My 2017 season did not quite go to plan but just as sport is – I’ve had some highs and some lows. The season started better than I expected. After a very unusual and new winter block of training my WTS Abu Dhabi result was totally unexpected, and a race I loved! Not just because of the result, but the course, the support and sprint finish with Andrea made it quite exciting. It proved to myself that I’d had a consistent winter in my new environment. However, from that point on things started to go downhill. A week or so before WTS Gold Coast and my Achilles became a problem. However I was too absorbed in wanting to qualify for the Commies to duck out so I risked it…bad idea…no qualification gained (yet…), and my season was wiped out. Looking back now it looks like my Achilles had been silent all winter, which resulted in a stress response in the opposite shin – which basically took me out of the season, until I was able to race again in WTS Stockholm.
Dealing with this injury was so difficult. I felt all kinds of things – frustration, anger, jealously of all my friends being able to race, but I’m proud of what I did during this time, and with the help of a great team around me I worked on what I could, and happy to say I’ve made some much needed improvements on my swim. This is not an easy thing to do when all you want to do is get back to running and racing, but I had no control over that. I knew the only thing I could do was as I was told and put trust in my coaches and support team. I’m not going to lie – I think I had many people close to me pulling their hair out, and wanting to slap me round the face. I just wanted Dorothy to click her heels together and get me back on the start line, but my return to racing just kept getting pushed further and further back – but that’s injury for you!
I went into WTS Rotterdam Grand Final ranked number 27. Not the number I was hoping for at the beginning of the season, but I was on that start line – happy to be healthy, albeit not race fit. For me, I just love to race. Put me on the start line of any competition and I thrive off the challenge, the inevitable hurt locker and the support I get. But whenever I do get on the start line I want to be there fully fit and able to give it my all. Going into Rotterdam it was a team lead race, with the outcome to get a GBR lady on the podium. I wasn’t in form and Jess had proven in Stockholm that she was the lady to accomplish that. My swim I was chuffed with – it showed me that Stockholm wasn’t just a fluke, however I wasn’t quite quick enough to jump onto Jess’s pack, so I had to play it smart. The girls in my group were great cyclists, with Jo Brown, Kirsten Kasper, Alice Betto, Taylor Spivey, just to name a few. These girls did a great job on the course in Rotterdam, and I didn’t want to interrupt their routine or their race plan, so I sat at the back and let them get on with the race. Most people who know me will know how hard this was for m. It’s not my style – I’m an aggressive racer, but I had to think of the team and Jess up front. Going into T2 the gap had gone to 90 seconds – there was nothing more I could do on the run for Jess, so it was each for themselves. I’m happy to say it was an improvement on Stockholm and I crossed the line 8th with Jess getting 3rd – the plan was a success this time. When I crossed the line, I was initially upset and annoyed that I hadn’t finished higher, however upon reflection, to finish 8th after the year I’ve had, in a stacked field, I’ll take it, and ready to build on it for next year.
As usual I’m hungry for more in 2018…! As far as Commonwealth selection goes there are 2 slots left for Team England (Vicky gets automatic qualification for medalling at Rio), and it is now in the hands of the selectors. I’d love to be able to defend my Commonwealth title, albeit it in a very different race to Glasgow with it being a Sprint distance race in a very hot country, but I would welcome the challenge with open arms. As soon as I know, I’ll let you guys know.
To finish off my 2017 season I was out in Jersey for the first women’s Super League Triathlon! Not the best preparation after racing Rotterdam the weekend before and catching a stinking cold from the cooler conditions but it just meant an ever tougher 2 days of racing for me. But I was thrilled to have been asked to race, excited at the new format, and gave it my all. And what an amazing 2 days and 6 races that Super League Triathlon put on. It was the first type of event like this and it did not disappoint. The first day was swim 300m, bike 5k, run 2k with a 10min break (which started as soon as leader crossed the line) then into another run 2k, bike 5k, swim 300m with a 10min break then into the final leg of bike 5k, run 2k and swim 300m.
There were a few rules to keep in mind…if you fell more than 90 seconds behind the leader you were out and however many seconds you crossed the line behind the leader after each stage that’s the deficit you started with going into the next leg and wow this was hard! I was in 8th going into day 2 which was again a different way of racing. Day 2 was an elimination style so it was 3 x swim bike run and you had to finish in the top 15 in stage 1 to go through to round 2. And then top 10 to get into the final. With the year I’ve had I just went into the weekend wanting to race – just to swim and bike as hard as I could and get rid of as many people as I could to give me the best chance to make it through each stage. While I didn’t have tactics going into to the race the biggest highlight was being able to wiz around the course with training partner Sophie Coldwell! What wicked hard fun it was! Going into the final I was finally finding my run legs and was able to stay in the race for the podium until the end and crossing the line 5th I will take for sure, so over all after the first super league weekend I’m in 6th after the 2 days and I’m so so happy to be able to end the season on a high! Now I can relax and enjoy some time at home before the build into 2018. This year has been super tough but I’m ready to face the 2018 season already – well after a well earned 2 week break!
As always I’d like to thank my family, friends, supporters, coaches, support team, and my sponsors for their continued and crucial support. I truly have the best team behind me. I will be back in 2018, stronger, fitter and ready to find a new level.