There are no words to describe the emotions that went through my mind as I crossed the finish line of the ITU World Championships in long distance triathlon in Pontevedra Spain last weekend… An uncontrollable flood of tears filled my eyes… I was in complete disbelief of my performance and what I had just accomplished. To finish second in my age group and secure a Silver medal at the World Champs was beyond my wildest dreams.
When I crossed that finish line, I had been swimming, cycling and running for nearly seven hours, well 6h54 to be precise.
6h54 mins… of racing hard, of focusing on each stroke and stride, of battling with my mind to keep pushing hard to obtain a podium finish….
I couldn’t even feel the physical pain anymore… I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else doing anything else… As I ran the final 100m of the race in the stadium, seeing the proud little faces of my children and Rob was the best I could have wanted for:)
It had been the perfect race and I had stuck to my race plan to the letter.
Highlights of the race in a nutshell:
- Swim: The water was very cold (13.8C). So cold that for safety reasons, it was decided by the officials on race morning that the 3km swim course would be shortened to 1.5km. I’ll admit to being somewhat disappointed by this as I have been training hard to improve my swimming over the winter months. However there had been issues due to the cold water in the aquathlon event a couple of days earlier (over 30 competitors had to be pulled out of the water with hypothermia), so maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.
The swim was tough, with strong currents mixed to the cold. I battled my way calmly and steadily to finish 5th out of the water (even though I had no idea of my ranking then).
- Bike: This 108km bike course was brutal. It is by far the most technical course I had ever raced, let even ridden: 3 laps of steep uphill and steep descents with sharp turns and narrow turning points. I was racing way over my comfort level.
Throughout the entire bike course, I battled with an American cyclist from the US Team (Jane Pilger). I was riding hard on the uphills generating strong power, only to be overtaken back on the descents. I was cautious on the descends as, on this course, there was no hiding my lack of bike handling skills. One of the descents was so long and steep that my speed was reaching over 38mph– I was petrified and so focused as I knew there was no margin for mistakes.
After 3h52min of riding, it was with a slight relief that I entered the transition zone. Not only had I managed to finish in front of the American girl (which was great for my mental strength), but I was now in 3rd place.
- Run: I felt really strong as I started the 30km run course. My legs somehow still felt fresh even though by then, I had already been racing for 4.5 hours. I held back on the temptation to run too fast early on and settled into a comfortable pace. My support crew of Rob and the children was situated in a very strategic location and seeing them at each lap provided me with so much positive energy. I was steadily closing the gap on the two women in front of me. I give in a little extra effort and managed to pass one of them and widen the gap with her. I was now in 2nd I never caught up with the lead woman, she was just stronger. I found out later on that I had only finished 3 minutes from the gold medal!
I will always remember the look on Rob’s and my children’s little faces as they cheered me on throughout the race and how they were beaming with pride at the medal ceremony that evening. Definitely a moment for us all to cherish J
Race in numbers (the Stats):
There is no doubt this was a team effort. As always, thanks to Rob and the family, as without them none of this would be possible. Also thanks to everyone who has helped make this possible, my partners: TriUK, CimAlp, Totally Wonderfuel, Cervelo, Tacx, KITBRIX, Jack my bike mechanic, all of you who’ve sent support messages (I was so overwhelmed by the hundreds of messages!). Thanks everyone!
#dare2dream #dare2be #ITU WorldChampionships