I chose to race Deva middle distance triathlon, as Patricks brother lives in Chester, so I thought it would be good to combine a visit with them, and racing.
I didn’t have a good lead up to the race mentally, as life has been pretty stressful, with Patrick having a kidney infection, and us waiting for an MRI scan to see whether the cancer cells, that were found, are contained within the prostate. I was also feeling under the weather at the beginning of the week with earache and a cough and missed a couple of sessions, so I wasn’t sure if we would even go to Chester, but when Patrick got his antibiotics he started feeling much better, and by Thursday he had a bit more energy, so we decided to go and have a break from everything. If I raced, I raced, if I didn’t I really didn’t care at this point. We arrived Friday afternoon at an air bnb, which was lovely, only 5 mins from the race start and a whole house to ourselves.
On the Saturday we met up with Martin (Patricks brother) Jessica, (his wife), and their kids, so our boys could have some fun playing with their cousins, and we got to chat with family. It was nice to talk about things that have been on my mind, and to be somewhere different.
My alarm woke me up at 5am, which never normally happens. I’m usually awake beforehand, counting down the time to wake up, but the boys had been up late, and up early the day before so I was pretty tired, and maybe the emotional unloading helped me to relax a bit! I had breakfast and rode down to the start where I set up in transition and made my way back down to the river in my wetsuit.
The Swim. Garmin data here
The swim is around 1100m upstream then 800m back down. After the race briefing we jumped in, and had some time to swim to the start, to warm up. The water was 18 degrees. Lovely! I lined up close to the swim buoys on the left, and got a clear swim pretty much the whole way round. The swim was pretty uneventful. I felt myself enjoying it a bit too much at one point and reminded myself to push on. Laugh away at my exit photo!
You exit the river on to a ramp and then run up some steps into the park where transition is. Everything went pretty smoothly.
The Bike. Garmin data here
The bike course is 2 undulating laps, and you do a little extra loop on the first lap around an industrial estate. Most of the route is the same as the olympic distance course, and by the time you get on to the second lap, the olympic distance athletes are out on the course, which gave a bit of an injection of pace in to the second half of the bike. I managed a pretty consistent ride. I thought I must be way behind the leaders after seeing my swim time, and I hadn’t seen any women, so far, so I just stuck to my plan. My chain came off the front chainring a couple of times which caused me to stop, but I didn’t let it phase me. I also had a near miss, when the man in front of me decided to stop just the other side of a speed bump that we were both avoiding. Apart from that I just kept pedalling, eating and drinking.
As I came in to T2, I saw my family waving. Dismounted and grabbed my stuff to go.
The Run. Garmin data here
I was aiming for around 1:30 on the run as I knew it was around a mile short. When I started out I was running a little faster than that. The run is 3 laps, with part of the route on the olympic and sprint distance route so plenty of people to pass, and some crowd support in the town. When you head out of town the course is a grassy, and gravelly track, which was very dry, so quite easy running, and totally flat. When I reached the water station at the halfway point the marshal said I was 2nd female. I had seen 2 other women coming in the opposite direction, but one of them must have been an olympic distance.
As I ran back to town I could see the woman ahead of me and caught her up pretty quickly. I now thought I was in 2nd place but hoped that the marshal had been right, and that I was 1st! Now all I needed to do was keep running at reasonable pace and finish so I kept that thought with me, for the next 2 laps, managed some high 5’s with Patrick and pushed it to the finish.
When I got through I made sure I drank a can of coke. (They tell you to do this in the race briefing to “mitigate any bugs from the river” (my brother in law was ill after swimming in the river a few years back, after not drinking the coke!) I queued up to get my result, and saw that I had won. A very nice surprise, and £300 prize money!
Considering what had been going on previous to the race I was very happy with my result. It wasn’t expected. I thought I could win my age group but didn’t think I would win overall. As far as everything felt. I went on to autopilot once the gun started and just got through, as my coach said “the work has been done” It was good for me to have raced and I am grateful for the support that Patrick has given me. He wanted me to race, so I did, and he is so much a part of what I can achieve.