It has been a really busy couple of months with training and competing after the South West Open Water Championships at Weymouth at the start of July.
The first challenge was to have a good triathlon at Hetton Le-Hole in the North East, the furthest away race on the British Triathlon Super Series calendar. Leading up to it I have been doing plenty of distance cycle rides around my area and open water distance swimming at Vobster Quay, the weather of recent has made both of these really good fun.
It was a long drive up to Hetton on the Friday and I was looking forward to do a bike recce after the 7 hour drive, although it was not as much fun as anticipated as the temperature had dropped 10ºC and it was raining when we arrived. Still come the morning the rain had blown through and the track had dried up by the time of my first race. It was going to be a full on day with heats in the morning, followed by finals in the afternoon and a relay in the evening. The racing was made more challenging as we had 1st year junior’s racing down with us as it was a selection race for the European Championships later this year. The swim went well and I was pleased with the bike as I started the run in 12th position, a position I needed to hold to ensure I got through to the A finals. I dropped a few places on the run as my knee started to play up again but I finished, and the time was pretty good. Time for a little first aid and plenty of stretching and rolling whilst waiting for the results to be issued on who was in what final.
When the results came out I was pleased to find out that I had made the A final as one of the fastest runners up so had to get re-focussed as a regional place for the National School Games finals was now at stake. All three girls from the South West had made the A Final and only the best two would be selected to go forward for the team to the games. The start of the swim did not go to plan and I got blocked so I could not get out in front which is where I wanted to be, but I still managed to come out in 10th position and got into the main bike pack for the cycle leg with the other two southwest girls around me as we went out onto the bike course. By the time we started the run I was in a reasonable position with the other two girls somewhere behind me, but not sure exactly where. The run went well and I came across the line 19th overall and the first girl home for the South West meaning I got the automatic place for the school games which I was really pleased with.
The long day then finished with doing a relay triathlon where as a group of four we would each do a mini triathlon handing over to the next person in the team. I started off our team and the swim this time went really well coming out in 3rd place before going onto doing the bike then run. By the time our last team member had finished we came in 8th overall a place that we where all really pleased with. It was a really long day and I was glad to get back to the hotel for a rest before we drove home and started thinking about the National Open Water Championships which was the following weekend.
So the following weekend I was back on the road as we travelled to Sheffield to compete in the 3km race in the National Open Water Championships. This was going to be a tough race as I was up against the best open water swimmers from across the country with many training all year round specifically in open waters. The waters at the lake where a bit choppy because of the wind and the rain showers on arrival made for a cold start for the day whilst I watched the 1.5km swimmers do their swims. The temperature was just over the limit for wetsuits for the racing on the day so we where only allowed to wear our swimming costumes for the race. Come my race I lined up on the pontoon and made a pretty good start getting in the front pack as we headed for the first buoy. The racing was pretty rough, more than I have experienced before in any event and I got banged on the head a number of times which did not help at all. Come the end of the race I finished in 20th place, but I knew I could have done better if it was not for the banging around at the start. Still I enjoyed it and was pleased to have got to the National finals.
I am now back in training as the last two Triathlons of the year approach, first the National Schools Games Final which takes place over three days, followed by the British U20 Triathlon Festival weekend which is the last race of the Super Series.