- I received further evidence that my swimming is continuing to improve. I even got a better swim time than Lucy Gossage, who was the overall winner. On the other hand, it appears that my cycling is now my weakest discipline which is rather surprising considering it’s been my strongest for a long time. Having said that, I am starting to feel far more comfortable on the bike over 90km despite the heat. I certainly felt I’d improved since the Grafman event a few weeks ago.
- I finished as the 5th overall woman, beating over half of the pros & 55th overall including the men! I entered just wanting to see how I would match up against all the Pro women in the field, so I guess I now have my answer which I am extremely happy about. As a result I have since been awarded my PRO LICENCE! I really wasn’t expecting to achieve this so early in the season. I now need to figure out what it means and what my plan is for the rest of the year. A very exciting problem to have!
One thing I did manage to do well was sort out accommodation relatively close to Chasewater so we didn’t have far to drive to the race start. However, it still meant a 4.30am alarm call in the morning. This was made worse by the fact that the windows in our hotel room didn’t open so even without moving we were sweating and the pub next door had a (very noisy) outside DJ and BBQ. I expect not to sleep the night before a race but I at least like to have the choice….
Race morning :
The 4.30am alarm went off and it was already hot! I had to apply sun cream which was a pleasant change to being freezing on race morning. We headed to the swim start which was a rolling wave start after the Pros had gone off. This was strange as there was no bustling, no pushing and a lot of space in the pens which I wasn’t expecting. We then walked along the jetty and onto the pontoon which ramped down into the water and you could only get two people down at a time, very civilised compared to normal. So I half dived, half belly flopped into the water and off we went.
One lap of Chasewater (1900m) turns out to be rather a long way (another thing I’m not quite used to yet). I seemed to manage to follow someone who swam twice as far as me as they were zig zagging all over the place which was rather irritating as they kept swimming into me. So I was relieved when I went around the final buoy.
The run to transition was about 1-2mins on concrete road, so I was huffing and puffing in my wetsuit. I managed to find my racked bag, stuffed my wetsuit in it and rather satisfyingly threw it at someone to collect haha. Picked up my bike and headed out over a lot of speed bumps. Ouch!
The first part of the bike was quite technical, with twisty, uneven, hilly and narrow roads on gravel. It took me until almost 90km to trust that the roads were actually closed and not break coming up to junctions, which was another welcome difference from most races. The middle section was relatively fast but it still contained rolling hills. One pleasant part of the bike course was that there was barely any wind which is a rarity in the U.K. at the moment. The last section was extremely hilly, and I was completing this part at around 10am and by this point it was pretty hot! My lovely aerodynamic helmet acts like a nice little oven! Thank goodness for my speedsuit keeping me cool and out of the sun.
Needless to say I was very happy to arrive at Shrugborugh and start the run. As I came into T2 I saw Lucy Gossage flying along the run route so it was great to be running at the same time as the Pros. The run was 3 laps around the estate and through a local village called Little Haywood. I have to say a massive thank you to the crowd at the pub, I’ve never seen anything like it. They had a PA system and the streets were packed with cheering and music. I’m buzzing thinking about it. There is no denying that the run was hot but a lot of water went over my head (no sticky gatorade this time) which my speedsuit held really well to keep me cool. By the third lap it was boiling – hotter than Mexico, approximately 30degC .
Running down ‘Victory Alley’ was amazing. I was so relieved to finish and completed my first Ironman event! I didn’t know where I had come at this point because of the rolling waves. For about an hour it said I was 1st in my Age group and 4th women overall. By the time everyone had finished, it was confirmed that I’d finished 2nd in my age group and 5th overall. We then realised the presentation ceremony was at 6pm… a 6 hour wait for a prize giving ceremony is a little ridiculous. We were trying to find shade and keep hydrated but it was worth it. I couldn’t miss out on my first Ironman podium. They also confirmed I had the 3rd fastest run time of the day which I was over the moon with!
Now a new chapter of my triathlon careers starts… as Pro!!
I can’t thank you sponsors enough for their continued support along my journey. Thank you to; DP World London Gateway, Hireco, Everyone Active and Yonda Racing; Ed Kirby Physiotherapy, Takley Chiropractic, iambodywise, Copper88 UK and Massage Tech for keeping my body functioning and able to perform. Trustartcoffee and Kate Percy’s Go Faster Foods for fuelling my workouts. Fenland Runner for my Ronhill sports clothing and Alphawoolfe trainers, AkashaWellness, Funkita and Paddock Cycles.