I got to the venue early in case there were long queues at registration but I was pleasantly surprised to find a very efficient team; within 2 minutes I had my timing chip, my goody bag and had my body marking done. Although this now meant I had an hour and a half to build up race nerves!
I was deliberating not wearing a wetsuit as the water was only just wetsuit legal but I made a last minute decision to wear it as I figured I needed all the help I could get! The seconds gained by wearing it would hopefully be greater than the time to take it off!
The first 100m went fine but after swallowing a mouthful of water and my chest tightening I opted for breast stroke for the rest of the swim. I can keep much more relaxed doing breast stroke and I find it so much more difficult doing front crawl. But with these sprint tris it’s a tough race if you’re not a good swimmer as you miss the fast bunch of riders.
I felt great on the 20km bike route! There was only a slight headwind between about 6kms and the turn around point. At about 8kms I managed to tuck in behind a girl for a brief moment of drafting to give my legs a breather but then seemed to manage to end up with a couple of others latching on and me pulling them along. I quickly managed to pull away from them and got into my own rhythm again. It was a lovely feeling cruising past the athletes on the return route. I wasn’t sure what position I was now in but knew I had moved up quite substantially from where I was when I came out of the water.
I was in to T2 before I knew it. My back has been giving me a little bit of grief recently so I knew I wouldn’t be able to change into my trainers without sitting down so my planned manoeuvre went pretty speedily. What I failed to remember though was that I had put a 32Gi tab in my shoe, so it would be ready for me to eat, so within 2m of running out of transition I had to empty my trainer of the forenamed object! Quickly shoving it into my mouth and trying to get my legs moving and my back loosened off. But with the hot conditions and I hadn’t drunk very much fluid on the bike leg, my mouth was dry so the 32Gi tab was like chalk in my mouth. I normally love these tabs but at this moment it hadn’t been a good idea! So as politely as I could I spat it out!
It was a fairly flat run route and I got into a rhythm quite quickly. I passed another couple of ladies in the first 2.5kms and with the route doubling back on itself I knew the next 2 ladies in front of me weren’t that far ahead. Striding out in the 4th kilometre I passed one lady and now I was closing down on the next lady. I think if we’d had another kilometre to run I could have caught her but I ended up crossing the finish line 20 seconds behind her. I finished 4th in my age category (30-39) and 6th overall in the ladies, excluding the elites. My time was 1:14:17 (0:13:18, 0:36:47, 0:21:38) so I was happy. 11 minutes faster than last year!! (1:25:43 – 0:15:28, 0:47:33, 0:22:41) Let’s hope I can take another 11 minutes off next year!