I am back – back from representing Great Britain at the World Triathlon Championships.
This is going to be a very frank and open blog about my race… so grab a cuppa and settle down.
We landed in Brisbane after a long flight, there were other athletes on the flight, all wearing their kit – I was not. Why would I?
The GB Athlete hotel was different. It was on the Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise. A strange place – like the Blackpool of Australia. We unpacked the bike and took a wander. It still remained a strange place.
Monday morning – after a terrible nights sleep, we checked out the area, picked up some food and then headed over to the race venue. There was an amazing Olympic pool nearby so we gave that a go – 50mtr outdoor pool, what more can I say. We took a slow run back to the hotel.
Tuesday morning, it was time to meet the other athletes and hop on the bikes and check out the bike course. Nothing too challenging. I felt nothing, no excitement. Matt and I were tourists for the day and took ourselves up the Skyline to check out the views of the Gold Coast – that was fun. Late afternoon, I had to go to the Team GB briefing. I felt intimidated, I felt like I didn’t belong there. We had a team photograph and then Matt and I went back up the Skyline to watch the sunset over the Gold Coast. Still a strange place!
Wednesday was another busy day, it was swim familiarisation, registration and bike racking day. I checked out the swim course without my wetsuit as there was a 50/50 change it might have been a non-wetsuit swim. It was fine. I still felt nothing. We registered and then I racked my bike. We headed to the opening ceremony that evening and ate pasta.
Thursday morning – Race Day – it was here. I felt nervous now. I didn’t feel excited. We made our way to the race venue. There were athletes everywhere. Some people had already started their races. My race time was 11.30am. I popped into transition to drop off my running stuff, helmet, glasses etc. After a short while, I headed back just to check everything was still in order, my sunglasses had gone. I will presume they had been stolen. Apparently, this is quite common as I later found out. I was very angry. I headed out to find Matt who, thankfully, had some with him, I borrowed them. I was still very very angry. There was nothing I could do. We found a little quiet spot and I got ready for my swim, wetsuit on, and then the emotions surfaced, I cried. I didn’t want to race. Matt told me I had nothing to prove and just to go out and enjoy it. I so didn’t want to race. I felt a like a joke. I didn’t belong there. I couldn’t let those that had supported me down – so off I went. I headed to my pen with all the other ladies in my age group. I so wanted to run away. I met a lovely lady, Rose, from Mexico. She felt the same. I later found out, she had a panic attack on the swim but still finished.
It was time to race.
I made my way to the water – stood there thinking why am I doing this and before I had time to come up with the answer, it was time to swim. I swam well, I could have swum faster, but overall was super happy with my time. I exited the water and off to find my bike. Matt was cheering me on. I found my bike – there were other bikes still around me so I wasn’t last!
Off out on the bike after a long run through transition with the bike. The bike course was flat but it was very windy. I was out there on my own for most of it and my mind was telling me to quit, I found it tough but I kept going… I still had the run to go.
I got back safely, with no mechanicals back to transition and yet another long run with the bike to find my racking spot… time to go out on the run.
It was hot, my legs were not working. It was two laps of 2.5km. I ran the best I could and the happiest part was coming into the race venue after lap 2, seeing Matt, grabbing the GB flag and getting over that finishing line. I had finished. I was so glad to see that finishing line. I had done it.
I got my medal, I got some watermelon and found Matt.
We hung around to watch some team mates come in and then sat and had a little picnic. I felt like a joke. How the hell had I made the team. Those that were racing were super fit, I didn’t belong there.
I had raced hard, given it my all and my overall time was the fastest to date I have done for a sprint triathlon. But yet, I felt nothing, I didn’t feel happy, I wasn’t proud.
We picked up my bike mid afternoon and made our way back to the hotel. It was a slow walk. The race was over and now the holiday could begin. Matt had been so supportive leading up to and during the race.
We watched the Elites race on Saturday and Sunday and then headed up the coast for some quiet time together. We visited a Wildlife sanctuary, did some Whale watching and visited Whitehaven beach.
As I sit here and write this, it all feels very surreal, and yes, I still feel nothing. Maybe that’s just me.
Would I do it again, probably not to be honest. Been there now, time to find my next goal.
In the meantime, I am going to take some time out, focus on things that I have neglected over the last few months including myself a little.
Thank you all for all your kind support to get me to that start line. It was an amazing experience to be there, to see everyone race, team mates as well as the Elites.
If I can do it, anyone can!