Two races in two weekends!
Now that all the travelling and racing is done - for now at least - I can finally write these blogs.
The first race was the European Triathlon Championships in Holland.
Moving up to a new age group is more daunting than I thought it would be, as I had no idea what to expect from myself or my competitors. Added with the stress of a confusing course (which this most definitely was), it’s fair to say that in the run up to the race I was a bundle of nerves!
We arrived on the Tuesday afternoon, four days before the race. It was weird to see the whole event being built from the ground up on the Wednesday, as I normally get there during the preparations. In a way, this made me more nervous – it was all becoming so real!
I had never done a triathlon that had a split transition before, so it took a lot for me to understand how they were both connected and the amount of time I had to leave myself before the start of the race. Added to the fact was that I had to cycle between the two transition – which were 7k apart – as there were no buses running due to roads being shut. Timing was crucial.
Once everything was set up and I had made my way to the swim start, it was an anxious 20-minute wait before we were called up.
I was the first wave to go off with a run-in beach start (running into the water when the start horn goes off, instead of already being in the water). I’ve always liked those starts, so I managed to stay away from the carnage of people diving on top of each other behind me and got into the front/middle pack.
My swim, as predicted, wasn’t the best in the group but enough to keep me in the middle of the rankings (not that I knew that at the time, I don’t find out all of this until after the race!).
from exhaustion and heat stroke. It didn’t help that the water at the aid stations on the run were made up of plastic bladders that were impossible to open whilst running! I think I must have only had one sip of water during the whole 10k run, and I was lucky to get that much. I know quite a few people that didn’t get any water during the run, and unfortunately that was reflected in most people’s run times.
All triathletes will say how happy they are to see a finish line, but I would have cried happy tears if I hadn’t been so exhausted! That had to have been the hardest run at the end of a triathlon that I had ever experienced. There’re not many times when I feel like I can’t carry on, but I must admit that there were a few of those moments during that run. But the spectators, and especially my parents running around cheering me on, made me pick myself up & continue – after all, I hadn’t gone all the way to Holland just to give up!
I managed to place 8th in Europe from that race, which I am over the moon about! It was a lot higher than I had initially expected due to most of the other competitors being 4 years older than me and even higher than I would have thought with my run being so bad!
There are quite a few things to work on, but with the World Champs not taking place until the end of August, I am confident that with Kris’ help, I’ll get there!
Look out for my next blog about the roller-coaster of a race that was the British Triathlon Championships in Leeds!