Stepping up the distance……
I went into this race pretty relaxed as it was a ‘training race’ but I still knew that when I got into race mode I would give it what I had.
The location was beautiful and the course undulating and at times on not such a great road surface. But very scenic.
I was completely unsure what to expect going longer other than to follow the plan Graeme told me to stick to on the bike and the run… just run!
The swim was warm being in a shallow lake, however, I found myself stuck between 2 people I just couldn’t get around. Not ideal. When I came out for the Australian exit, I was right behind another girl, only to hear 2nd and 3rd females out the water! I hadn’t expected that having had such a bad first lap. I knew Alice was in front, the girl is a machine! I got my head down and continued. Still not my best swim and a lot of turning around buoys at the top end.
After a long run, I eventually got into T1 and got everything ready to go out on the bike. I got to the mount line and 10m on…. boom…. The rear wheel blew. I was uncertain in the morning if there was a problem but it seemed to be ok. In hindsight I should have changed it and am annoyed at myself. Immediate panic! Pit-Stop out and no joy, the tyre deflated. I quickly took the inner tube out and some guy came running over to help, only the tyre seemed to get twisted! Eventually another girl came to the rescue and got it sorted only then for someone to let grab the chain when I put the rear wheel in and then let go, causing the chain to fold in on itself and off the rear mech. I had no idea where it was meant to go the way it had turned. Anyway eventually by this point over 10 mins had passed so I had calmed down. I was going to be at the back.
So I got on my way with a cheer from the spectators standing around- embarrassing cause I can change an inner tube quicker but panic had prevented this to happen! So the focus now was to continue the race. I got my head down and stuck to the plan. The first 2 laps on the bike I felt good, the last felt tough but I still got 3 great splits and not far off the winner in terms of the bike splits.
Onto the run, pain in my back didn’t help, but hey ho time to move the legs. I just ran! The first lap felt fine and I ran comfortably, however the hill was tough! On the 3rd lap that hill became a mountain and I was in pain. Not used to running that far my legs were really feeling it. But only needed to do it one last time then to hit the finish chute.
This was a relief. I was so glad to get around and grateful for the girl helping me out. I was not interested in my position but knew I had a solid performance despite the mechanical. However, after printing results I saw I was 3rd overall! Surely not! But somehow I was. I would have easily placed second had I not had the flat but that is life and these things happen only to learn from them. Now time to focus on my open water swimming speed and practise more puncture changes!
My second ever triathlon was Outlaw half 3 years ago, and compared myself to this throughout and how good I felt. Sometimes you have to look backwards and see where you came from. At Outlaw I was 5.59 on a flat course and a 2.10 half marathon whereas today without the puncture, around 5.15 on an undulating course and a 1.35 (19.5km). Thanks Graeme Stewart for having the faith. To feel so strong in all 3 disciplines was amazing. (until mile 10!). This is the distance for me and have some work to do over the months ahead to make me stronger and faster!