Well, that one was helluva learning experience!
Biggest eye opener: be on the ball in transition!!
Now, I know Carol loves the drama so – just for her – the drama for this event was that I hadn’t checked the printing on my new Aqua Sphere trisuit, and they printed “MOORE GBR” too low on the back! This meant that my Beyoncé bootay SWALLOWED “OOR” so it pretty much read “ME”. And “GBR” was pretty much gone!
(and this was a better view! ugh!)
We stopped in Annan on the way down, which meant it broke up the journey. On the Saturday, Kyle did a long run as he is back in marathon training, so I did some pre-race stuff and we headed down to Liverpool in time for check in. We went for a wee paddle aka sauna/steam/Jacuzzi at the hotel, then headed to the race briefing for the elites for 6pm.
Afterwards we went for dinner in Liverpool, stopped at a supermarket for some hotel snacks, then watched the Olympics on TV into the night! I wanted a late night, so I could sleep in – the elite race wasn’t until 3pm so I had only planned a large breakfast then food after the race.
I woke up at 7 (a 90min lie in to usual), so went for a 15min swim and stretch, and back up to the room to watch Bolt’s race on iplayer with a Starbucks (there was one in the hotel too!)
After registering, I met FREYJA and AKI!!!!!!!!!!!!! They drove up to see us all the way from Bath!!!!! AND Freyja is currently in RIO as reserve for the Olympic team!!! Her flight was on Monday morning – she must really like us! 😉 I really hope she gets to compete…she is ranked 12th in the world, yet was 3rd Brit in the qualifier so missed out 😦
Ok back to me…
Racked bike fine (pretty much copied everyone else), got a few photos, did a couple strides and headed to the start line.
Give Aki all the photo credit here – he is a keeper, Freyja!
The start line was pretty annoying – they let us warm up, then made us swim back out to then go back in. There was a lot of sculling around but it meant you got a feel for the water. Also annoying because I had picked a good spot on the end out of trouble, but by the time I reached the start line for the 2nd time, I was forced into the middle.
When the gun went off, I put my head down and sprinted for a good 30s to try and get some clear water. Julie, who ended up 5th junior(!), was next to me, and we were in a little pyramid just off the leaders. Unfortunately, whoever was on my feet GRABBED MY ANKLE AND PULLED ME BACK!! This happened TWICE!! I also got dunked, pushed back by the shoulder, and scratched. I ended up losing the front completely and in no mans land. I tried to fight my way to the front but I was really dizzy and swallowed so much water it was a struggle!
(me in the Aqua Sphere Phantom suit! See last pic – potentially just been grabbed/pulled back mid stroke!)
Swim time: 10.08 (just as a comparison, the winner of the race went 9.59, and there were a lot of people that made the front pack floating (literally!) around the 10 minute mark…grrr!
When I exited the water, I was disheartened, and I let the vicious swim get the better of me. Instead of running as quick as possible through transition to try and catch up with the lead pack, I tried to get my bearings and carefully walked up the steps. I genuinely didn’t think that would cost me much time – EPIC FAIL!!!
When I watch these races in TV, the chase pack usually tends to bridge a gap on the lead pack, sometimes even catch up completely dependant on numbers, quality of the pack etc. Well, I waited for said “chase” pack and ended up leading the entire time. When a marshal yelled that we were 30 seconds down, I shouted behind me for us to work together and catch them. No one took the lead. There was maybe one other that was trying to help.
I’ll admit, I DEFINITELY lost us time around the dead turns (something I have to work on), but I was really annoyed we couldn’t work together. Maybe they were genuinely tired and not able to keep up the pace, but when it came to the 3rd lap and the marshal yelled “1 minute 24” I was so angry I shouted “WILL SOMEONE PLEASE DO SOME WORK”, to which I got a girl ride up next to me shouting some profanities that I cannot repeat on here! Kyle and Aki heard us….they said I was so polite and got shot DOWN!
(The last one could be me getting shouted at for asking for help!)
I took my feet out my shoes too early and ended up at the back of the pack getting off the bike…another fail! And no one would let me run past them to transition (it was pretty tight to be honest, but I had hoped to catch up time on transition runs), so the race was lost by the time I got my trainers on (a speed I was actually impressed with!).
Onto the run course and I was running angry! I overtook all of the girls bar one that was in my pack within about a minute, then I focussed on picking people off from the lead group.
The run was three loops, pancake flat and the wind had died down a little. I actually enjoyed it! Chasing people turned out to be quite fun! But I ran out of time and only ran myself into 20th place. The field was stacked (a few Ozzies were over, and GB girls that unfortunately never qualified for Rio but were still out training at altitude with some of them!)…wonder if I was first full time employee?! That doesn’t matter come race day, though!
Run time: 18.49 (12th fastest of the day…not amazing but better than 20th)
Total time: 1.05.27 (winner was 1.01.41 – Charlotte McShane from Australia)
By comparison to last year, 5th place overall was 1.05.31, showing the calibre of this field (but it was raining!)!
I truly believe if I had manned up getting out of the swim, and fought my way to the front bike pack, I could have made top 10, but I have taken SO MUCH out of this race! I am disappointed, but at the same time super excited to practice skills, mounts/dismounts, transitions, cornering etc (all the things I put off!) so that hopefully I can tough it out with the best in the world, not just GB!
Afterwards, Freyja, Aki, Kyle and I went for fish and chips on the dock (and chocolate beer!) – how we never got a selfie I have no idea!
(from clockwise: Mississippi Mud Pie/Girl Scout Cookie cocktails in Liverpool Sunday night, the awesome rail service, the BEST sandwiches after stopping for lunch in Penrith, my tattoo STILL on my calves for our night out, cows blocking the road on my cycle in Annandale, and Moor Beer!!!!)