Challenge Bahrain 70.3
I am starting this blog by saying a HUGE thank you to the Challenge Family and the Sheikh of Bahrain for putting on one of the most fantastic events I have taken part in. Bahrain is a stunning place to have a triathlon and Sheikh couldn't have looked after the Pros better, with putting us all up in a fantastic hotel, meeting us at the airport with a heard of Audi cars, and having so many people on hand if we needed anything, we were treated like royality. So,thank you so much for letting me be apart of such a fantastic event, and bringing together so many athletes from all different distances. The field couldn't have been more full of titles!
So, one of the great things for me was actually being able to speak to athletes that I havent really spoken to before, being exclusively Olympic ITU retricts you really from the other distances and subsequently other amazing long distance athletes. I found the atmosphere completely different to that of an WTS race, so relaxed, no pressure, everything was so chilled, I loved it. Speaking with the athletes was great, they are such a welcoming bunch, and made me feel at ease straight away. All went well in the lead up to the race, even though doing things very differently, for example, checking in the bikes the day before the race was a bit weird, and having to set things up in a bike bag, run bag for the transitions to pick up as we are running though, all very new and a bit "freek" for me, but hey, was all part of the experiece. I felt I had to be doubly organised, I think I checked the bags 3 times at least.
Race morining was a very early start, setting the alarm just before 4.00am so I could have breakfast and a coffee before leaving the hotel at 5.30am and on route to the swim start. This felt like a normal procedure, so just checking over the bike, doing a swim warm up, and getting ready, before the open water start. It's been a good while since I did a start already in the the water, I'm so used to the dive in and sa a few cheeky cheeky people drift past the start line, but hey ho, here we go. Off we went and I had a terrible start, just didn't have the initial GO, so had to work hard to get back on the group, which I did before the exit, I think I came out in around 6th place. Quite pleased with that, although an extra 400m isn't an excessive amount than the 1500m I'm used to. Then out on the bike and I was in the lead group, well, a group that had to stay 20m apart. So, I felt good, and was riding fine but made a tactical error really, at around 30k Mary Beth Ellis had allowed the 20m gap to increase and by the time I realsed it was too late and I'd lost the pack. I should have spotted it sooner and made my move, problem is I had no idea how to pace the bike, and all I had in my head was Coach saying "pace" and "DONT BLOW UP". There were jokes on camp about me blowing up, so I was obviously going to be thinking about this during the race, so I sat where I thought I should and this is where the gap started to increase. I plugged away and didn’t start to hurt until around 30k to go, and then my left arm started cramping, I couldn't wait to get onto the F1 part of the course and onto the run. It was at this point that Caroline Steffen came past and I was just trying to keep with her in the closing stages on the bike. The finishing part of the bike course was a lap of the F1 circuit, this would have been nicer for me had I had not been in such a rush to get to the transition area.
So Caroline got some time on the circuit but I could still see her, so I dismounted at the line and strangely gave my bike to the officials???? What happened to running with my bike and racking it myself? The running to the changing tent with my helmet, picking up my RUN bag en route which had my runners kit in, Powerbar cola gels and socks!!!! YES SOCKS!!!!!! There was no way I was running 21k bare foot!
I exited transition and could see Caroline in the distance and the target was for me to reel her in, but again it's about pacing. I have myself unti the 5km mark, and as I entered the wildlife park we were side by side. This lasted for the rest of the run, having the company of monkeys and camels it's safe to say it was the strangest run I have ever done, but I loved it! We also had Pete Jacobs for company he'd had had a flat on the bike, and lets just say at some points he was keeping my mind off my legs hurting, by giving myself and Caroline running commentry on the animals!!! So funny.
This stayed the same until 5k out when Pete then started to talk about the sprint finish we were going to have and slowly the pace was increasing, surprisingly I wasn't feeling too bad considering I thought I would hit 10k and throw the towel in! I was mentally getting ready for the sprint finish and was getting ready for the closing stages of the race, but at 20k to go, I got terrible stitch and Caroline started to run away. I couldn't do anything about it and was just trying to get to the finish and Pete was nice enough not to leave me to run solo at this point. I crossed the line 8th in my first 70.3 Challenge Bahrain race with a stacked field, so I couldn't have been happier!
I loved the race, loved the challenge, loved the hurt box, loved the experience.
I crossed the line and spoke to Rachel Joyce and Jodie Swallow (JS1) and my legs have never seized up so quickly, I couldn't put one foot in front of the other. WHAT THE HELL!!!!
So swimming with the lead pack, biking well (but not tactically right) and running with Caroline (thinking I watched this girl in Kona and now I'm running with her!) well what a day, and definitely a great first 70.3 race to have!
The pros that I have spent time with over the few days in Bahrain have been amazing are have actually had such a great time with them all. Thank you so much to them for welcoming me into their crazy longer distance with open arms.
It's safe to say I'm not going long . . . YET . . . but when I do, I'll be ready for ya, lol!
If you've got a spare 5 mins, check out this interview- http://www.witsup.com/video-pro-chatter-pre-challenge-bahrain/
What's next? I'm currently en route back to Oldbury in the Black Country to spend Christmas and New Year with family and friends. It's time to have some fun with some local running races, and a cheeky water polo game (old school for me).
Thank you everyone for the supporting messages I've had over the weekend, I can now say 2015 training has really kicked off.
Merry Christmas to you all and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Break with loved ones, family and friends.
Thank you to my team from 2014 @wasermamediagroup, @TYR, @powerbar, @oakley, @zipp
See you in 2015
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