The first big race of the season was early April, The British Elite Duathlon Championships at Windsor Park. The week before I hadn't run much due to an injury in my lower leg caused by the overuse of a muscle. So going into this race I'd only run once in the past week. Not ideal, but nevertheless I was feeling pretty good. My foot was taped up and ready for the 5km run, 20km bike and 2.5km run. My bike preparation has been the best yet, something I've really improved on over the winter so I was looking forward to racing.
It was a narrow start line, around 4 rows deep of Junior triathletes, which made for a busy and hectic start with numerous people around me nearly tripping up. I was keeping up with the back of the first group for the majority of the first lap but after checking my watch at the halfway point and seeing a 7:55 for 2.5km I knew this was way too fast and definitely unsustainable so I had to reduce the pace. The second lap wasn't a struggle, but it was tough like all races are. I entered transition at 17:56 (there was a long run from the end of the run to the start of transition). Mounting the bike went smoothly and I saw a group in front so I made an effort to catch them, but with a hill the first thing ahead it was going to be tough and it was. After half a lap I caught someone who had dropped off the back and we worked together for another lap until being caught by a group of five. We were the third noticeable group on the road and we worked well together, but it was tough to get a good train going as there was barely a flat part on the course.
In the final lap I started to feel my calves cramping. On the final descent to the bike finish I put in a really hard effort to try to get some distance in knowing I might be slowed down if I got a cramp. I dismounted the bike and ran into transition, which was smooth, but about 200m into the run ..... OUCH! Cramps in both calves. I could barely stand and just fell to the ground trying to stretch them out. I got rid of the left one quickly but the right calf cramp didn't go away for ages. I must have sat there for 5 mins but after seeing some of the Junior women going past I decided to finish there and then. A really tough decision. I hate not finishing but sometimes a DNF makes you stronger. The fact I did not record a result in that race has definitely motivated me to go out in my next triathlon and get a good result. The next race is yet to be confirmed but should be mid-May with my next major race on the 27th May in Lisbon at the European Championships.
On the 16/17th of April I attended a talent weekend for Triathlon England at Loughborough. It consisted of an 800m pool swim on Saturday and a bike and run on the Sunday (20km/5km). The weekend also consisted of talks to do with health and nutrition, injury prevention and how to be a good athlete. The pool swim was tough for me as I am not a pool swimmer so with a time of 11:28 I was near the bottom. Normally being able to make time up on the bike I would have been confident I could improve, but with the circuit only being 2.5km long (8 laps) and a lapping rule in place, I knew there was little chance I'd make it around. I went full gas on the bike, but with the lead swimmer starting around 2mins 30secs ahead of me I managed four laps before getting lapped and having my race neutralised. They allowed us to finish the bike (with one less lap done) and do the run but I don't really know what that counted for or what they gained from it as 25 (yes 25!) out of around 55 Juniors were lapped. I ended up being ranked 41st, but many people believe in a real triathlon the results would have been completely different. This month will conclude with an interesting race this weekend. Steeplechase! My school has decided to enter me for a Steeplechase event at Harrow School in an Athletics competition so I am very excited to be doing that, especially as I have never jumped a Steeplechase barrier before! I will let you all know how that goes in my next blog but for now enjoy the gallery I have put together for this month's racing!
I must add by saying a huge thank you to everyone who voted for me in the 220 Triathlon Awards. Unfortunately I did not make the top 3, but making the shortlist itself is something I am very proud of and a huge thank you to everyone who voted to get me on the shortlist!
Finally I cannot thank my sponsors Pedal Potential and Zone 3 enough for their amazing support. They have really helped make a difference and with some new kit on the way, I really cannot thank them enough for their generosity!
See you all soon!