The British Championships finally arrived. I can’t believe it is the middle of August and I only have two races left of the season after this. The year is just flying by.
The Championships were part of Tri Liverpool and I was back racing in an Age Group competition, which made me feel a lot more relaxed in the build-up compared to the Elite race at London the weekend before.
I identified Tri Liverpool as one of my most important races at the beginning of year so I had been really looking forward to it. Despite my history there (breaking my collar bone in 2013) I love this race and the city.
We arrived after a very long journey on Saturday and it was rather windy. This reminded me of the last time I raced there in 2014, right in the middle of Hurricane Bertha! Fortunately, the weather forecast looked quite good for Sunday. I registered and racked my bike on Saturday in the Echo Arena, and also finally managed to meet the Co-founders of Yonda Racing – Angus Greenwood and Mark Buckingham. It was such a pleasure to finally meet them. They have both done so much for me this season and I really appreciate their support.
On Sunday morning I was quite nervous as I knew this was a big race and I also didn’t want history to repeat itself. I sorted out transition in the Echo Arena, desperately trying to remember where my bike was racked! We then made our way down to the swim start, fortunately this time with less nerves than the first as I already knew about the salt water and the jelly fish! It can come as quite a shock to people doing this triathlon for the first time!
The start was in the water holding onto a pontoon. This sounds quite pleasant but the wave included all women up to 34 years old – meaning a lot of us starting at the same time! I could hardly reach the pontoon, so when the horn sounded I got pulled back and ended up with a lot of feet and legs in my face – not the best of starts!
I also then found I was nowhere near the pack, heading straight to the buoy. The pack seemed to be taking the long way around to the right, so I made the decision to move off course slightly to try and stick with them. This worked to a certain extent as I ended up swimming with two other girls for most of it. I was pleased with this as they were pushing the pace. I swallowed rather a lot of salt water though which I was praying wouldn’t backfire when on the bike and run. The swim course is through the Albert Docks, which is a lovely setting for the spectators. However for us, all you really see whilst swimming is brick walls.
As we came closer to the swim exit the water started to get shallow. It’s at this point where you really start to notice the jelly fish swimming around you. Talk about an added incentive to finish the swim off quickly! We clambered out of the docks and up some stone steps. I then had to rapidly take off my Yonda wetsuit and throw it into a bag, before running into the arena. Fortunately I found my bike quickly, and made my way towards the exit. However, I almost ended up with my bike on top of me as I slipped running out of transition. I actually ended up having one of my best swim times of the year (hopefully the distance wasn’t short).
The bike leg of the race has always been my favourite part of this triathlon. It consists of 4 laps of closed roads around Liverpool City Centre, and thankfully there wasn’t much wind.
There were a lot of men already on the course which made it very congested, but this pushed me on to make sure I didn’t draft and get in front of groups as quickly as I could. Another woman caught me up and went past me quite early on, which doesn’t often happen. Naturally, I wasn’t having any of that, so we proceeded to keep pushing each other all the way around the course. I would go past her and she would disappear for a while then she would overtake and I would then push to get back past her again (without drafting I might add). I was slightly concerned that this might be to the detriment of my run as my legs were burning but I didn’t know how good her run time was so I couldn’t leave it to chance and let her get too far ahead of me.
I finished the bike leg and dismounted (in one piece) just behind the other lady. I instantly felt that my legs were tired. It’s never a good sign to feel that your legs are hurting as you’re just about to start a 10km run, but you just have to fight through it. My boyfriend was kindly shouting out positions to me so I knew I was in 4th place overall but didn’t know where I was in my age group. I passed the girl I had been with after about 1km of the run which was a good start! However, my happiness didn’t last for long as less than 500m later someone else flew past me. I tried to stick with her but she was far too fast for me. I didn’t know who she was or which age group she was in but I just had to pray she wasn’t in mine. I pushed on for the two laps of the run but it was really hard going. One thing that really helped me get round was some fantastic Yonda Racing team support on and off the course.
I crossed the finishing line, feeling relieved and emotional.
Firstly, I was in one piece and secondly I was happy at my performance. I quickly realised the girl who had overtaken me on the run was in my age group but there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. She had an amazing run. I finished in 2 hrs and 8 minutes which was 11 minutes faster than 2 years ago. I also had one of my quickest swims and runs of the year which I am really happy about. In 2014 I ran my fastest ever 10km in 40minutes, and on Sunday I ran the same course in 36minutes. It’s great when you get a clear indication that all the training I have done has been worth it.
Brett Halliwell who has only just started doing Olympic distance triathlons and is a fellow Yonda Racing team member also won his Age Group. I am so delighted for him as he deserves this success. Kirsten Cameron, another team member, was third in hers too. There were also other Yonda members racing the paratriathlete, junior, youth and elite racing. What a weekend of Yonda!
With less than a month to go until I will be travelling to Mexico for the World Championships, I better knuckle down and crack on with some training! Thank you as always to my amazing sponsors DP World London Gateway, Hireco, Yonda Racing, ACS_Mitchell, Ed Kirby, Paddock Cycles, Everyone Active, TrueStartCoffee and Threo.