MT has fun at the seaside!
1 CommentThursday, 5 September 2013 | Admin
MT has a fun day at the seaside!Wow, what a week - starting with Dublin City Tri on Sunday (25th August) and finishing with Hook or by Crook on Saturday (31st September), both successful for different reasons.
DCT was a good test of how far I have come over the past year. There were very few names missing from the start list so it was a brilliant opportunity to race against the best girls in the sport at the moment. DCT is a good spectator course with a 5 lap bike and 2 lap run course. I had practiced the bike laps many, many times over the past few months, trying hard to improve my cornering skills and confidence on the descents. I'm not naturally confident on the bike, especially on descents (I think my love of climbing is partly due to the fact it doesn't involve much speed).
I love to familiarise myself with the bike route of a race before race day and have an idea of where I can push it and where to back off a little. It's always a little different when the adrenalin is flowing and the road is crowded with competitors but having some idea what to expect around the next corner helps me approach each one with confidence.
MT navigates the crowded road at the Dublin City Triathlon
I remember feeling really nervous last year as I slipped as smoothly as possible into the slow flowing waters of the Liffey. I barely dared open my mouth to breath for fear I would swallow the dreaded bacteria alluded to at the race briefing. This year the bacteria faded to the back of my mind as I fought my way through the first few hundred meters of the swim before settling into a good rhythm. I still haven't managed to nail the swim start and seem to end up catching people the farther I swim. Allowing myself the luxury of breathing through my mouth worked wonders and I took more that 5minutes off my swim time from last year. My day continued positively with my bike time over 9 minutes faster than 2012. I actually find the DCT course a little mentally stressful as with so many people on the course at the same time you have to be very aware of the sudden movements of others as well as concentrating on counting laps. I ended up not having to worry about taking on water or gels as I lost my speedfil bottle at the entrance to the park (my own fault as I hadn't secured it properly). With no water I was too afraid to take on gels as I find them hard to digest at the best of times. Maybe it was just as well on the day, to have one less thing to think about (though I wouldn't recommend it).
Maybe the less said about the run the better! I wasn't unhappy with it though. At the end of the day I was really pleased with the race overall. I did the best I could on the day. The standard is exceptionally high and it's brilliant to see the hard work of so many of the girls paying off.
Swim 26.17 Cycle 1.07.28 Run 45.01
Six days later I stood at the start line in Dunmore East, relaxed and rested. I hadn't felt quite right all week. Maybe I'm too unfamiliar with the aches and pains of racing or maybe it was a reaction to the return to school after the glorious training filled summer days (I am not looking for sympathy!) but I was not myself all week and probably had the easiest week of training since last October (holidays included). I had no expectations except to finish and amass a reasonable amount of National Series points (looks like the female club championship will come right down to the wire!) What a day for racing- we began to sizzle in the wetsuits as we walked down to the calm sea.
I'm sure spectators will affirm that it was a bit like a scene from Baywatch as we ran into the water from the beach start. I have no idea whatsoever how to dolphin dive and just started swimming as soon as I tripped over myself knee-deep in the water. Graceful as always! I felt like I was swimming for ages before we reached the exit and stumbled over the stones to the ascent to transition. I'm so glad there were no cameras close enough to the water to catch these particular scenes. I thought I heard someone say something about second girl as I exited T1 but I doubted that that could be the case. (After the race, I heard that Katie Fitzgerald, who is a fantastic swimmer and had entered T1 in first, had, unfortunately, had to pull out of the race due to a mechanical as she left transition.)
Out on the road I knew that there probably weren't many girls ahead so I tried to concentrate on getting my breathing under control as my legs were screaming with pain (objecting to hard work after a week off). I passed Ellen (Murphy) and knew that Derval, my swimcyclerun team mate, was close exiting T1 and spotted her behind me from the corner of my eye as we took the 180 degree turn at the halfway point. I wasn't surprised when she passed me as she is a very strong cyclist and I pulled back, taking the opportunity to catch my breath and gather myself. The wind seemed to be against us for the most part on the way out and the return to Dunmore East felt much easier. I know the course and am lucky enough to have visited the area often when visiting great friends. I knew that I could work hard on the final descent towards the village and the steep ascent into T2. I really enjoyed the descent and worked as hard as I could after passing Derval at the bottom of the hill to build a few seconds gap on the ascent into transition.
MT and Derval climb the hill back in to T2
I still didn't know whether there was anyone ahead but again I heard a few people muttering 'leader' in my direction. I didn't think too much about it. After a descent out of T2 the first 2.5km of the 7km run involve a steep and unforgiving ascent (which, along with a horrific cramp, reduced me to tears and a walk last year). I was not going to make the mistake of going out too fast this year. I even decided against taking a gel during the race for fear of the cramp on the hill. So I ascended with baby steps. I was sure I'd be passed at any moment but miraculously the only footsteps I could hear were my own. At the top of the hill I started to think about my cadence. I had felt unnatural and uncomfortable on the few occasions I'd run recently, so different from how I was used to feeling when running. I expected to feel the same on Saturday but happily I began to feel somewhat like myself again. My legs felt stronger than they had in a long time. I tethered between excitement at the possibility of my first National Series podium (let alone win), and the almost certainty that there had to be either another girl ahead or one ready to pass. I listened carefully to the breathing of those around me and quickened my pace when I thought I heard someone close. I dared not look around and just kept repeating positive words in my mind.
As I got close to the village I saw Peter, my coach (PB3 coaching) shouting encouragement having doubled back after finishing his own race. I looked at him uncertainly wondering which position I was in but daring not to ask. I really didn't want to lose at that stage if I was actually in front. With 100m to go I saw my husband and just had to ask 'Are there many ahead of me?' I was both shocked and delighted to win. Last year I was 17th! It just shows what's possible with hard work and the fantastic support of my family, coach and sponsors swimcyclerun.com.
Swim 15.20 Cycle34.50 Run 29.08
A huge well done to Derval (2nd), Marie, my T3 club mate, (3rd) on a great race and all my T3 club mates racing in Dunmore East and Mourne (our club championships) on Saturday.
I'm looking forward to Hook or by Crook 2014 already!