Rachel takes 3rd at the Joey Hannon Tri
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 | Admin
It seems like the racing season got underway a while ago, as I have been competing on the bike with Nenagh Cycling Club since February. I have done five bike races so far: one men’s event, a general ladies race, two rounds of the Women’s National League and my first ever stage race. They’ve definitely been a challenge, both physically and mentally. It’s very different responding to the surges of a peloton, as opposed to setting your own steady pace. There isn’t really a comfortable moment in bike racing, as you’re constantly jostling position and waiting for the next injection of speed. Still, I’ve been enjoying and benefitting from the experience.
Now that the triathlon season is underway, there has been a shift in focus to competing for Limerick Triathlon Club. First on the calendar was the Joey Hannon Olympic race, which I completed yesterday. It’s been an up-and-down few weeks in terms of training, as I had a three-week absence from the pool and a slight dip in my running (probably do to excessive bike racing). Still, I was ready to give my all on Sunday morning and see where that took me. My approach is always to give 100% and not be overly concerned about the competition. After all, I can’t control my opponents. If I cross the finish line and know I did my best, I’m always happy with my performance. A podium is a bonus, not a priority. I have maintained that mindset quite consistently throughout my triathlon career, which has resulted in very few disappointments.
My race got underway just after 10:30am. Luckily, with the timing of the wave-starts, I was able to watch my mom participate in her second try-a-tri before getting into the water myself. She blitzed her time from last year so I was delighted for her. My 1500m swim took 27:28, which is not a marvelous time but perhaps a true reflection of where my swimming is right now. I was in the fastest lane so I didn’t have to worry about overtaking anyone; I was the one being overtaken with regularity. Myself and another guy took turns leading our duo and exited at the same time. After a quick transition, I mounted my bike and took off on the 38km route. After passing a collection of athletes early on, the field thinned out and I found myself with a lot of open road. I moved into second place very quickly but was significantly behind first place, as Carolyn Hayes had finished her swim over seven minutes ahead of me. She would hold onto first place for the day, meaning that second was in my sights on two wheels and two feet. I had a solid bike, arriving in T2 with a 1:04:10 split. For some reason, my feet were freezing when I dismounted so I ran very tenderly through transition, adding unwanted seconds to my time. I started the two-lap 10km run knowing that I only had a small lead on the third place woman. I tried to settle into my run and up my pace but I never really got comfortable. I couldn’t calm my breathing and was very unhappy to get a stitch after about 3km. I found the rest of the route a struggle, as I felt my form diminishing and pace falling. Frequent encouragement from marshals and other participants kept me upbeat but didn’t magically make my feet move any faster. I dropped into third place at roughly the 7km mark and held onto that position until the finish. Needless to say, I was very happy to cross the line. My split of 42:11 gave me an overall time of 2:17:08.
As I said above, I’m always satisfied to complete an event when I can honestly say I have given my best effort. That was the case yesterday. Though I was delighted with the podium, I will admit that I was slightly disappointed with my times, as they are down from last year. Still, they were a fair reflection of my current fitness so there’s no point in wasting any energy dwelling on them. I know there is plenty of room to improve, particularly in the swim and run. That is where my focus is. A solid block of training will help me prepare for my next triathlon, which is Lough Cutra on May 24th.
Well done to everyone who took part across the three distances yesterday. It was fantastic seeing so many people of all ages and abilities participating. The marshals and supporters were brilliant, which is a hallmark of events run by Limerick Triathlon Club. Thank you to my parents, Sheila and Damien, and boyfriend, Eoin, for hanging around all day to support me. Thank you to my coach, Lynne, for being there as well.