when I saw that finish line, and my legs felt the exact same! They went to jelly as soon as I crossed the line, as if they were saying "please, no more!".
Well, they definitely deserve a rest, because I managed to become the British Standard Triathlon Champion 2017!
In the process I also qualified for the World Triathlon Championships 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia! I think its time to start saving some money as that is not going to come cheap!!
Overall, this weekend has been a real success, something that I didn't think would happen!
I am now the National Aquathlon Champion 2017, and the British Standard Triathlon Champion 2017!
(Sorry, for repeating myself, I'm just really happy!!)
Now its time to prepare for the European Triathlon Championships in Dusseldorf in a couple of weeks time - but first on the cards - a rest and a massage!
I just want to take this opportunity to thank my sponsors who without their help I wouldn't be able to continue or achieve so much: Pedal Potential. Sovereign. Rippleside Metalworks. Chalkwell Redcaps.
Thankyou all so much for seeing the potential in me and supporting me in the sport I love.