After staying in a lovely hotel in Nottingham, it was time for my first major adult race.
I told myself not to get stressed, or worry about the race, but what did I do? I stressed myself out when I realised just how huge this race was. The transition itself was 10 rows long and there were 1100 people competing!
The first run went well running through the beautiful Clumber Park grounds. It was quite a fast start as we were set off in heats according to our age, so for me, it was all the Under 20 women (quite frightening as they were 4 years older than me!)
The bike, however, took us out onto the main roads around the area. Along with the terrible side winds and constant hills, I think I could say that it was the hardest ride in a race I have ever done! However, I got down onto my tribars, kept my head down and went for it. I was keeping pace with the other girls in my age group for several miles, swapping places many times, however my calfs started cramping up (it can be really painful) with a couple of miles to go so I had to stretch them out, which put me out of the running.
I came into my 2nd transition really strong, but got totally disorientated when trying to find my number in amongst the rows and rows of bikes so I ended up getting really stressed running up and down. Eventually my dad arrived and shouted that I was in the wrong row (could have sworn I had gone down row 4 & 3 but I was in row 3 & 2) so finally finding my number. Racking my bike and heading out onto the 2nd run had taken about 4 times longer than it should have done.
I don't remember much about the 2nd run as I was so angry with myself that I pushed as hard as I could to pick back up some time, but my mum says I looked strong and determined and went flying out of transition.
What I have learned from this race is that nutrition is extremely important when you are competing for the bigger distances. Anything over 1 hour and you need to think about feeding your body back what you have used up, ie. electrolytes, fluids etc. I think I will need to practise this before my next race so I can manage to get all the way through a race without being in pain.
It feels good being back in competition again, although it is a lot different from what I remember from the kids races. However, I am getting stronger and stronger every time and with the week of training in Spain coming up, I'm ready for the next race:)