Smile because it happened.

Don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened.

As the dust settles on a record breaking Kona weekend it seems like a good time to give a little end of season update. Incidentally today is also my last day of work (as I know it) but more on that in another post.

With aΒ  busy off season catching up with friends/planning next year and a disappointing race in Prague I didn’t find the inspiration to write. But now a summary of my final races of the season.

Challenge Prague

The build up to this race started well with a 3rd place overall/ Ful-on-Tri champion at Thorpe Park Standard distance. The water was HOT unlike Prague – what a Summer we have had! And the cakes were good. Also turns out you can fit a Cervelo P3 in the boot of a Polo without putting the seats down…..give it a try πŸ˜‰ Big thanks to Liam and Steph for coming along to cheer and also help with car jenga!

The week preceding the race couldn’t have gone any worse. A strange virus/stomach bug, a sprained thumb and a near miss car accident. The race that should never of happened. On the plus side I did overtake some pros and get myself to the front of the age group field within the first 20kms of the bike. After that….c’est la vie!

Prague is a lovely city, albeit very hot whilst we were there and it was fab to hang out with Berkshire Tri Club, Amy, Steph, Sid and Louise. Unfinished business, I’ll be back Prague.

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Contemplating Prague

Ironman 70.3 World Championships – Port Elizabeth SA

Four weeks later and I was on a plane to South Africa. I had a solid training block after Prague and recovered well from my injuries/illness. This one was the big one.

I actually qualified for this race with over a year to go. Now I don’t think I have ever entered/planned anything so far in advance. And still it was suddenly just a few days away. It seems you never feel totally prepared.

Deciding to fly out a week before the race was the best decision. Firstly all of my luggage including bike made it, athletes arriving later in the week had many more problems. Johannesburg and Cape Town were overrun with bikes and had to lay on a special cargo plane just to make sure all the bikes made it in time for the race. 4500 competitors arriving to domestic airport Port Elizabeth was always going to be complicated.

In the week leading up to the race, the main focus was on sleep (10 hrs a night!) and fueling. The food in South Africa is so good this wasn’t hard and several nights were spent in ‘Ginger’ eating the good stuff.

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‘It’s not cold!’

The training was done, nothing to be gained or lost in race week. Final preparations consisted of a few little swims, bikes and runs mostly with coach Imo. It was great to spend some time with my friend (and coach) too in what would turn out to be a pretty EPIC weekend for her.Β After a year of many ups and downs for both of us it was great to be finally in race week!

Nirvana were great as usual – highly recommended for sorting out all your triathlon travelling needs. They even planned a half safari trip for us and it also allowed me to meet new friends from Australia – shout out to Felicity πŸ˜€

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Cruising about with Coach Imo

Race day came and I was the most relaxed I have ever been. The water finally looked calmer after all the strong winds we had had. I managed to position myself on the second row of the AG 20-24 rolling start block, not that this made much of a difference. With AG starts I was soon swimming into and over earlier starting age categories…..I much prefer a swim time rolling start.

However best part of the swim was the wetsuit ‘strippers’. Literally someone who whips off your wetsuit for you – legend. Onto the bike >

The bike course was far from flat. It looked flat but it really wasn’t. Headwind for 38km, first 15km gradual uphill and then rolling hills until 50km made for a tough bike. I really tried to push on and I was very happy to get 8th fastest split. A far cry from Heathers epic split but it’s always good to know there is room for improvement.

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Enjoying the view?

Onto the run course and I knew I was doing well, I tried to keep my pace at 4.30s but my watch was doing all sorts of crazy things. I had some serious chest pains in the first 7km and I could hardly breathe in. Turns out I was actually running way to fast (legs felt good!) and the small hills at each end of the two lap run course soon came to bite me. It’s the World Champs though and as soon as I relaxed into the final 5km and actually started smiling, enjoying the atmosphere everything got a lot easier, faster and more fun. Again I feel there is so much to be improved on here. And its easy to see where I can go with my run.

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Running to the end of the season

In any case the overall time was still sub 5. And with a run split of 1.40 ish I can’t complain, especially after a lack of run training in the last year. Im also increasingly confident in my ability thanks to Sam Pepys coaching me through some serious gym sessions I feel more bullet proof everyday. In fact for the first time in my life I have been in the gym 3 times a week over offseason. And loving it – shock.

Goal Top 20 – Result 13th. Happy but more to come.

South Africa was pretty special with so many friends also racing (Bethan, Tani, Josie, Heather, Nick, Richie, Lori, Jon……etc). Safari was AMAZING. I love Penguins. Cape Town was also lovely for some downtime post race.

London League

Back to London and across to London Fields Lido for an early morning Aquathlon to complete my set of races and ensure a London League Series win for Ful On Tri. In fact we won the Mens, Womens and Mixed team prizes.

Ful On Tri and the people I have met at the club have been vital in improving my swim and maintaining motivation over the difficult months in the last year. Anyone thinking about starting triathlon or wanting to improve I highly recommend joining a club. Because who wants to swim solo on a cold winters night anyway right?

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What’s next?

We still have a big Team Hatch end of season party to come. But after five weeks off formal training I am into a block of swim and run focused training. I’m also in the process of moving out of my house in London and finishing up at work. Many plans have been made for next year, races haven’t been fully decided but it’s looking exciting. Watch this space.

This is also a good time to thank the now well oiled team I have around me:

Imo, Sam, Victoria, Cesare, CyCy, Papa Hatch and all at Team Hatch, Vicki, Steph, Amy, Amelia, Chloe, Julian, Anthony, Ben, Pat, John and all at Tuesday laps, FoT clubmates, Challenge Tricamp, Mum & Dad.

Thank You. Come in 2019.

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2018 Season, completed it.

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