Relaying Blenheim

Kate battles through injury at the Palace

Since my last blog I have been busy trying to get back into training and racing following a knee injury. It’s all still fairly pedestrian, and unfortunately my knee isn’t improving very quickly.

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Despite my injury woes, I can still swim, so for my first race of the season I lined up at Blenheim with Paul and Caspar, my teammates for the team relay event. This was very selfless of the guys, because they had their individual races the next day. I have never been to Blenheim and was amazed at how beautiful it was. I don’t think transition areas get much better than the courtyard of a magnificent castle. With classical music playing and a general buzz in the air, the atmosphere was great.

The swim was a nice surprise – a picturesque lake that wasn’t too cold. I tried to get a good position at the start of the swim and plonked myself right at the front of the group. I was a little apprehensive because it was a mixed relay, and I thought the good male swimmers would probably be faster than me. As I bobbed up and down in the water waiting for the race to start, the guy next to me chose to inform me this was just a training swim for him because he was off to swim the channel soon! But there was no time to shuffle to the back; the gun went off and, with arms and legs everywhere, I tried to find some clear water.

When racing I think about keeping my strokes long, and pushing the water hard towards my feet. Unfortunately, in triathlon this thought process is constantly interrupted by bops on the head and the odd whack on the shoulder. “It will all be over soon,” I catch myself thinking!

I sight the buoys utilising my new alligator technique, which we had practiced with Bill. I probably wasn’t the best alligator out there, and I think I went slightly off-course at one stage, but I corrected my mistake early and don’t think I lost too much time. I made it through in 11:47 – 14th of 230 competitors.

But if the swim was lovely, the transition certainly wasn’t! Bill had warned me it was 300m straight uphill, and unfortunately he wasn’t exaggerating! I had been unable to run before the event, so this was a long way up. Exhausted, I arrived in transition and handed the chip to Paul, who zoomed off for a speedy bike leg, and Caspar took it from there with storming run. This brought us home in second place. All in all, a really good day out.

Since Blenheim I have been slowly trying to get back into cycling (with some success) and running (with no success). I am back on the turbo and can put some degree of pressure through my leg, but not enough to really train properly. I did my first session at Richmond Park last week and found it a little painful. Prior to my injury I had entered the Dambuster triathlon, so decided to just do the swim and bike. I raced the swim and came out close to a PB, but the bike was still painful and my right leg was cramping because it was doing all the work. I didn’t even attempt the run. My performance was possibly the perfect example of coming back too early.

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So the frustration continues, and as I push on I realise that the London triathlon isn’t too far away. I am learning (slowly) that patience is a virtue and concentrating on what I can achieve in the meantime. Injury-wise things can only get better from here.