After an early start travelling to the Cotswold Classic middle-distance triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1mile run) we got the bikes out the car and sorted out what we will take into transition at the back of the car. Pumping up the tyres, lubing up the chain, filling up my water bottles with my nutrition and doing my final checks on the bike. I quickly made the decision to take less kit into transition as the weather looked promising so less is needed. I rushed over to transition, racked my bike and placed my kit out in the order I would need it. Cycling kit; my helmet, shoes and my race belt, would be at the front followed by my run shoes and run nutrition (a little bottle with Tailwind in). This allows for a quicker transition as I will not need to faff about sorting kit out of a bag when I am trying to be quick in transition.
My swim start was at 0620 and so I arrived near the swim start at just after 0600. I put on my wetsuit and started to do a land based dynamic warm up. At 0610 we had our race brief and then we were allowed to get into the water around 5 minutes before the start. This allows you to have a few minutes in the water, allowing you to acclimatise to it and maybe do a little swim around the start area. At 0620 the race started and I began with a big effort up to the first buoy before the right-hand turn so I wasn’t getting caught up with the main group. This allowed me to tuck in behind two very quick swimmers and I managed to stay behind them for the first 400m (this was a new 400 PB!) After losing their feet, I quickly found that I was leading out the rest of my wave. I kept in front throughout the swim and started to catch up the two waves that started 10 minutes in front of me. I was trying to keep a good swim pace and keep the best racing line. In the last 100 metres people from my wave started to overtake me. However, I got out the water with a personal best that was two minutes better than my previous PB. This was a massive confidence boost and it made me was to try and push the rest of the day as I felt in good fitness.
After getting out of the water I started to run to transition and I was getting shouted at to slow down but I thought I am racing so I need to get on and get onto the bike. However, as I was turning into transition my feet went from underneath me and I slid across the grass for about five to ten metres under the fence line. This was a shock to me as I didn’t feel myself go. Luckily, my wetsuit wasn’t ruined so I got up and ran to my bike. With a fairly slow transition, as it always seems, I was onto the bike.
I decided to start the bike a bit slower than usual and tried a more controlled approach to it – building up to speed and keeping it there. This bike course was very flat, allowing me to maintain a good speed. It was a two-lap course so I wanted to keep and maintain the same speed across the two laps. Very early on into the bike, I started to overtake quite a lot of people and I was thinking I have blown it and I have started way too fast – that was the exact opposite of what I wanted to do! However, I thought I have done it now so let’s see how long it will take me to hit the wall. After about an hour and a half close to two hours I realised that actually I haven’t slowed down yet. But as that thought came my legs started to slowly ache a little bit more every few minutes. I kept the speed up and flew back into transition number two. A quick transition (finally) put me straight out onto the run.
On this run I was trying out a new nutrition strategy and was trying a new pacing method. I started off at my desired average run pace, and ideally I wanted to hold this throughout the run. Similar to the bike, it was a very flat course which made it difficult for me to be controlled and not run off too quickly. My new nutrition strategy allowed me to run to a water station and then walk through, whilst walking I would take on my concentrated Tailwind product and then take on a cup of water. So, after the first lap of three I still felt full of energy and my pace was where I wanted to be. I was also very controlled in not letting myself speed up. On the second lap, I was informed by my family that I was only a few minutes behind my dad who had just started the run, so I worked on to catch him up. A few words were exchanged (encouragement of course!) and I carried on running as I felt strong. The last lap was also controlled which allowed me to have all three of my laps 30 seconds out of each other.
I came through the finish line in 51stplace and I came 6thin my age group. I was very happy with this was a build-up race to Ironman Wales. My finishing time was a new personal best by over 40 minutes.
Please don’t hesitate to email me any questions or advice that you have for me, and follow me on Instagram (see link at the bottom of my page) so we can go through our triathlon journeys together.