Just two weeks after Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire it was time to compete again at the ‘Grafman’ English Middle Distance Triathlon Championships. Despite having a slight down week after Staffs I had to ramp my training up again the week leading into the ‘Grafman’, as Ironman UK is now less than 3 weeks away! Racing tired is something I’m very used to from my years as a swimmer, racing nearly every weekend off the back of 20 hours plus of training. My intention for the ‘Grafman’ was to race tired and use the event as a final big training push for Ironman UK. I knew for many of the athletes this was to be their A race and it would be a fiercely competitive field.
The week leading into the ‘Grafman’ I was still struggling with blisters from Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire. After completing a long training run on the Thursday my left foot started to swell up, with an extremely painful, awful looking blister. (Photo too nasty to upload!) By Thursday evening I was unable to walk and racing at the weekend looked extremely doubtful. I made an emergency doctors appointment on the Friday and was told the blister was infected, told under no circumstances to run and given antibiotics.
Race day morning arrived and of course there was no way I wasn’t going to compete. I taped up my foot and was ready to go. The swim went as planned, lead from the beginning, swim through the majority of the men in the previous two waves and get out onto the bike with a good lead. I completed the swim in a time of 24:05.(Just two seconds slower than my Fiance Reece who went off in a earlier wave, so close!!! We’re not competitive at all haha!)
The bike leg was fairly lively with two out and back turn points, loads of riders and plenty of wind & rain to make things interesting. It was a great course for seeing where you were positioned and made for competitive racing. The bike is my weakest section, to maintain my lead and enter T2 as first lady felt really good. My bike split was 2:38.44. There was a slight drama in T2; due to the cold weather my hands had gone numb and I really struggled to removed my helmet, it felt like I had wasted minutes by the time I got it off my head. Stressing about that as I left T2 I realised I had forgotten my nutrition race belt. It was too late to go back!
The run course was similar to the bike, with two out and back turn points that you had to visit twice. My run was feeling good with only a slight pain from blisters. As the run progressed the gap between myself and the lady in 2nd place was getting smaller, I felt as though I was running for my life. Having lead the race from the beginning there was no way I was going to lose it now! At the last turn around point there was less that 2 minutes between us. I ran strong and hard to the finish and managed to maintain my position. I finished first lady overall in a time of 4:37:47, just shy of the course record!
This photo shows a roar of pure relief, I was delighted to have won the race! I was National Middle Distance champion, and it felt great!
Watch out Bolton, here I come!
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