After Tizzy I got back into the swing pretty quickly when physio Dee fixed me up nice. It was back to the 7 cycle session per week and some decent warm weather training in the SINI lab. Tommy pushed me on the Scarva hill, and Sleivegullion where we found a 17% climb. Who needs the Alps when you have Northern Ireland? Declan brought two heaters into the lab to recreate some heat and I was all set for Beijing. With a decent support crew in Dee, Chris, Tommy and Matt, myself Gav and young Ben arrived in good spirits. On the Friday night I sneezed 3 times in a row and took a Vitamin C hoping it was nothing. I spent all day Saturday in bed/ drinking hotwater with lemon and manuka honey feeling a bit shi**y. I was determined this course would suit me and the training I had done with the hills so nothing was gonna put me off.
(pic) Gav, Tommy & I took a bike ride to the great wall!
I got the worst start imaginable, followed by the worst swim ever- I got ducked under no less than three times and suffered a few nice bruises. As I got on my bike I hammered it up the hill and didn’t stop until we caught another bunch on the third lap. I stayed near the front all the time and was extremely happy with my bike. Although there was a small group in front, the 3 Emmas, Spirig and a few other hot favs were in my pack. I tried to run with Jackson on the first lap but didn’t have the zip. I managed to pick up speed on the uphills and on the 3rd lap picking off a few, finishing a credible 18th to match my London result, and with a decent run split. At the line I told Chris and Dee it hurt the most of all my races, but it felt great to be up there on the bike and in control. I felt so proud of the work I had done and thankful to Tommy for the relentless biking. Although front pack would have been nice, it was to me my best and hardest race this season.
Ben managed a breakaway on the bike (go u) but was passed by the fast runners and finished 30th in the U23 race, Gav made front pack and ran himself into 26th. I enjoyed a night in Beijing with my big sis Ruth who lives in Hong Kong; she and hubby had come to cheer me on. We visited Tianiam square, the Forbidden city and the silk market where I got lots of knock off stuff! T’was great to see my sis.
Gav, Tommy and I stayed a few days longer in Beijing training there as opposed to Japan as we knew we could cycle there. We arrived in Yokahama on the Thursday and we cooked. Boy it was nice to be in Japan, a very western culture compared to China. I only had a few quick hits of training that week as I had 7days between races, but I felt good. It was hot and Chris advised me to go out hard on the run (‘as if it’s a 5k’ he says!), as everyone would die off anyway, and it would be a procession from there. I thought I might as well try it as I had done it the other way in Pontevedra and that got me no-where. (pic Delly Carr ITUmedia)
I felt sick before the start somewhere between nerves and the amount of water I had consumed. But this time I was prepared for a fast start, and managed to be 3rd around the first bouy behind super swimmer Lucy Hall and Helen Jenkins. I stayed with them but not exactly on-feet until the second lap where they had a slight lead into transition, but I was still 26seconds up on the chase pack! Wow go me and my swim! With Lucy & Helen already away I might as well sit up and wait as I wasn’t going to catch them on my own. I had a wee drink and spin until the pack caught me. The course was flat but had 10 corners every lap. Tommys advice was to stay near the front, with seated accelerations so as not to waste energy surging or standing with the yo-yo effect at the back. I did, and I think it worked. It also meant I had good positioning into T2. I also took Chris’s crazy advice and went out hard. I took water at every aid station pouring it over my head in desperate attempt to cool off. Hewitt and Moffatt made an early lead, but I tried to stay with Helen when she passed me. I ran with Lisa Norden, Jackson, and Kate McIlroy on my heels for the most of the race. I tried to inject pace every now and then to burn them off as I didn’t fancy a sprint at the end. Kate and I dropped Lisa and Emma, and managed to pass Helen on the last lap who was suffering in the heat. Kate then passed me with 800 to go and I didn’t have anything left, just making it to the line at this stage would be nice please. A 4th place at a WCS is my best result this year. Totally happy with my swim/ bike/ run/ transitions/ attitude I think it’s the first time this year I managed to put it all together. And that’s what this game is about for me now. I know I can swim/ bike/ run well, I just have to do them well on the same day, have a good attitude in the race and have a wee bit of luck on my side. (For those of you are saying ‘what does luck matter?’ it matters because luck dictates how many times you get hit in the swim/ if someone crashes in front of you/ you get a silly wee injury that pops up the day before a race etc etc etc).
Sometimes things are out of your control, but you can work on things that aren’t- attitude to racing, being aggressive on the bike, having the mentality to stay focused when things don’t go to plan, believing that you deserve to be in the front pack, and at the front of the front pack into T2. Knowing that you can run well in hot races, cycle hard up hard hills, believing you still have legs for the run after a hard bike. I’m starting to believe.
2 races down and 2 to go in my round-the-world adventure (with 3 weeks in the middle). 14 flights over 6 weeks of racing, travelling and training. It was good to be in the one place for a while, but preparing for a hot race means training in heat. You’d think this would be fun, but running at 1.30pm in 40degree heat with no water was not fun. The wee Aussie chicks have one-up on me there and my 4x2k turned into 2x2k and make it back to the van before passing out. My Internal organs suffered that day. But other days were more fun. Gav and I stayed at the AAA Triathlon Training Centre C/o John and Jodi. Jamie Turner an Aussie Junior coach brought a bunch of ones there last year and we decided to jump on the bandwagon as we needed somewhere hot and some training partners. Both those worked out well and I got my ass kicked a few times in the process. We only trained once at the NTC in Clermont as it was quite expensive but the area was nice. I’d return for a similar heat experience or recommend it to a friend. Finding hills was a different matter in flat Florida. We were recommended to go to Sugarloaf mountain the steepest and longest hill in the area. A total of 2minutes 30s of riding time. Though we also used a hill in the middle of a housing estate that we got 50seconds out of. I hope it helps for Huatulco, the hill on the course is 19% at the bottom, so I’ve borrowed a 27 from John. I am ranked no2 in the race, but I’d never under estimate any of the junior athletes who haven’t raced much on the world circuit. Sarah Haskins is ranked no3 and I’m sure she’ll head out the beach-start swim fast. Maybe my surf-lifesaving skills from a former life will come in useful? Being highly ranked is pretty awesome, but there is also a wee bit more pressure as people expect something. I’d normally look at the other athletes arriving at the airport seeing who was there and what shape they looked to be in. I noticed one of the girls on the plane nudge another to say ‘look there’s that Irish girl’ made me chuckle. I fly out straight after the race for my final race in Tongyeong. I’ll only have 6 days between as I will travel forward in time! That will be a challenge of recovery. Optimum protein bar, ice bath, debuild bike, asics compression socks, fly (ok 2x flights, an overnight in LA and another flight), land, sleep, 4 days easy training before the last race.