Race season is here…

 It’s been almost 6 months since my last blog. (Note to self: become a better blogger) I’m currently on my flight out to Lanzarote for my first major race as a professional triathlete, Ironman Lanzarote. I figured now is a better time than any to give you all an update, as you can imagine a fair amount has happened in 6 months.

Turing Pro…
This was a challenging decision, one that I didn’t take lightly. I spent months after Kona reflecting on the year I’d had, reassessing my goals for 2016. I weighed up the good & bad aspects of going professional in a sport that I’m still relatively new to. Ultimately it came down to creating new more challenging goals, the opportunity to race much more experienced high profile athletes. As well as what the financial implications would be to race another year as an amateur and the potential sponsorship opportunities. Now turning pro I feel I have an obligation to train & race to an even higher standard, in order to deserve the pro race license and keep my sponsors happy. 

Hoddesdon Tri Club awards evening
 

Sponsors…
Since my result in Kona many of you might think that I had sponsors calling me up day & night, this was not the case. Many had led me to believe it would be but I’m not sure it’s ever been like that. Very slowly in the last 6 months I have obtained some fantastic sponsors. I could not have done this without the help of my Team Managers; Martin Godsave and Mark Charles. Both of them have worked extremely hard on mine and my partner Reece Barclay’s behalf. I now am very proud to have some big name brands supporting me; HUUB Design, Boardman Bikes, Compressport and Skechers to name just a few (See full list below).  
 

Reece & I having lunch at our sponsor Your Town
    
 Winter Training…
In the winter months as much as I like to continue racing I do find myself hiding away in our training cave. Reece Barclay and I have a fantastic little set up where we both push each other to our physical limits week in week out. As of March 2016 Reece took on the official role of our coach alongside the support of Bedfordshire Sports Science Department and the GLL Sports foundation. Thanks to GLL since Kona I have upped my swimming volume quite a bit with the opportunity to swim long course at the London Aquatic Centre, I couldn’t ask for a better facility to train at. 
Hoddesdon Tri Club winter MTB ride
 Over the winter to keep things interesting I like to take part in local events, especially those put on by my sponsor Active Training World. I find racing keeps me sharp, it allows me to push to a higher level than I’m likely to achieve in a normal training session. Plus I love to race! Cross country is my absolute favourite thing to do on a wintery Sunday morning, here my team Hoddesdon Tri Club take on the local running clubs and usually win. Triathletes 1 – Runners 0.  
   
Christmas Day Park Run
 This winter I had my first ‘proper’ bike crash at the Ely & District 25 mile TT. I was very lucky to come away with just cuts & bruises, managing to finish the race in 2nd place, adding a speedy 10k brick run afterwards as planned. Even winning a bet against Hoddesdon Tri Club’s head coach Ant Collier, quid’s in, or actually just cake but that’s way better! 
My Lazer helmet from the crash, definitley saved my face!
 220 Awards and Magazine Cover…
Last month I was honoured to win Female Age Group Athlete of year as voted by 220 Magazine readers. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted, I had a fantastic evening at the 220 awards. 
    
 This month I also had the excitement of being on the cover of 220 triathlon magazine, as well as featuring in the Open Water swimming SOS section. Check it out for some of my top tips, including running in shallow water and speedy wetsuit removal. 
 Expectations for the 2016 triathlon season…
Ultimately I have big aspirations within the World of triathlon, specifically in the Ironman circuit. However I feel I must rein them in and be realistic in my first year as a pro. At the age of 22 I don’t want to run before I can walk and burn out. This year is about making mistakes, learning from them and gaining as much experience as possible. I have set myself the target of always being first out of the water, I feel this is a justifiable goal given my background as an elite level open water swimmer. 
 Yesterday was my first race of the season, the Triathlon England Olympic distance championships. I considered this a ‘B’ race given my ‘A’ race is less than two weeks away. I went into yesterday’s race completely unrested but wanting to see what I could do. Britain’s hottest day of the year so far made for near perfect race prep ahead of Ironman Lanzarote on May 21st. 
Swim exit, big thanks to HUUB & Iprint for my awesome kit
  
Running to claim my Olympic distance national title
  
 Post race I spent most of yesterday afternoon/evening packing, with very little sleep and an early flight this morning. I’m feeling very tiered to say the least and looking forward to a well-earned taper. I have a huge amount of respect for the Ironman Lanzarote course, but I’m feeling ready to take it on with everything that is thrown my way. Watch this space for my post-race report.
Thank you…
A huge thank you to all my 2016 sponsors:
HUUB, Boardman Bikes, Skechers Performance, Compressport, Moonlight Design, Tannus Tyres, Pedal Cover Insurance, Stealth Nutrition, Lazer Helmets, Hatfield Cycles, Iprint Stuff, Active Training World, Your Town, BakerPringle, Kayman Construction and Interiors, Generation UCAN, Bike Box Alan, CurraNZ.

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