After winning British Champion last year in Liverpool and a silver in the European Championships in Geneva a few weeks ago I had high hopes of achieving a good result in this year’s British Championships. Not only is it the fame and glory of winning a title and a gold medal but also becoming British Champion means that you automatically qualify for next year’European and World Age Group Championships.
I stuck to last year’s logistics as they work, booking into the same hotel and restaurant pre-race. Fitnaturally’s pre-race nutrition suggestion of a chocolate brownie and ice cream obviously works! Even the weather had decided to mirror last year’s race – strong winds and rain. Beautiful.
For the first time ever after about the 400-500m meter mark I lead out the swim! Considering when I first started triathlon 7 years ago my swimming was my weakest discipline its testament to the hours and hours in the pool and some excellent coaching and teaching over the years that it’s now a strength! I completing the swim in 22:51 and after the long transition in and out through the Echo Arena I jumped on my Ceepo Bike Grace to cycle the 4 lap harbour road course.
The winds were strong and in one direction it was a lovely tail wind which makes you feel superfast and in the other direction a horrid head wind which makes you feel like you’re cycling in treacle. My strategy was to just to race as hard as possible, see where I was out the swim, having my coach Michelle Dillon on side to let me know my position out of the swim helped with that – thanks coach and then try and past anyone on the bike or if I got passed just try and keep them in sight to try and reel them in on the run. I knew I was in better bike shape than run shape so I’d have to push hard on the bike. This wasn’t always easy as parts of the course are narrow and some competitors, mainly guys, like to sit in packs using the whole road – naughty drafters! After 1:08:52 I jumped off the bike still in 1st place.
Ok so this race was going to be a case of being chased rather than the chaser – in some ways not my preferred position. At least with the Liverpool run course as its laps and has a few dog legs you can easily see where you’re competition is. I managed to keep the ultra-tall Jo Phillips who was trying to run me down out of reach and after 40:07 I crossed the line in 1st place for the Old Ladies 40-44 and 5th overall.
Perhaps the time of 2:16:55 is a bit disappointing compared to last year’s results of 2:17:12 – have the hours and sweat of training this year only amounted to 17 seconds!!!!!!!!! However you can’t argue with a GOLD medal so I’ll shut up.