Sunday, 9 September 2007

I've come a long, long way...

Well, our triathlon season for 2007 is very nearly over. Yesterday (Sat 8th Sept) I raced in The Vitruvian which was my biggest focus post Ironman this year. I did it last year so it's been good for me to see how I've improved since then. To be honest although comparing the results are the 'realest' (if that's a word) way of seeing progress I'm inclined to take more from where I've come from mentally than in the sense of time, as in splits, numbers and position - statitician Tom's favourite things!!!

The night before The Vitruvian I had a good long chat about my training to date and my training to come with my coach Martin and one thing that chat did for me was to highlight that irrespective of my result in the race that I was to do the next day, I've come a long, long way from where I was. The picture at the top is from Lanzarote in 2006, where it all started and also the place where I rode my first ever 100 miles (on the Lanza Ironman course). Here we are Tom & I post ride, a ride I'll never, ever forget. Sun, wind, wind, a bit more wind, hills, wind, wind, hills, quite a few tears, but most of all determination.

So I went into the race yesterday knowing that whatever the outcome, even if I didn't improve on last year I was still a better athlete than I was then. I'm so much more knowlegeable about my bike (which has been the biggest learning curve for me). Don't get me wrong, I'm still very much a girl when it comes to fixing it but I'm learning and most things I do for myself, the rest I just look blankly at Tom and thankfully he helps me out. In the picture above I couldn't have told you the difference between the seat post and bottom bracket or what to do when the chain comes off never mind fixing a puncture.

I'm learning every time I get on my bike. Yesterday I learnt that even though I'm a fitter and better cyclist than I was last year I'm still very inconsistent. Last year in the same race I rode 2hrs 52mins and this year I rode 2hrs 43, a 9min PB but I know I didn't ride well yesterday and I can do better than that on a good day. I actually felt worse on the bike this year than I did last year & last year I had a trauma with my gears. I went through a stage like this with my running a while back where I had to almost have a 'magic' day for me to perform well and this made my run races very inconsistent. It really got me down at times and I didn't feel like I was improving at all. I'm now going through more or less the exact same thing with the bike but I can see it and I know over time I'll conquer it. I'm better than I was, I know I am but I still need those 'magic' days that unfortunately I have no control over. They happen when they happen, that's the 'magic' in them! Thankfully I run off the bike well and my inconsistency in my running has disappeared. I just need to keep working at it and my cycling will become as consistent as my running has.

Overall my target was to beat last years 5hrs 8mins and nudge under the 5hr mark. My swim went okay. I had a bit of a navigation issue in the middle of the first lap and had to have a word with myself after I went off course by miles and had to swim hard to get back in line, my second lap was much better. Then onto the bike where as I've said I had taken for granted that I was much better and so just expected to produce the goods. Shame my legs weren't having the same thoughts. Strong winds and stupid legs meant that I felt more tired than I expected and I found the bike leg hard which gave me concern for the run and knew getting under the 5hr mark was going to be tough. When I got out on the run Iwas convinced that someone had actually stolen both of my feet and replaced them with someone elses and then sent the lady from the film 'Misery' to inflict as much pain on them as possible for the first 7km. I really felt like my ankles were struggling to recognise that they needed to be connected to my feet, why I'll never know. Gradually I either got used to the sensation or I ran it off but I just got stronger and stronger and had a great run. 1hr 36mins for the half marathon, 4mins off last year. So I beat my target 4hrs 58mins (phew) and was third in my age group which I'm really pleased with, I think Tom's blog entry has the pic of me on my first podium. It was a great way to celebrate a not so great (in sections) race.

I had fantastic support (as ever) while I was out there. My brother Jonny and niece Kelsey (number 1 fans who I love seeing and hearing on the course.) Tom's mum Yve & Ray who are now professional Triathlon supporters and always full of love and enthusiasm for us both.) The huge Kendal Jones clan (die hards who will be Ironman-ing it themselves before too long) and Ady & Sarah (thanks for the ear plugs Ady, you stopped me behaving like a weeble when I got out the water, shame they didn't have sat nav fitted in them, I might have swam on a better line if they had!) Thanks to you all for a season of love, support, advice and friendship.

So, I'm looking at how far I've come. In 2005 I bought my first EVER bike and learnt how to swim (Gareth you've got all of these highs & lows to come and you're going to love it and hate it in a Marmite like fashion). And look how far I've got to go.......... the possibilities are endless as long as there's determination.

Never give up...

H. x


Gareth said...

Crikey! Just when I thought these blogs couldn't get any more INSPIRATIONAL - even I get a mention! TERRIFIC performances, guys, in the V; really well done! (Your coach didn't do too badly either, did he?). I LOVE this site!


Tom said...

Cheers mate,

Really glad you're enjoying the blog. writing about everything really helps me stay focused and the positive comments massively increase my motivation!