We turned up, we raced… we went home – what a hard morning’s work…
We had decided that we would try to qualify for GB in Standard Distance triathlon on Sunday 13 May in St Neots – Cambridgeshire.
It had been raining heavily all afternoon and into the evening and even whilst I was watching The Eurovision Song Context whilst Matt slept. I kept checking the weather app in the hope that the rain would disappear… and it did.
And there we were… parked up, eating our porridge in a nice a warm car looking at each other, thinking the same thing … why are we doing this?
Into transition, racked the bikes, laid out our bike shoes and trainers… the wetsuit was already half on to keep us warm…. and then off to the start line. Matt was first into the water in Wave 2… I was Wave 4. I felt for Matt. The water wasn’t warm (13.8 degrees apparently) and the lake wasn’t calm. Matt doesn’t enjoy swimming but he’s improved so much over the last year. He was off. I stood there, with some of my club mates, who have been super supportive, and I think again, we were all thinking ‘why are we doing this’?
Time for my wave, Wave 4, all the ladies, all age groups. Into the water. It was cold. There were lots of us. I placed myself in the middle of the pack. Off we went.
I enjoy swimming, it’s my strongest discipline. Now, open water swimming in race conditions is nothing like swimming in a nice calm pool or even at the training lake. This was fight for your own space, take a few knocks here and there…. swallow some water.. try to look in the right direction and swim in the right direction. I had someone, constantly next to me… and every now and again, I would get hit on the head… on the back… on my legs… after a while I realised, it was one of my club mates. She didn’t realise it was me until afterwards. I was happy with my swim. It was strong in the conditions.
But I was cold… I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands and I now had to find my bike whilst trying to remove my wetsuit… that probably didn’t look all too pretty. I looked over at Matt’s area in transition, and his bike was gone, he had completed the swim – awesome!
Off on the bike… now before I go into how that went just a little bit of bike stuff…. The bikes that were racked either side of me… even in the whole transition area were speed machines… I mean… speed machines… costing an arm and a leg. My car isn’t worth half of what some of the bikes are worth. I know, some of you will say, it’s about the engine on the bike. But if you have a super duper aero bike, of course it’s going to go just a tad quicker than a road bike.
So out I went on the bike – trying to keep positive and wondering when I would feel my feet again. I was working hard.. and so was the wind. I enjoyed the second half of the bike more – I felt comfortable. It’s fast and furious this Standard Olympic Triathlon stuff, there’s no time to look at the scenery… or even just ease off slightly! You can hear the expensive bikes coming up behind you, they have a unique sound. It was nice to see Matt twice on the course as it was and out and back course. Matt smashed the bike – he pedalled so well!
Finished the bike… thinking, phew, that wasn’t so bad – back into transition, rack the bike, change the shoes – once again, fast and furious.. no time for a snack or to take your time.
Out on the run. OMG… my legs! They hurt. They didn’t work. They didn’t want to work. Every step hurt. I saw a team mate, Clare, she looked so comfortable. I decided now would be a good time to start taking my gels. My legs hurt. I tried to tell myself they didn’t, that I was strong. My body was telling me something else. I saw Matt coming into the home straight – he was pegging it. Once again it was an out and back course.
I can’t say I enjoyed the run – it wasn’t comfortable but I did it and coming into the home straight, seeing Matt and my club mates cheering me in made it worth while.
I was 2 minutes slower than my predicted time with an overall time of 2hrs 47 minutes.
Back to the car we went, we sat there eating our picnic watching people load their cars with their expensive bikes… and had the same conversation … ‘why do we do this’?
We came to the conclusion that we both love the training but are not so keen on the races. It’s been great to have Matt by my side, throughout all my training and coming along on the journey. He has improved so much in the couple of years, he’s strong and super fast!
Now, to get in, to represent Great Britain in Australia in September you have to be within 115% of the winning time within your age group. Both of us were outside of this with exactly the same percentage.
However, only 15 people have registered their intent to represent GB in my age group, so I might get a roll down place if nobody else registers their intent before the next 2 qualifying races in a couple of weeks. There are 20 places up for grabs. Matt’s age group is so competitive and his age group is over subscribed (more than 20 people have registered their intent).
So, I can either sit here and wait and see… or…..
Do I race another qualifier..?
I am going to race another qualifier… however, a shorter distance, Sprint Distance, 750m swim / 21km bike / 5km run this Sunday at Dorney Lake!
Please don’t shake your head.. I know you are.
As Matt reminded me yesterday, it was my goal for this year to qualify for Great Britain, so I have to give it my best shot.
I will still turn up on my little bike but this time, I won’t be intimidated by the speed machines around me or those in their flash kit.
I will do my best.
Determined V x