M.T. 2nd in Irish Middle Distance Chamionship

2 CommentsSaturday, 11 July 2015  |  Admin

Last weekend was busy but brilliant!  Friday,  we moved house. Saturday,  unfortunately there was a blip as Offaly were defeated in the football & hurling championship  &  Sunday,  I raced to 4th overall, but most importantly to me, 2nd in the National Middle Distance Championships, hosted by TriAthlone.

I am thrilled with the result. I felt going into the race that I was in decent shape & I was determined to make the most of the opportunity. So often, after training hard,  injury creeps in & prevents even getting to the start line. When you do get the chance to race, it is truly satisfying to be there, giving it everything you’ve got on the day.  

I was delighted that Derval Devaney, my SCR teammate, earned a place on the podium, producing an excellent performance from gun to tape to finish 3rd female overall. Derval was calm & consistent all day & deserves the title of Irish Middle Distance Champion. The top two podium places went to Alison Rowatt (Edinburgh) & Claire Shea Simonds (Leicester) both showing strength & class. It’s great to see international athletes travelling over to races here & helping raise  the bar even higher.

I suspect I’m not alone in my obsession with the  Accuweather app in the week preceding a race. “Clouds, thundershowers, some sun, breezy”….. I hoped with each recheck that this  would magically change to “plentiful sunshine” but disappointingly no such luck. Even Ken Murphy (TI Photographer par excellence) took a last look at the forecast as we stood on the riverbank listening to the briefing. Still thundershowers promised but at the slightly later time of 4pm. Motivation to make it off the bike by then!

12 o’clock on the dot & I was in the water, doing my best, most frantic doggy paddle in an effort to stay warm as 500+ athletes filed into the Shannon for the mass start. Maybe I’d been a little too enthusiastic as one of the first 50 or so to wade tentatively into the cold water. Another few minutes of shivering & we were off, heading upstream for 150m to the 1st buoy. All went well until I reached it. Somehow I’d managed to position myself in the middle of the 500+ swimmers all trying to take the 90deg right turn as tightly as possible. At the 2nd buoy I seemed to be in an even worse position. All around me arms & legs were flailing (as of course were mine). Unfortunately, I made the grave mistake of stopping, right in the middle of the mayhem, to fix my goggles, dislodged by a stray foot meeting my face. The people behind me, unaware of my decision to stop, ploughed on into me as they were perfectly entitled to do. Panicking I swam on, my arms feeling like lead, as I tried to calm myself down. If I’d spotted a kayak marshall at that moment I would have happily abandoned. Luckily for me, I couldn't see much though foggy, water-filled goggles & continued splashing my way cautiously downstream towards the swim exit, nervously avoiding contact with anyone else for the duration of the swim. I was almost delirious with happiness to be hoisted out of the river almost 30minutes later. At least I’d made it to dry land & was still in the race, though with a 32.51min swim I knew I must be quite a way down the women’s field.

It’s amazing how 90km (2.38.57) on the bike can fly by in a blur. All I really remember is the torrential downpour that started about 1minute after I mounted my bike. I don't think I’d even reached the 2nd corner. Briefly, I worried about the possibility that it might continue for the whole day but, thankfully, by the time I reached beautiful Glasson the rain was left behind. I worked hard but calmly on the bike, keeping an eye on my heart rate. It’s a great bike course, not at all technical, once you leave Athlone town. It was lovely to get down on the tt bars, concentrating on working hard & getting my nutrition right.

Heading out on the run, my legs felt pretty badly but I wasn’t surprised at this & kept telling myself that I’d feel better later. I had seen Claire Shea-Simonds heading out of T2 in front of me (her run speed was really admirable!) but I had no idea how many other girls were ahead of me. Nobody shouted my position so I guessed I must be quite far back. Still, there was a long way to go so I focused on just putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how slowly. The pained faces of other athletes along the route reminded me that everyone was suffering.

At the out and back section, about 5km into the 1st of the three 7km laps, I caught a glimpse of the girls in front. Rachel Glendon, Kitty Perle & Derval, all very close together (I calculated that I was about 4.5mins back), Lisa Dalton not far behind & Claire Shea-Simonds quickly closing the gap. I thought there may have been more British athletes ahead. Km by km ticked by & slowly I realised the gap to Rachel, Kitty & Lisa was getting smaller. By the start of the 3rd lap, I suspected that Derval was leading the Irish girls with Kitty in 2nd & I next. Finally, within the last 2km I reached Kitty. I knew that Jean Wallace was running brilliantly behind me & this gave me extra motivation to keep working right to the line. Crossing the finish line I was really pleased to find out I was 4th overall &  thrilled to verify that I was 2nd in the National Champs.

It was a lovely surprised to find my parents waiting patiently for me in tent just beyond the finish line. One of the most enjoyable aspects of triathlon is the support from family, friends, clubmates, acquaintances & random strangers! Partners, friends, interested onlookers who offer a shout of encouragement help make the endless kms seem do-able. Exchanging a nod or a word with other athletes gives a huge boost esp during the hardest moments of the race.  They all keep me smiling.

Thanks to http://www.swimcyclerun.com   for the continuous support. I’m proud to be part of the team.

Thank you to Karen Doyle at http://www.mapleclinic.ie. I always feel lucky to be able to avail of the combination of a fantastic sports massage & a great chat with someone so knowledgeable.

Also, thanks to http://www.elliptigo.ie  for providing the opportunity to train on an Elliptigo as I keep my running volume low. It has definitely paid off.

Lastly, major thanks to http://sportsmedireland.ie for coaching me to be stronger, fitter, calmer and more consistent. No mean feat!  

Image credits to Ken Murphy. Full Album here.

Image credits to Andrew Egan. More pictures from the races found on his facebook page here.

Check out Derval’s blog: http://www.swimcyclerun.com/blog/


Brigid McCabe
Saturday, 18 July 2015  |  0:07

well done Maire Triona, you had a really strong run. best of luck with the remainder of the season.

Derval Devaney
Saturday, 18 July 2015  |  22:28

Great race report Maire Triona ...love that last photo, and the smile on your face makes it looks like you were out for a short trot as opposed to an epic swim, bike and run!!!

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