Yesterday, I raced at the first of the Commonwealth Games selection events. I can’t quite believe I’m actually saying that after all that has happened this year! Only four months ago there were days when I couldn’t get out of bed as I was in too much pain with my back, so to be back racing at all is a dream come true (cheesy, but it’s true!). As an elite athlete, racing or competing is what it’s all about at the end of the day and the racing is my favourite part about triathlon so I couldn’t be happier to be back!
The race itself was held at Parc Bryn Bach in Tredegar, South Wales. I love the course at Bryn Bach. Tough, hilly, technically challenging and its ALWAYS about 5 degrees colder there than it is outside the park I’m sure! We were going to be racing over a very short distance (the distance that, should we gain selection, we would be racing in the relay event at the Games). Having been training to race Olympic distance races for the last 2 years, this was guaranteed to be a bit of a shock to the system! The week before the race I was working all day which meant I had to fit my training around the hours, which actually worked out pretty well in the end. It meant that once I got home from work, before I sat down to think about how tired I was, I could go out for a short blast on the bike or a quick dip in the pool and work on specific aspects like my acceleration. The day before the race I had a day off work so I could relax, pack everything I needed and take a good couple of hours making sure Bruce was ready to go. We left late on Friday night to arrive at our hotel at around half ten, alarms set for 5am and nerves kicking in already!
Race day came and the usual pre-race jitters decided to hit me good and proper this time. I could barely eat my porridge (this is VERY unlike me on normal days!) and I couldn’t stop shaking and panicking about things. I’ve learnt recently how to control this, and luckily I managed to sort myself out by the time I got to the race venue by listening to my pre-race track over and over again. A quick spin around the bike course dodging the stray sheep (only in Wales eh) and I started to feel like normal again and raring to go! I put my wetsuit on pretty early as it was so cold down by the lakeside, so having that extra layer seemed like a pretty good idea to me. The boys were off first at 7.30 and it was a super-fast race, which was won by Liam Lloyd, followed by Morgan Davies and Luke Watson in 2nd and 3rd.
Then it was our turn… The short swim proved to be very quick thanks to the fast swimming Zoe Thomas who stretched it out pretty well over such a short distance! I came out the water in 3rd and headed out onto the bike in 2nd after a relatively smooth transition. As soon as I was out on the bike, I knew I had to push it and really attack up the first climb. Luckily for me, only one other athlete, Carol Bridge came with me and we worked super hard to get a gap on all the other girls. The pace was intense and we managed to get a pretty significant gap of about a minute which was going to prove very useful when it came to the run! I dropped a bit of time in the run and was being chased down by two other girls from the pack behind but I managed to hold on to get 2nd behind Carol and a very fast running Ffion Harrett!
Overall, I was super happy with my race. It was my first full race since the beginning of the season and considering I’d written off this year back in May, I’m pretty stoked with my performance! It’s certainly kick started my Commonwealth campaign and I’m hoping that I can back it up with a strong early season next year after what I’m planning to be the best winter of (injury free) training ever! I’m back home in F-Aberystwtyh for a few days now, getting in a bit more dollaaaa at work before heading back to Loughborough for the National Relays. And obviously Loughborough are going to win ;). After that I’ll be getting ready for a very new challenge… I’m racing in the X-TERRA England championships at the beginning of September; my first experience of a cross triathlon! I’m pretty excited to be able to be one of the pro’s racing there and me and Rizzo (my mountain bike :)) are looking forward to tearing it up and seeing what we can do on that circuit.
For now, I suppose I should get out on my bike. Do some of that weird training stuff us triathletes are supposed to do.
Over & Out,