I have written a lot of words recently... About 50,000 to be more precise! I am saying this, in part, to account for the time it has taken to reflect on the race, but also because, for me, UK 70.3 Wimbleball was as much about the before and after as it was about the day. I have been blown away by people's belief in me and the support I have received during this year. Many wise words from Pete, family, friends, coaches, physios and tutors have kept me going with both my doctoral thesis and my training. Thanks to all these people I got to the start line in great shape, both physically and mentally and all I had to do was stay focused, stick to the process, and enjoy the opportunity to see what I could do.
Beginning at the end
Running around the corner onto the finish line I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry... I just couldn't believe it was finished and I couldn't quite believe I had won!!
The run was tough, much like the bike it was up, down, up, down and up, down some more. I went out of T2 way too quick... A combination of suddenly being cheered around the course and my legs feeling like they were still spinning at over 90rpm made it difficult to slow myself down. Settling into a rhythm, I found myself in first place midway through lap one. From this point on a combination of stubbornness, amazing support from competitors and spectators alike, and an underlying belief I could do it kept my legs ticking over and focused me on not letting any females pass. It wasn't pretty, it really hurt, but I got through it!
The bike, much like the run, was 'rolling' (by this I mean hilly, very hilly)!! Coming out the water, the rain began to set in. This made for a wet, hailstormy and gusty first lap. Across the top of the moor, the field gates were sending me sideways, whilst the hailstones smashed me on the head! I was playing a good cat and mouse with all the guys on the second half of the course. They would fly past on the descent, whilst I caught up on the ascent! I kept reminding myself it was not a sprint, and 90km was a long way. Ride composed, stay strong and keep eating.
The nerves pre-swim were much worse than the swim itself. Being stronger and more skillful in the water is starting to make a difference and dare I say I quite enjoyed the swim in this race (first time for everything)! I swam well to the first buoy and had a good pack to work with. I finished strongly, which left me thinking could I go quicker? The answer is probably yes, but the swim was solid and created the base for what worked out to be a performance I am proud of and a performance I am excited to build on. I believe and hope there is so much more to come.
A huge thanks to Andy, I-Ride UK Powerbar, Huub, Thames Turbo and Everything but the Cow for believing in me and helping me achieve my goals. Super excited for the 70.3 World Age-Group Championships and exploring the Austrian mountains! For now it is back to training, working and staying fit and healthy to prepare as best as I can for the end of August and beyond.