I’ve always been the kind of athlete that develops as the season goes on. I have a few mediocre races to begin with before finding my form and getting my race head fully in the game for a few months. On this basis, 2013 promised to be a pretty good year! In spring I was training the best I have been in a long time, turning out session after session, swimming, biking and running faster and stronger than I ever had before.
First few races ticked off with average performances, but I did start to get into racing form. Then BAM, first sign of injury. As I’ve said before, admitting you are broken as an athlete is not something that really crosses your mind. I struggled on until I reached a point where I knew there was a pretty serious problem and decided it was probably time to get things checked out. Cue the diagnosis of an injury I didn’t expect, and a long rehab plan pretty much writing off the rest of the season. My first thought was how angry I was at myself for letting it get so far out of control. This anger slowly turned to tears upon realising the hard work I put in over winter would now go to waste. I cried and cried, got angry at my friends when they tried to help me. But then it’s times like this that make you realise you don’t actually have it that bad! Nothing in my situation warranted me getting upset or angry. I needed to man up, do all my rehab exercises and put all my efforts into getting fixed and strong again. Sympathy from others gets you nowhere, and I didn’t want that. I wanted to be back racing, back training and back having the best summer ever!
I raced the Commonwealth Trials race in August (see my previous post) and despite having not done any running for 4 months, I was very pleased to finish 2nd. My run wasn’t anything to be proud of but I executed the race in a way that I was very happy with, and attacking on the bike proved to be the decisive move of the day. The following weekend I raced at National Relays which included a 5k run… Having ran no longer than 2k beforehand, we all knew this was going to be a bit of a challenge fitness wise and physically in terms of my ankles too! I posted a decent swim time (nothing to shout about, but nothing to be disappointed with), a bike split which I even surprised myself with and a run split that felt like a bloomin’ lifetime. I haven’t ran a 5k that slow in about 6 years, but I got round and helped the Loughborough Triathlon team to a silver medal. Two silvers in two weekends; can’t complain!
After the relays, I had one more focus for the year. My first XTERRA race! I was so excited to give this race a go, and having done a fair bit of mountain bike riding over the years I felt this was a long time coming! The week before the race, I headed out to Cannock for a few hours of messing about on the trails there. The trip was brilliant despite a slight mechanical and a few cuddles with the ground, and I gained a lot of confidence going into the weekend. Unfortunately the race ended up how no-one wants to end a race: a mechanical. I had led out the swim alongside Kathrin Muller of Germany and Jacqui Slack. The bike was technically challenging but brilliant fun until I hit a bit of a problem with my rear mech… race over! To be honest, it was probably a blessing in disguise as the off-road run would have pushed my ankles to the limit and I didn’t fancy ending the season in an ambulance…
And so, it’s time for my end of season break. I feel a little silly even taking an end of season break (have I really had much of a season?!). But it’s for a mental break more than anything. Since October last year I have eaten, lived, BREATHED triathlon and as much as I love the sport, I do need a break. I’m having a month of very light training just doing whatever I want, without a watch or heart rate monitor in sight. I’m enjoying lying in past 5.30am, filling my days with some awesome new reads that I’ve just found and having some adventures with my friends! I’m planning on going home for my parents’ silver wedding anniversary and am so excited to see my family. I even get to see my big sister who is home for a few days too which makes it even better! Before that though, I’m off to watch the World Champs final in London on Sunday and am looking forward to watching some wicked racing.
I’d just like to wish a few people some luck for their races (not that you’ll need it!). Firstly my best friend Lucy, racing in the Age Group Sprint World Champs race, alongside my other good friend Emily. Smash it up girls! Secondly, my Leeds lover Hev racing in the Olympic Distance race and the elite aquathlon – good luck! And the rest of the GB team, elite and age group; wear that GB suit with pride and race with a smile. The hard work of qualifying and all the training is done, now it’s just time to show the world what you’re made of!
One more thing (sorry, ridiculously long post!). I’d just like to mention a few people who have helped me so much through the hardest season I’ve ever had. My friends and housemates – sorry for being what I expect was a nightmare to live with, but thank you for dealing with it 😉 My competitors – especially Zoe (TeamZoli 2014, we got this), Soph, Vicky and Luce. My physio – thank you for fixing me and getting me back on track. My bike team, Breast Cancer Care Cycling Team – thank you for the continued support and the opportunity to race in some of the most fun races I’ve ever done! Looking forward to next year already 🙂 And finally, my family – you can’t choose them, but if you could I’d choose all these nutters anyway! You’ve been the most supportive people a girl can have, and I wish I could show you all how much I appreciate it.
For now, that’s a wrap. I’m off to bake a cake! 🙂
Over & Out,