I have never been called a chameleon before…! Haha winning the Outlaw middle distance triathlon last week, followed by winning the Scottish Sprint Championships one week later was certainly not expected!
Driving up the road on Sunday, we were exhausted! A whole day in the sun before presentations, the long drives, being busy at work etc etc made us unable to drive the full way on Sunday from Holkham (ok ok we were planning on stopping in Edinburgh to visit friends but close enough) but we gave up and booked a hotel in Sheffield last minute, thinking at least it’s early enough to get a nice dinner and celebrate ourselves.
Wrong. Everywhere was shut and Nandos had to do.
When we finally got up the road and prepped for work again, Kyle was starting to come down with something. I have never seen him that ill before! He suffers migraines, and the occasional manflu/CBA syndrome(!), but he was floored and in bed for 3 days straight with a virus.
I think I caught a little of it because I just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t just fatigue and muscle soreness. I physically couldn’t do anything in the morning but drive to work (not like me if you follow me on strava!) and everything, even typing, felt like an effort.
I developed cold sores, sore heads, and basically was forced to rest. Which probably did me some good.
On Saturday, Kyle’s best man Matt was planning on staying and Kyle persuaded him to join us the following day to watch my race (I think he REALLY wants to enter a triathlon now which is so cool!). But he was coughing and spluttering too! Needless to say race morning I didn’t have the usual pre-race nerves and jitters. I just kinda though, meh.
As in, it would be nice to see if I have any speed in my legs, there’s no pressure considering I am still recovering from a distance 4x as long, and it will be nice to see people.
The race was in Monikie, about 90mins from us (finally a race near-ish by!) so we left around 8am on Sunday with the hungover man-flu lads, stopped at McDonalds in Forfar for our usual required caffeine fix, and got to the race about 10am. It was SO BUSY. I thought I was early! But the car park was full and I may or may not have been last to rack my bike (sorry, Mum. I was organised last week!).
The women’s race was at 11.20am, so I did a WU (ie 5min run in a wetsuit, realised running in a wetsuit isn’t comfortable, so stopped and did 5mins stretch cords instead), then caught up with Sophia and just chilled with Kyle and Matt.
(Sophia was 1st junior and 3rd overall…I like to think it was because I sorted her strap that she smashed it 😉 !)
I wasn’t “pumped” at all! I needed the swim to wake me up! I felt heavy, slow and fatigued. But I WAS looking forward to the cycle. I LOVED the bike element last weekend and just thought “get through the swim and enjoy the challenge of cycling hard in the wind” (it’s a renowned windy bike course!).
I toed the line next to Sophia (she is a PHENOMENAL swimmer) thinking I could at least hold on to her feet. Nope. The gun went off and off she went. I found someone’s feet (afterwards I realised the field was stacked with swimmers…a few youngsters could break a minute for 100fc!) and hoped for the best. I exited the water 15secs down on the leader (Soph) in a group of 4 girls and just tried to run up the hill and into transition ahead of the other girls in my chase pack.
No issues this time and off I pedaled. Because we were the last wave, it was amazing because there was always someone in front to try and pick off! A HUGE contrast to last weekend, where I started with the leading men, only to go backwards as the cycle went on (and might as well have literally ran backwards on that run.).
About a mile in, I saw Sophia at the side of the road – her chain came off! I shouted something I hoped would keep her spirits up, and felt good so upped the pace to try and get the lead.
I passed last year’s winner after about 3 miles and never looked back.
There was a dodgy patch right at the finish, where the parked cars were that were too late for the over flow car park. cars were coming in the opposite direction, so I had to slow down a few times and let them pass. I was just hoping everyone behind me would have to do the same!
(coming into transition)
I enjoy the bike course at Monikie – you can’t hide in it! It’s an honest course, with decent undulations and super brutal weather. I’ve never had a calm day there! It had about a third of the elevation of Holkham last weekend, but no steep inclines so it keeps it fun 😉
My cycle time was 2 minutes quicker than last year over the 13.3mile course, so that was promising!
In T2 I got my shoes on no problem (hooray!) and off I ran. Now, before the race I was SUPER nervous for the run. What if my training sessions were just a fluke? What if I am just slow now? I hope I have enough of a lead on the bike to hold off any super fast runners (think Beth Potter at Blenheim!).
Well, when it actually came to the run (2 laps around a couple lochs) my mindset completely switched and I just thought to extend the lead and keep pushing, rather than pray that noone catches me. I ended up having the fastest run of the day by 25 seconds and winning the race by over a minute, which was EXACTLY what I needed given my injuries and poor performance last weekend in the run part!
When I crossed the line, I was happy I managed to pull off a good performance given my prep. Now I can say I’m Scottish champion at all sprint and the standard distances, which is promising for Commonwealth selection.
What was horrendous was at the finish area. I waited around for the next finishers to come in to catch up with them about the race. I went up to shake the girl who came in 2nd’s hand (she won it last year). She tapped my hand, turned her back, and left me in no mans land. I have NEVER in any race I have ever done (including primary school sports day) seen a sheer lack of sporting camaraderie. I’m glad a lot of people saw, including head of performance, Fiona Lothian. I hope she gets an attitude adjustment because we ultimately do sport because we enjoy it and people should be happy they are able to race.
2 years ago I didn’t think I’d ever be walking again, never mind racing again! Geez, people need to chill out.
Oo and just to compare from when I did it last year (albeit with food poisoning)
Swim: 10.58 (2016), 11.01 (2017) (oops, last year I even went the wrong way!)
Bike: 38.43 (2016), 36.07 (2017) (nice one!)
Run: 20.41 (2016), 19.17 (2017) (don’t judge – it’s cross country!)
Overall: 1.10.22 (2016), 1.07.21 (2017) (last year’s winner did 1.08.04 so I have to be happy with that time!)
Next up: London Triathlon in a couple weeks 🙂