Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Virgin Active London Elite Triathlon

So, The Virgin London Triathlon, biggest Triathlon in the UK… (world?!) and my last race of the 2012 season!

race done, 2012 done! Phew!
If you ask anyone who was around me in the weeks building up to this race, family, housemates, boyfriend and colleagues, I was a mental mess! Head was all over the place, confidence – nowhere to be found, or maybe simply did not exist. I’ll even go as far to say that I phoned up my coach a week before and asked if I could just watch…I was so nervous and felt very out of my depth! The start list was crazy, I couldn’t believe I had been selected to race on the same start line as some of these girls. Olympians, ITU athletes, professionals and girls who have been doing this a whole lot longer than me! So it that sense, I felt privileged to be stood (or floating) on the start line alongside them.

GO! Swimming in the London Docks! Water was minging.

Not to make excuses, but 5 days prior to the race I crashed my bike, going down the hill from university to town after a swim one morning, and straight back into the back of a car that stopped for a girl who walked into the road. I fell onto the car then rolled off onto the road. Skin off my knee and hands and a few days later a pain kicked in down the right hand side of my body. This restricted my final swim sessions in the lead up to the race, and on race day, I felt it very sharply during the 1500m swim, which I have no doubt prevented me swimming to my full ability. But the swim over, I tried to gain as much ground as possible during the long T1.

The cycle was lethal, from the results list, it seemed about 16 elite athletes (male and female) crashed due to the conditions on the bike course. It was torrential rain, lots of corners and roundabouts which saw ambulances all over the course, white flags being waved to slow us down through the tunnels and even an air lift. I bombed out of T1, hoping to shake off a group of girls that were close behind, and catch up with a chase pack in front. Seems the chase pack were a little too far to be caught, maybe arm permitting I would have been there, who knows. I held off the group of 3 behind for about 15km which I was pleased with, they then caught me (3v1 it was guaranteed when drafting!) and we worked together as a pack until the end (40km). I posted a 1.06 bike split which I was delighted with as a third I was cycling by myself and the other two thirds I felt I was heading up the bike group as one of the stronger cyclists there, sitting on the back very little.

Injecting some pace into my bike pack! C'mon girls!
T2 (10th fastest out of all elite men and women! My little claim to fame!)  went very well, and off we set for the 4 lap 10km run around the docks of London and Excel Centre. The first two laps of my run went well, but tiredness, lack of 10km racing and general “not quite there yet!” kicked in over the second half.

11th Elite Female overall…delighted! I was delighted with my bike leg, slightly disappointed with the swim and run, but again, I learnt so much and stacks to work on for 2013! Two weeks off/very easy now before winter training begins. A week will be spent chilling on the Gower in Wales (and supporting the Port Eynon triathlon on the 29th!)  and a week getting back into uni life, lectures (what are they?!) and coaching the university triathlon club again.

10km run alongside strong runner Emma Pearson

Thanks to everyone who has supported me through the 2012 season, I will enjoy my break and am looking forward to beginning the winter training already. Next race is BUCS duathlon (Castle Coomble Chilly Duathlon – open to the public too) on the 25th of November so I will update you all then! J In the meantime, follow me on twitter at @KatieJSynge for updates on my training and goings on!

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