Unfortunately, I have to start this race report with a small disclaimer – I knew going into this race that I was injured, and there was a high possibility of a DNF or a very poor run. I’d had an ongoing battle with my right leg for about a month, and whilst it had become better under the watchful eye of my physio/radiologist, the issues that plagued me still weren’t right. Please note that 100% of the time, any coach worth their salt will tell you in no uncertain terms
that if you race while you’re injured you’re a muppet not to race!
But it was the last possible chance of racing a triathlon this season, so of course I had to do it!
An early start is never welcome but always guaranteed when you’re racing tri no matter what event you’re at. Fortunately, a great atmosphere combined with a scenic backdrop and good weather made it much more bearable. There was a mad scramble for the best spots when transition opened, and I was lucky to grab one of the best ones available. After setting the bike up in transition, it was time to relax and get ready for the race start.
Unusually for me, I was racing the sprint tri – as I knew beforehand my leg wasn’t going to make it through 10km of running, and there was a good chance it wasn’t going to make 5km either. But this made for a nice experience of being able to watch the Olympic race swim start for the first time in a year. I would always recommend watching them if you have a chance – the top Olympic distance swimmers are usually pretty good, and by watching them you’ll be able to get a good idea of what the fastest place to swim is!
For the first time in a while, I wasn’t anywhere close to being nervous for the start of a race – an unusual feeling for me but a nice one! Before the swim start I managed to nab myself one of the better starting spots on the beach, which led to avoiding the masses at the start of swim and set me up to be second out of the water. Luckily I had a fast transition, and came out first! This allowed me a lot of control going into the start of the bike leg. Unfortunately, I now had a gap, and thus a choice, to make. Did I go for it and see if I could stay away for 20km of cycling and hope I had enough energy to get through the run without being caught, or did I sit up and wait for someone?
Being a glutton for punishment, I chose the “go for it” option.
I was unlucky with this, as the group behind me worked very well together to close down the 30 second deficit. However a group of four is better than a group of one to save you energy and we all worked well together. We all rolled through the 20km of riding at a fast pace, but not breakneck, mindful that we had a run to do after this!
Coming into T2 I managed to sneakily get myself into a good position at the end of the group, and went into transition into the lead. An average transition into the run shoes cost me a couple of seconds but no-one was desperate to push the run pace out at the very beginning, so my blunders luckily didn’t cost me anything. As a lead group of four, we progressively wound up the pace until one person made the decision that it was too much and dropped off the back of the group. Almost in quick succession, another one dropped off, leaving 2 of us at the head of the race!
I was pretty comfortable
until my leg decided to blow itself to pieces until about 4km of the run. I was so close to holding on, but so far. A limp developed and let my fellow lead runner trot off into the distance without me. To add insult to injury, another of the group had put a herculean effort in and dragged himself up to me, and at about the 4.5km mark, I was sitting in 3rd overall. I held this position until the end of the race and promptly collapsed.
Overall, it was a good experience. Now going into two weeks of rest, I wouldn’t have changed anything (despite now ruining my leg and having semi-developed a noticeable limp as a result). The last race of the season is a special one no matter what the distance, and this one was no exception!