My first ever Pro race is in the rear view mirror and I’m very happy to say that I finished 5th. I’m writing this blog on my (delayed) flight home to the UK as I thought this would be a good time to reflect on the weekend I’ve had. The more time I have to think back on my performance, the happier I am about it. My biggest concern going into it was that I’d be a significantly long way behind everyone else. I wouldn’t have minded being last as long as I was competitive and felt that I deserved to be racing against the others. Ironman 70.3 Dublin was only my 3rd half ironman distance race ever, so when I came out of the water in 5th place I was very happy. However, things took a turn for the worse 12km into the bike leg when my water bottle and nutrition fell off my bike. This was quite a significant issue because I rely on consuming enough water and gels to get me around the course. I then had to spend the next few minutes trying to revise my nutrition strategy so that I didn’t burn out on the run.
After 20km on the bike two girls went past me, dropping me down to 7th. From then on it was a very lonely ride other than a few age group men drafting each other as they passed which made me angry. Riding through central Dublin and along the Liffey with closed roads and out into the country side sounded like a potentially lovely course. But in reality it was much the same as the UK, with poor road surfaces containing plenty of gravel and over 50 speed bumps!
I arrived into T2 feeling good but because of my issue with a lack of water and nutrition I was also worried about whether my legs would carry me to the end with no mishaps. I knew I had a lot of ground to make up on the run. I chased down two of the girls quite quickly, which put me back into 5th again. The run course was 3 laps and contained a few turns where you could gauge whether you were catching someone or not. Around 1.5km away from the finish I spotted 4th place about 30 seconds in front of me and I had been closing on her throughout the run. Seeing this really gives you a boost, but the problem was that she also saw me closing! I pushed as hard as my tired legs would take me but unfortunately she managed to keep me behind in 5th place, just finishing 17 seconds behind her in the end. Next time maybe…
To finish 5th in my first ever pro race in such a strong and competitive field gives me an immense boost. I also did a personal best time on both the bike and the run which is proof that my hard work is paying off. I’m hoping to go onto bigger and better things in the future but my first ever pro trophy will always be a special one.
My bike and kit is on its was back to the UK thanks to ShipMyTriBike. It was such a relief being able to hand everything over to them at the end of the day and not having to worry about dismantling my bike or my soggy wetsuit!
I can’t finish this blog without saying a huge thank you to Pete and Julia (and their dog Fifi) for being our tour guide, taxi and hotel for the 5 days we were in Ireland. It is always fantastic to share the race experience with friends and celebrate with them afterwards, especially if that includes pints of Guinness and chips! I’d also like to say a thank you to all my sponsors for your continual support. I simply couldn’t do what I do without your help.
Now I need to get back to work and prepare for the next race which is the Ironman 70.3 in Weymouth.