Sunday, 15 May 2011

Shocker at Salisbury Tri

With around a year of racing under my elasticated belt, I was ready to take on my local triathlon: Salisbury.

I did the classic triathlete thing that we all do but pretend we don't do.. I trawled through some results for previous years and picked out people that I thought I could beat and people I knew I'd get nowhere near.

From these results and my own, optimistic ideas about my abilities I created a series of mini goals: sub 8 minute 400 for the swim, an hour for the 19 mile bike and a 32 minute run. Of course they were all best case scenario times and I knew it was unlikely I would hit any of them. Factoring in a bit of extra time for each one and the transitions, I was aiming for anything under 2 hours, but secretly I wanted to go under 1:50.

Now it's worth noting here that I think I'm a fairly positive, cheerful sort of girl. I like to make the most out of everything and tend to laugh off the nerves and be a bit of a joker when times get tough. Today though, from the moment I pushed off from the wall of the pool, there was no laughing and there was no joking. All there was was absolute despair as I had what felt like the least enjoyable race ever!

Just moments before the race briefing I realised I hadn't drunk anything and I'd completely forgotten to have a pre-race gel or any sort of food since my early breakfast. This probably wouldn't make a massive difference but psychologically I'm sure I felt under-nourished. As most of you know I am not a fan of missing food, especially planned food!

I set off in the swim and felt alright for the first few lengths, a little breathless yes, but alright. Turns out I was breathing so hard that my extreme nostril flare was causing my noseclip to slide off. I thought I had learnt from Ringwood and hadn't put suncream on my face, as I was sure that was what had caused it to slide last time.. but no.. muscular nostrils are definitely the problem. I clearly never try hard enough in training as this never happens!

So, after a horrible swim and much noseclip tampering, I hauled myself terrifically ungracefully out of the pool and tried to look as composed as possible as I ran to transition.

A bit of faffing, the classic egg glove-dropping manouvre and a fight with my socks (my best attack move being 'the hop') made for a very un-speedy T1 and I felt a huge relief as soon as I was cleated and in the saddle.

This is where it all started to become not fun. Normally from the instant I am reunited with the lovely Bianca, I am completely happy for the remainder of the race. The strong winds and uninspiring course reduced my smile with every single mile! On emerging on the A303 into a fierce headwind and joined by zooming lorries, I was about ready to give up; validating 'not having fun anymore' as a good enough reason in my head.

Eventually the bike course of doom came to an end and I was pleased with my mildly erratic but fairly efficient T2. That was until I tried to run completely the wrong way out of transition...The cheers from the crowds did help to lift my mood as I started the run - that's definitely the best thing about doing your local triathlon - having loads of people you know to support!

I was in some sort of race limbo during the bike and run, there was nobody in front to chase and nobody behind to evade. It feels less like a race and more like a really painful training session. For this reason I have no idea if the run was good or not, you never can tell how fast you're running when you've come straight off the bike, it always just feels very laboured!

Suffice to say I was pleased to finish. I didn't have time to analyse the race or chat with the others or wait for the results as I was a bit frantic, I had a bike to dismantle and a plane to catch. Retrospectively, I suppose we all need a bad race once in a while to make us feel awesome when we have a good race!

Lessons learned: get a better nose clip, take a moment to recce the transition properly and don't race the morning before you go on holiday!


  1. Lol, that's my l'il Egg. Making the most of all the minutes before flying to the Alps!!

  2. Actually Egglet, I'm pretty sure you're time was 1.48 something, so you achieved your secret ambition! I had a shocker too - a double exit manoeuvre from the pool, scrapping all my skin and then the worst T2 ever, loosing 5 places! Not fun, but particularly cos you were not right in front of me. Think I prefer the training!

  3. Egg - I think everyone found it hard and as Sarah has said - you did BETTER than you aimed for - so not such a bad race. I think you learn more from, the races you don't do well in than the ones you do - I hope getting to the fresh air of the Alps inspires you, revives you and enlivens you.