It’s been a month since I had the performance of my triathlon career. A sixth at the Ironman World Championships is something that I’m proud of.
It’s possibly the first race that I’ve finished and not thought ‘what if’. To put my performance in a paragraph, I swam the swim I’d been waiting to swim all year coming out of the water only two and a bit minutes down, I biked with the confidence to let stronger bikers pass which allowed me to pull off a solid run running my way well into the top ten and finishing with no epic explosions and a sixth place finish at my first Kona.
Photo Credits: TriMax Hebdo
After telling everyone all season how my swim has improved only to put out the same swim times and come out of the water with the same group I was so happy to have the swim of my life just where it mattered. I’m very lucky to have moved to Bath in the last couple of months and have a great new set up for training. I now do all of my swim training up at Bath University with Mark Threlfall and his training group. Mark plans the sessions and the biggest bonus is that the majority of my swims are no longer solo! Over the next couple of months I will look to do more of my bikes and runs with the group.
My bike was nothing special on paper but went to plan riding conservatively throughout. This race would have been my first Ironman with power but starting the race it read zero. I figured that it probably wasn’t true and moved on to race again by feel. The thing I was most nervous about was over biking but as I was riding solo the majority of the way it made it easier to ride my own pace.
Photo Credits: Tririg.Com
Going into the run was super hot, everyone says it was hotter than normal but to be honest I had built it up to be a hot race so didn’t expect anything else. It did mean that from very early on I wasn’t running what I expected to be running pace-wise. It was disappointing, but then I realised everyone was running slowly and I was making up time. I think if you speak to anyone that raced they’re not happy with their run and I think that and the fact that none of the girls went under three hours for the marathon reflects how tough the conditions were.
Coming into the last 2km I saw Rob who was super stoked. To say rob gets over emotional when I race is probably an understatement. Rob told me I was well clear of the 7th place woman and that I could relax and enjoy the finish. He was wrong, Sarah Piampiano was running strong well aware of where I was! With 400m to go Rob appeared completely out of breath saying that I was being run down and I needed to sprint. That was possibly the hardest 400m of my life but enough to keep my 6th place finish. Next year I’m hoping to soak in the finishing straight a little more! My face at the finish line says it all. I was so relieved. After so much investment of time, money and emotion I was so happy to pull it off.
A few weeks on I’ve milked the off season, the first week we explored the big island, the next we headed to Sardina. I had planned to do Challenge Sardinia right from the start of the year, I didn’t know how it would play out only two weeks after Kona but going into it after a good race in Kona meant I had no pressure or expectations! A win was a nice surprise and now my pre race prep will now involve very little training and lots of wine! Post Sardinia it’s been amazing to back in the UK, I’ve been gifted with proper November weather. I’ve seen lots of old friends and drank far too much.
Tomorrow I start back to some kind of training. Nothing too hectic but it’s probably about time to increase the ratio of training to sofa time and water to wine intake. In January I will do South Africa 70.3 and I’m still deciding on which Ironman to do. Ironman South Africa makes sense as half my family are out there, but I also wouldn’t mind something new…
For now, I’m off to enjoy my last day of inactivity.