Thursday, 15 November 2018

Second half of 2018

After the great camp in Banyoles with the LTPC girls, I got back and a few days later I was already back on a plane heading to Tartu, Estonia, for my first senior Championships at the European Sprint champs. I had a decent race finishing 21st, definitely was capable of more and wanted more, but thats just the way it went on the day.

Next race for me was London relays, with LTPC. We were lucky to have two really strong teams entered for this, where my team finished 5th and the other LTPC team got a podium 2nd place. Like
last year, the relay cup is always good fun and its nice to be able to give back to and represent the centre you train at.

The next European triathlon cup I had in store was in Hungary, in Szekesfehervar. After a solid result in Weert, I was really hoping to improve on my 5th place and hope to get a podium. I committed to the race and put myself in contention but I just missed out and came 4th (got the chocolate medal). I was pleased with this, especially as a first year under 23, so there is more to come for sure.

At the beginning of the season I didn't have World champs as one of my main aims as I didn't think I would be selected, so when I got the email saying that I had qualified I was really over the moon. The experience out in Australia was amazing and I was pleased that I managed to lead out of the water. The overall result I wasn't overly please with, finishing 23rd, but considering I didn't think I would even be there, I can't complain.

My last race of the season late in October, was under 23 European Championships, held in Eilat, Israel. The location of the race was really gorgeous, with clear water and some very hot temperatures. Heat prep back in Lboro in the build up made a massive difference and helped in the race greatly. Once again leading out of the water and in the front bike group, it came down to the 10km run in 35+ degrees. I was super pleased to finish 4th in my first year in the category. The next day was the. mixed team relay, where GB had a super tight race all the way to the line with the Swiss, where we just got pipped for the gold medal. But I really can't complain finishing my season with a silver medal at a championships with a class team. After a couple easy weeks, I'm now back into training and excited to get ready for the 2019 season.

Friday, 29 June 2018

First half of 2018

A lot has happened since I last blogged, many races and lots of training and more interesting life events. 

First race of the 2018 season was BUCS sprint, this is always a fun event to do and a nice way to open your season as it gets you back into the swing of racing with the excitement of racing for your university, so the atmosphere is always great. My aim going into the race was to try medal, so breaking that down into process goals was going to help me achieve this. It’s a non-drafting event, so it’s really important to stay focussed and keep the pressure on the whole race, as you don’t know what place you are or what the time differences are. I was aiming to have a really solid swim, making the most of this discipline.

On the bike, I had my new tri bars, which I feel really helped me and allowed me to get the most out of myself. With the run I felt really strong, much stronger than this time last year and this reflected in the time split. Finishing third was a big positive and great start to the season.

Next up for me was my first French Grand Prix, racing for team Tri Sud 18. The first stage was held in Valence, south of France. You’d have thought the weather would’ve been nice, but it couldn’t have been further from expected. Race day was ~8 degrees and torrential rain for most of the day. I had a really strong swim, coming out of the water 4th and made front pack, but my confidence here still wasn’t great, so sitting at the back of the bike pack n a technical course made it a hard day out for me on the bike, ending up in second pack, but once again having a strong run and finishing 22nd overall. Not a bad result for my first FGP but there is definitely more to come there, and I am looking forward to the next one. I was happy to get home to get warm and dry in sunny England after that.

My third race of the season was Weert ETU cup, which was my first ever Olympic distance. I was super excited to do this, especially where I did my first Sprint distance triathlon back in 2014. I didn’t really know what to expect, I knew it was going to be tough and the 25+ degree heat didn’t help much. It was a non-wetsuit swim, and I really managed to drag the field out, leading out of the swim, with 2 other girls on my feet, by ~1minute.

We managed to work really well together but after about 14km we got caught. The course was very flat, and untechnical, which meant trying to stay away from a ~15 girl pack was always going to be very hard work.

I will admit I was doubting a good result once the big pack caught as my run hasn’t been my strongest discipline in previous years but going out onto the 10km I just committed from the beginning, trying not to think about the added 5km from what I’m used to. After 5km I was running with 3 other girls, and we were fighting for 2/3/4/5 place. I felt strong until about 6km, that’s when I could start to feel my legs fatiguing but I kept pushing and was then running in 4th most of the last lap of 4 but could feel myself fading and just got overtaken by 5th with ~300m to go.

I was still really pleased with 5th in my first Olympic distance and can honestly say that I’m excited for the next and can take away so many positives from the race. 

My most recent race of the season was British Championships in Cardiff, this was my first domestic race as a senior and I was excited to see what I had, especially after some good form being shown within the last few races and training. I had a pretty clean start, getting clear water quickly and swiftly shifting over to get onto the feet of a rapid swimmer. We got away nicely, with a 21 second lead from the rest of the field. A quick T1 meant I was solo on the bike for just over the first lap out of 4,

but then got swallowed up by a big chase pack of ~15 girls. The aim now that a breakaway group didn’t stick was to just stay out of trouble and see if I could produce a good run. Once again, my T2 was really smooth and I was out onto the run in the lead, which gave me good confidence to push on. I felt strong, the strongest I’ve felt during a race probably ever. Kate Waugh managed to bridge back up to me on the first lap of the run,

but I continued to push really hard and managed to get a gap. Running down the blue carpet to take the tape was such a good feeling (first time lifting a tape!!!) and a big highlight of my triathlon career so far. Taking the win and being crowned British sprint champion was a good 20th Birthday present. 

I’m now writing this on the plane to Banyoles, Spain, where I will be training for the next 2 weeks with the LTPC girls. Excited to get in some solid work and excited for the racing to come after we get back.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

World Champs

World Champs was the final race of my season and I couldn't be more excited about it. My whole season had been getting stronger and stronger and I truly felt ready for the race. All the prep went well and even though the weather was horrific everyone was still in high spirits for the race. We were so lucky that on our race day the weather was the best we had seen the whole time we had been there and it was relatively dry. It was a split transition, so we had set up T2 and were on the way to T1 when my concentration wasn't as much on the road and that's all it took for my front wheel to go into a tram line and for me to come tumbling face first onto the floor. Probably not the best start to my first world champs. I had a quick trip to medical and then was back on my way to athletes lounge to get ready for the race. I had about an hour to go so had lots to do in not a lot of time.
My face was nicely cut up and I had a blown up lip. I was focused on the race though and just wanted to perform best I could. I was last onto the pontoon, so didn't have much choice of where to go, but I made the most of it and actually got a really decent start and had a good swim to come out of the water 2nd. I made front pack, but once we got into the technical section I really struggled with the cornering as my confidence had been knocked from the crash. At this point I kept going backwards through packs which was moralizing but I tried to keep my head up. Going onto the run I tried to give it my best but by now I was pretty sore all over and my face was stinging from the water on my face. I came in and was surprised to find I came 29th, out of a 72 big field. I know that it was no where near my best performance, but with the circumstances I was proud of myself. After the race we got to just relax and spend some time exploring Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Now I've had my break and time off, I am ready to start winter training and get prepped ready for a successful 2018.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Mallory and Mixed Relay Cup

After Lausanne, my next race was probably the biggest of the season so far on the National circuit, held at Mallory Park. It was the last race of the super series and also doubled up as the World Champs Qualifier race, so it was important to execute a good race. I was going into the race with confidence after Lausanne, which really did give me a boost. The course was very technical and it was almost certain that a split was going to happen, so I was just hoping to be on the right side of it.
I came out of the water 2nd, but missed my bike in transition and this nearly cost me front pack. I had to dig in hard on the first lap of the bike to get onto the lead group of 3. Luckily I managed it and we got away as a 4. The gap increased quite quickly over the first few laps of 6 and continued to go out steadily over the remainder of the cycling leg.

Going out onto the first of 4 run laps my legs felt pretty tired, but after getting into  my rhythm I started to feel alright. I let a little gap go to 1st and 2nd at the very beginning, which was Livvy Mathias and French athlete Jessica Fullugar, who had won in Lausanne the previous weekend. This meant I was running solo for the rest of the run, knowing I had to limit the time I was behind the front and keep ahead of fast chasers behind me. I was motivated to push knowing that there was a World champs place on the cards and not wanting to lose it, and also a comment my mum and dad had made previously about the possibility of getting a puppy (this may or may not have been serious but in my eyes it was motivation enough to dig as deep as I could).  I was really pleased to finish 3rd in the race and also 2nd in the British Championships. It was a bit of a waiting game to see whether I got one of the spaces for Worlds and I am happy to say that I did, I have been selected to represent GB in Rotterdam in a couple of weeks time, along with Livvy, Kate and Erin. Its going to be a really good way to finish off my Junior career.

My next race was the mixed relay cup in Nottingham, representing Loughborough II. This was a really big event, broadcast live on BBC One. We would be racing teams from all over the country and even international teams, such as Canada and Australia. Our team consisted of Livvy Mathias, Barclay Izzard, myself and James Teagle on the anchor leg. We had a strong start, with Livvy passing over in 9th, coming in with a very strong pack that wasn't strung out too much after the first leg. Off next was Barclay, who again had a really good race and passed over to me in 10th. By this time in the race it was very strung out, so this meant I had a solo effort for the whole of my race. I could see a pair just up the road on the bike but I wasn't quite able to bridge the gap up to them. I worked as hard as I could and tried to work transitions as much as possible to try make marginal gains. I handed over to James in 10th, and once again he had a solo effort. He had a super first 2 legs and ran really well to bring us up into 9th place. Overall it was such a good atmosphere and experience, I really hope the event is here to stay. It was also great to see Loughborough 1 get onto the podium, a great effort from all. The next couple of weeks is just about getting some decent work in and getting ready for Worlds, which I am super excited about.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Lausanne European Cup 2017

The week started in Loughborough, with a training camp with the English, Welsh and Scottish Talent squads. We partially fitted into the Loughborough training schedule and partly did our own thing, which meant I did some sessions I normally did with the Lboro guys, but also had some other stuff just with the squad, this gave it a nice balance. It was a pretty tough week of training, and then most of us flew straight out to Geneva on Thursday morning (the 3.30 wake up was not pleasant) to get to Lausanne for the race in the Saturday. The scenery for the race was by far the most beautiful place I have ever raced. The swim in Lake Geneva, with mountains as a back drop was almost breathtaking.

  We were all so excited to race in such a beautiful setting. The race came around quickly and before I knew it we were lining up, it was a non wetsuit swim and the sun was shining. It was a big field, with 54 girls on the start list, and luckily I was number 19 so I had a pretty big selection of spaces on the pontoon. Without realising I went straight to the middle, which probably isn't always a good idea if you don't want to be caught up in the chaos that is open water swimming. Luckily I had a pretty clean start and got near the front very soon. The water was slightly choppy and the sun was bright which made sighting for the buoy pretty hard, but after a little bit of meandering and 350m later we hit the first buoy and I was sat on the feet of the lead swimmer. The dynamics of the group didn't change much in the second half of the swim and I came out the water in a line with 4 other girls. It was a short run to T1 and a small group of 12 got away together, including 4 Brits. The bike course was the toughest that I have done on the European cup circuit, with a very steep and long climb, followed by a steep descent, but fortunately it wasn't very technical. The front pack got slightly reduced to 8 going into T2 and I was happy to be among the leaders after what was a very hard bike. Setting out onto the run I found myself in 5th, but quickly overtook and was running with fellow Brit Lissie Hood in second and third. We had 3 laps to do, and half way through the first I got broke away from Lissie, but also got caught by Erin Wallace, another Brit teammate.
I was feeling really good and I stuck with Erin until the end of the second lap, where she got a few meters on me. Sat in third I was still feeling strong and it was starting to sink in that I had the chance to podium here, in my last Junior European Cup. I held onto third and once I crossed the line I was still in a bit of shock. I had been working so hard on my run and it was finally paying off. Couldn't have asked for a better way to finish my Junior European cup career. Back in England now and no time to relax as we have the World Championship qualifier race next Monday at Mallory park, so I am excited to race there and Lausanne has definitely given me the confidence going into this final race of the super series.
Also really excited to be an AMANZIGIRL for the coming season, love training in their suits and excited to be a part of their team!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Tiszy 2017

I went out to Tiszaújváros the week before the race, along with Issy Morris, in order to get used to the heat and prepare well out there. More people joined us during the week and by the end there was the rest of the Brits who were racing staying in our same apartments. Tiszy is different to most ETU cups as it has the semi and then final format. This is super tough racing, especially in the hot and humid conditions of Hungary. I was in semi final 1, whilst the other 2 Brit girls, Issy and Olivia Mathias, were in semi final 2. I had a very good swim here, getting about a 10 second lead over the next person. Out onto the bike and I wanted to push hard to get a bit of a gap. There was a large chase group behind me, I couldn't count how many but only top 14 qualified and I wasn't certain there wasn't more than that. I got off the bike with just over 20 seconds on the chase pack and ran tempo for the first lap, got information about the rest of the race and whether or not it was safe to ease up for the second, so I could just get through into the final with minimal effort.

 I felt very strong during this semi final and was happy to finish 1st, which gave me good confidence going into the second day. We did an easy spin in the evening and prepped well for the next day. In the final I was ranked number 2, so had a lot of choice on the pontoon, so I chose the same place as I'd chosen the previous day, number 17, as it had treated me so well the day before. It was a violent swim, I got closed in by both of the people next to me and had people pulling my feet and dunked all before the first buoy. I went round the first buoy in 14th place and then had to start trying to make progress through the field starting from there. In the end and after a big effort I managed to exit the water in 5th. Unfortunately I just missed the front pack and was in the large chase group, where minimal cooperation was happening, so the front pack just kept making time on us. Going out onto the 3 lap run I was feeling frustrated with my race so far and the first lap wasn't that great, but going onto the 2nd and 3rd lap I started making really good progress through the field and sprint finished to grab 11th place in the end. Even though the placing wasn't quite what I was hoping for, the performance itself made me proud. The key thing I wanted to work on was my run and this race definitely showed that I am making steps in the right direction. Next up for me is Lausanne ETU cup in few weeks. Hopefully this will be a really fun and good race, with a massive GB contingent on the start list.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

End of first year

After having Easter at home, I went back to Loughborough a week earlier than most in order to prepare well for BUCS sprint triathlon, held down in Calne. I was super excited for this as it was also going to be my brothers first triathlon (excluding kids triathlons when we were teeny). I went down to Southampton to see Eddie and stay with him a couple of nights before so I was nearer to the race location and that way didn't have to get up at 4am on the morning of. I had a solid swim, with it being in a pool I felt confident as this was essentially my number one sport before taking up triathlon. Out of the pool and set off onto a 22km non-drafting bike leg. It was a windy day and at some points very lonely on the course, only seeing 2 other athletes the entire time as I was one of the first set off in my wave. I had my bike computer on for this race, which I found useful as it gave me an indication of speed and if I started to drop or ease up, it would nudge me to push on. In from the tough bike and just a 5km to go. This was lonely as I didn't see another athlete at all for the entire run, which made it hard to properly race but I kept trying to push myself as much as possible. I was really pleased to finish 5th in my first BUCS tri, still got a couple more years as yet to see what else is to come. 

After BUCS, up next was Llanelli triathlon 2 weeks later. A race which I love but also know is gonna be tough no mater what. Here my swim start was terrible, fully awful! I had to work my socks off to get back to the front of the race and past quite a lot of the field. After the first lap the field was pretty close together, being able to see this with a running exit and entry between laps. On the second lap there were 3 of us off the front and the pace went up and this is were most the damage was done to chasing competitors. After a slick T1 there was 2 of us away, Olivia Mathias and I, onto the bike with roughly a 15 second gap to the chase pack. It was a very windy day which made the breakaway extra hard work, but we tried our best to keep away and after the 5 laps, we had a time gap of about 50 seconds to the next group. I went onto the run and felt better than I did the previous year, but still felt pretty flat. This may have been down to an extremely tough bike or I just didn't have my best run legs that day. Either way I finished 6th in the end, after a fast group of runners stormed through. I was pleased, not thrilled, but content with this result. It shows I had made progress from last year and that things were definitely going in the right direction, just needed to get more work done and keep focused. After this race I then had to have a slight change in focus from sport to exams, with it being my first year of uni and first big set of exams. I was meant to do Leeds aquathlon at the beginning of June, but unfortunately I had to pull out as I had a crash the week before and had a little niggle which prevented me from being able to run and kick in the pool.
Next up would be my first ETU cup of the year, Holten. This is one of my favorite races and I was super excited to be on the start line for my 3rd and final race as a Junior here. Seems like a repeating record here but  once again my start wasn't great. I need to learn to be more aggressive when getting off the pontoon and with my first 20 strokes. Once I found clear water I started making progress through the field and quickly found myself at the head of the race, with a couple of meters on the rest of the field. Going out of T2 there was just one other girl and I to begin with and we tried to have a go at a break but pretty soon got swallowed up by the big pack of chasers behind. It was a wet day and a technical course, this put me on edge a bit as my confidence was still a little bit knocked after my crash the previous month. 2 girls saw an opportunity and made a break off the front and they held it, I was disappointing to miss this but i wasn't in a good enough position in the pack to get onto the wheel. I was relieved to have made it round the bike safely and in a good position. Onto the run I felt strong, probably the best I've felt in a while. I found myself with a Russian girl and we were pushing on well together, I'd found a decent rhythm but at 2km got a bad stitch, I tried to push through but found myself having to ease up to try and get rid of it, this is where I lost the Russian and found myself running on my own for a while. I kept trying to push on once the stitch eased up and with about 1km to go it completely went and I really tried to dig in. In the end I finished in 10th. I was pleased with this as I think I executed a decent race, but ideally I would have liked a higher placing and the race ti have gone a bit more my way. This weekend just gone I did the Lord mayors 5km in Norwich, this is a fab race through the streets of Norwich on closed roads just before the Lord mayors procession. It's a tough race, going up a steep and long hill 2 times, round the roundabout and then down the hill again. After a big week of cycling in Holland with my family and plenty of running, I was aiming to just have a hard run and enjoy that electric atmosphere that the race undoubtedly always provides.