It’s amazing what a difference a few days makes…. This race report would be very different had it been written on race day. A few days later the elation and happiness from winning my age category has somewhat changed; due to time to reflect on the race and being brought back down to earth going back to work, plus my self criticism and being k*kked on by my coach Dave, for veering away from my race plan!! Obviously I’m delighted with my result – podium is what I was aiming for and podium is what I got, and top of the podium at that…but I still should have done better!!
Arriving in East London on the Saturday morning at 10am had seemed a good idea when booking flights several months earlier; a good sleep in my own bed on Friday night, less time to build up nerves, avoiding stressed athletes for as long as possible were all on the plus side. The downside was that I had a lot to do on a day I was supposed to be resting and I missed the practice swim.
I was very grateful to be travelling with Damian and Trevor who have both previously raced at IM70.3; they knew exactly where to go, what we needed to do and they were very relaxed so were perfect to be around.
Registration, course recce, bike racking, race briefing and dinner all done I was alone in my hotel room on the top floor of the Osner. I looked out across the beach front where all was quiet…tomorrow morning it would look quite different…
Transition bags checked; shoes, nutrition and bottles on bike; wheels pumped; I headed down to the beach for a warm up swim. Conditions looked pretty perfect. No excuses for a bad race!
Starting in wave 7 meant a long wait after the pros started. I felt very relaxed, almost too relaxed!
I lined up on the beach with the 19-39 ladies and the adrenalin began to pump. Fellow training partners from Northern Embark wished me luck and seemed confident that I was going to win; no pressure or anything?!!
The swim went pretty quickly. I found I was being knocked by others up to the first buoy, and in hindsight perhaps should have been more aggressive to keep others away, but then found clear water and felt more comfortable. I didn’t think I had swum that well so was pleasantly surprised with my time when I came out of the water.
After quite a quick transition I was out on my bike. I loved the bike route! And my bike and enve wheels didn’t let me down. The rolling hills suited me perfectly. To be honest I didn’t really notice they were hills! My legs were feeling great and I was trying my hardest to stick to my race plan.
With not much time wasted in T2, apart from losing my sunglasses briefly, I headed out on the run. Determined to stick to my race plan I had my eyes glued to my watch. The wind was swirling around and the light rain was a welcome relief. I got into a rhythm and the first lap went reasonably well. It was great seeing fellow training buddies along the route and cheering from spectators. The second lap was different! My energy levels began to drop and cramping started. I knew I had a lot of people rooting for me and I didn’t want to let any of them down. The finish line couldnt come soon enough! The last 2kms were tough!
I didn’t actually know that I’d won my age category when I crossed the line so missed doing any finish line celebrating. I didn’t have the energy to celebrate at the time anyway!! I crumpled in a cramping heap and was nursed by my husband Pierre until I could get myself to the massage tent.
I was delighted to win my age cat, finish 21st out of the ladies and complete my first 70.3 but I know I have plenty to improve. I cant wait to go back next year!
I don’t think I got my nutrition and fluids quite right and it’s something I need to sort before IM in April.
A huge thanks to my sponsors (Celtic Bicycle Wheels, Gundle, New Balance SA and 32Gi), my coach Dave, my training partners and my husband Pierre. I couldn’t have done it without you all.