A crash and a bad result.
And all of a sudden the confidence I’d worked so hard to build up disappeared out of the window. No matter how hard you try to think rationally about things it’s hard not to start thinking you’re rubbish. Could I really blame my performance at Wimbleball on the crash? Surely all my other results were flukes and that race reflects my true abilities. OK deep down I know that’s not the case, but it was hard to keep those negative voices out of my mind for a while.
My swimming was the worst hit by the accident. They always say a week out of the water takes you back two months – and that was definitely what happened to me. I was back to where I was last year. However it seems to be coming back slowly so I’m trying to stay patient and keep plugging away. Realistically, neither my biking (other than not being able to rest on the tri bars) nor my running was really affected and in many ways an enforced break may have been a good thing. My elbow is more or less healed now and though I still can’t lean on it enough to do the plank, I can stay on the tri bars comfortably so no longer have it as an excuse. I’m enjoying training hard again and keeping my fingers crossed for a strong end to the season.
A couple of weeks ago I made my annual pilgrimage to the watersports centre in Nottingham to ride the bike leg of the Outlaw as part of a Cancer Research UK relay team, along with Helen Gorman and Chrissie Langford. I always love that event and hope we’ll continue to race there each year. From a bike point of view I learnt what it would be like to be a good swimmer – and realised that being a bad swimmer does have its advantages. I would MUCH rather be the chaser than the chased! Helen did an awesome swim, sending me out on the bike in 5th place… which made for a very lonely bike ride! I got passed by a couple of guys early on, and other than yo-yoing with a couple of others for short periods of time didn’t see anyone else until I started lapping the slower riders at 75 miles or so. I now know what it feels like to be chased! I knew Mully would be starting 10 or 15 minutes behind and that was a bit of motivation to keep me vaguely focused riding on my own in the headwind!!
At times I’d look down at my heart rate to find it was only 125; a quick reminder to myself that Mully would be chasing hard behind would soon get me pedalling properly again! The bike course went right past my parent’s house twice and it turned out that I was being filmed by channel 4 as I rode past the first time; I think I sat up and yelled at them that that was where I lived. It was somewhat surreal racing on the small roads I used to pootle along as a kid and I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed a time trial before – but I did enjoy this one! Anyhow I rode reasonably well (5.04 for 111.4 miles and it was bloody windy!) and have backed that up today with a solid 100 mile (again windy!) time trial. So I’m not really worried I’ve lost my bike legs. Chrissie did a very strong marathon allowing us to finish as 3rd relay team and 5th overall – not bad for 3 chicks!
So, what next?
Well, after a lot of umming and ahhing I’ve decided to end my season with a bit of pick and mix.
First up Tri star Milton Keynes. It’s local and shouldn’t take much out of me so I figured it would be silly not to do it.
Then Germany 70.3, which calls itself the European champs. I expect the field to be stacked and to severely get my butt kicked – but it will be good to race some big names and see how I fare.
Following that, for better or for worse, I’ve been persuaded to race the iconic Powerman World champs in Zofingen at the start of September. 10km run, 150km hilly bike, 30km hilly run…. It might break me! It was a hard decision to make as it means I won’t be able to defend my title at Ironman 70.3 Ireland. But several people suggested the distances may suit me and in the end I figured I may as well make 2012 my duathlon year. So time to ramp up the mileage, try and find some hills and prepare for some pain!
Assuming I survive Zofingen I’m then heading back to Barcelona for the full distance Challenge race at the end of September. And will then probably collapse and revert to a non-athlete for a few weeks!