In the last week there have been some epic efforts and achievements from Fusioneers with race reports to match the calibre of the fantastic results.. I know my penmanship and racing isn’t quite up to this spectacular standard but here goes for a run-down of my fifth Sprint Distance event in the last six weeks – Lochore Meadows.
After Stirling I was feeling kind of burst and the continual drama with my new bike had put me in a bit of a downer, but I thought I’d see how I felt by the Friday night and decide whether I should go and race at Lochore or not. By the time Friday came I decided I should go for it with my loyal B’twin road bike and hoped to gain a bit more experience and confidence in open water swimming and set myself a personal goal on the run section.. It turns out I made a good decision!
A 0520 alarm after a 0200 bedtime due to another friend’s 30th Birthday party wasn’t the best start to the day, but having prepped all my kit in advance the only requirements were to ensure I put my clothes on the right way round and have the window down in the car to keep me awake for the hour and a half car journey to the race! (to clarify, no alcohol was consumed in the aforementioned birthday celebrations much to my friends’ absolute horror!! Only in the west of Scotland can you be in a bowling club and drinking one of the more expensive options on the drinks list all night and it being…yes, you’ve guessed it, water!) – I digress!
After seamlessly registering and getting set up in transition I had a bit of time to eat breakfast, a wee 40minute shut-eye in the car and some last minute beetroot juice (cheers for the tip Ali!) before donning my wetsuit and heading over to the race briefing. When I got there the standard distance athletes were getting warmed up and I liked the look of the beach start to the swim…very Baywatch… well kind of…
It was near the start that I bumped into fellow Fusioneer and the man who is the reason I got into all this Triathlon malarkey – old work colleague and good friend, Scot Johnston. Scot and I met when I was a graduate trainee 6 years ago and I pestered him for help on a project, we worked together thereafter and became friends and Strava pals. He encouraged me to get my finger out and learn to swim by going to the Fusion Swim development and to give Triathlon a go.. So cheers for the encouragement Scot!! This is all your fault haha!
We chewed the fat for a while then it was time for me to line up to race..
After my not quite Pamela Anderson run from the beach into the water, I managed to find myself some clear space and settled into a nice stroke. It was a triangular loop with all left hand turns. I found sighting was a bit easier than it had been previously, (The Pinkston sessions have really helped my confidence in the water) and the visibility in the water was pretty good which was nicer than what I’d experienced at both Pinkston and Strathclyde. It was also quite warm at 15C making it pretty nice to swim in. I got out the water with 15:45 showing on my watch as I made my way up the beach. Into T1 I had my wetsuit partly off – much better transition than Strathclyde (also put my race belt under my wetsuit to save time – another top tip from Ali).. And off to the bike. (T1, 00:59).
The start of the bike route went through the Lochore Meadows Country Park which had tarmac speedbumps which weren’t great when trying to get moving, but once on the main road it became clear I had a bit of work to do to catch up with the fast swimmers, some of whom were out the water a good 3-5 minutes ahead of me! I got my head down and then the hills came, and kept on coming… I had no idea it was such a hilly course! I plugged on and passed a few riders as the kms went by. I also inadvertently made a new friend as I had a guy from the standard race drafting me… Pretty sure that isn’t allowed… Oh well!
Chris O’Neil passed and offered some kind words of encouragement which was great and then sped off into the horizon – amazing riding Chris!
Half way round I seen a male rider who had a flat walking along pushing his bike, I offered him my CO2 and a spare inner but he said ‘no thanks’ so I pushed on… Always nice to offer I think!
I finished the bike a bit outside 40 minutes but given the hills I was quite pleased.. I racked my bike, helmet off, shoes off (I really need some practice dismounting and mounting with no shoes on – one for me to work on during transition training over the summer!) trainers on and off I went for the final bit… The run (T2, 00:51)
So anyone who has been vigilant will know from previous race reports that I struggle mentally with running, I have a passionate dislike towards it, and anyone who has been training will also know I’ve been absent from run sessions since last year.. However, I decided I was going to test some positivity out on this event and wipe the slate clean. I set myself the goal of not stopping running until I crossed the finish line… Now, I know to the majority that’s probably just what you do anyway, but I’ve always really struggled pushing through when I get too warm, or come across an unexpected rise in the path, or feel a bit fatigued. So I started and just kept telling myself to keep going, for me personally I find running requires much greater mental strength than the other disciplines. After just over 1km George Lambie passed me and cheered me on and then coming in the opposite direction I got a high-5 from Chris – great Fusion cameraderie at about 2-3km the first ladies started coming past and I spotted Hannah Hutchison going really strong within the top 3 places, I gave her a cheer and kept going. By the time I got to 3km I was maintaining my positivity and dare I say it, I was actually enjoying it! I decided to try speed up a little and finish strong. Unfortunately in the last km I was overtaken by a few very strong female runners, I done my best to speed up a bit more but didn’t have the legs to catch up.. Perhaps more training would be beneficial!
Overall time 1:23:21
Really pleased with this from a time and from a personal goals perspective.. For me it’s all about the journey.
Now time to train and get myself in better shape – no more racing until September for me!
Well done to all Fusion members and friends of Fusion including: Hannah Hutchison, Deirdre O’Reilly, George Lambie, Chris O’Neil, Scot Johnston, Graham Macaulay and Alisdair McLaren who raced on Sunday at Lochore. Sorry if I’ve missed mentioning anyone