This weekend was the last race of the season, finishing with one of my favourites – Hever Castle! Having had 2 weeks off in Australia, and done some minimal training the week leading up to it just to get the body moving again, I definitely wasn’t feeling my fittest and was slightly nervous as to whether I would get round the tough course alright! Parys Edwards was also down to race – and I knew she wouldn’t give me an easy ride!
It was great to have my biggest support, Barney come down with me for the race. We do so many races in different locations it is nice when we get the opportunity to support each other actually on race day.
The rain had cleared up and I was excited to get going. Jumping in was a slight shock – the water was a bit chillier than expecting! We were soon getting counted down and it was time to go. With the start line being nice and wide the swim is pretty civilised – easy to navigate and nice to go down the little rivers, other than when you scrape the bottom! I felt relatively comfortable on the swim, and was pleased to see my time at just under 30mins when I came out. Its a little hill up to transition, and coming out with another lady I was determined to get past her before getting out on the bike.
Onto the bike and my legs were screaming at me from the beginning. I managed to settle into a rhythm but it was not a comfortable one. My legs definitely thought the season should have ended in Australia! Just as I headed out I saw Tom Higgins heading back in – as one of the speedsters I was worried he was having to pull out so was pleased to see him come whizzing back past me a little while later. Anyone that has done Hever Castle knows the bike route is either up or down, some short steeper hills, and some long drags. However there are some nice speedy downhills as well to make up for it. Having been told I was 3rd lady by a couple of marshalls halfway round the course, I was fairly sure I was in lead position coming into T2, having passed 2 other ladies with Gauntlet numbers on.
Time to see if the legs had anything left. . . it didn’t feel like it getting straight onto Shite Lane. . . but I started to feel better the more I settled into the run. Just as I came out of T2 Barney told me I had 25 seconds over 2nd place, so I knew I had to keep pushing. With a couple of glances back over the first lap, I couldn’t see any other ladies so was fairly sure she wasn’t gaining on me, however I didn’t want to get complacent. I started to relax by the final 5k, and was feeling on top of the world coming down the finish shute!
It was great to win with Barney there supporting, and to finish off a successful season. Having also just started working with a nutritionist, Will Girling, it was also great to see gains just 1 week after starting a program – with his advice I felt so much stronger on the second half of the run than I have done in many of my races this season, so I am excited to see what next season brings as we fine tune the nutrition.
And a huge shout out to my BRILLIANT coach Will Clarke, who has been beasting himself in the run up to Kona – cannot wait to see what he pulls out the bag in a couple of weeks time.
The planning for next season has begun. . . and I am excited to tell you all soon what some of the new challenges might be!