My family arrive at the London ExCel Centre on Saturday evening, quite a while before me and my fiancé Ben, who decided to – in Dad’s words – “drive with a flat tyre”.
When we eventually arrived my family asked me about my shaky 10 days leading up to the race. I simply said “I am relaxed and think the rest has done me the world of good.” And with that I felt confident and excited about the race ahead.
We all enjoyed a glass of fizz or two before grabbing a bite to eat. It was four hours before our dinner reservation so we needed something! The race briefing took place at 7pm so Ben and I headed over, followed by an eventful family diner with some relatives indulging in a banquet for one!
Race morning and I headed for the usual early morning swim, just to kick a few nerves. I managed a decent breakfast so I knew that I was more relaxed than previous races. Ben and I then headed out so I could have a little spin on the bike and then into transition nice and early to rack the bike.
It was during the compulsory pre-race energy bar and black coffee when the heart started to thump that bit harder, but I went off for a quiet jog and told myself to enjoy, relax and smile. I discovered the swim was non-wetsuit which excited me!
I hadn’t raced this way before so I was looking forward to the change in dynamics, if any? In all honesty it felt great, a refreshing way to race for sure. The swim start was an interesting one: I popped myself in the middle of the pack and felt rather relaxed about it. Around 50m into the swim and the washing machine effect was upon me, always an occasion hard to prepare for.
A cut in the swim packs soon formed ahead but I knew I was in good company with Emma Holt so I remained calm. I pushed hard to bridge the gap but at the turnaround buoy the pack was moving further away. As we exited for T1 I was amazed with how my legs felt, they were certainly getting a move on!
The bike leg was not what I had in mind. I wanted to experience the world of drafting but unfortunately the bike packs were up ahead so it was a hard, brutal chase. I enjoyed the flat nature of the course and revisiting my commuter routes!
Onto the run which felt absolutely fabulous. The support from so many friends and family was unbelievable. Dad was waiting for me as soon as the run emerged from the ExCel and we had our father-daughter high-five. We are starting to perfect this now.. No more falling over with excitement!! I managed a few thumbs up and smiles and even a cheeky beam to the camera on lap one.
Onto laps two and three where I certainly refocused and could see I was catching a few girls up ahead. I pushed harder and started to make my way through the field. As I entered the ExCel for the final time the finish line arrived and I didn’t hold back. To my disbelief the time read 2hours 5minutes… I beamed and crossed the finish line with extreme elation! Thank you PAS nutrition for keeping the engine running.
As I reflect on the race I am pleased that I embraced the opportunity to race in the elite field with a smile. I have also learnt a lot of lessons and I cannot wait to come back stronger next year! The London Triathlon is the biggest in the world hosting over 13,000 athletes and it’s an event I love being a part of.
Ben and I literally race hand-in-hand and I am so grateful for his shared passion, excitement and determination. We both come away from the race equally exhausted. Next stop for me? I will be getting a flavour for middle distance later this month: 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 22.1km run. See you in Lake 32!