The turn of spring marks a year since my first triathlon, although I can’t say I find the concept of leaving a nice warm pool to run outside in the cold and jump on to a bike any more appealing!
Having come from a sporty background and wanting to get involved with triathlon, my friend James encouraged me to come down and race at his local GO TRI Super Sprint event. For him this wasn’t exactly a first experience, having already set up and run the triathlon club at Kingston University a few years earlier, having been inspired as we all were by London 2012. Like him, I loved it so much that I came back a month later for the Sprint event.
Both events were well organised, fun to bea part of with lots of support and a great mix of competitors, proving triathlon to be a sport for everyone. By this point I was hooked and now had a time to beat from my first sprint distance and wanted to challenge myself, so I entered a nearby triathlon run by a local club. It went well and I managed to finish as first female. James and my partner Michael were now starting to encourage me to step things up and suggested I should race in the World Championship qualification race at Eton Dorney a couple of weeks later. I took some convincing but soon found myself trawling the internet for second hand wetsuits, as this would mean leaving the comfort (and warmth!) of the pool for my first taste of open water swimming.
This race was a step up for me with the open water, mass swim start and drafting on the bike and I was glad to have James and Michael come along to provide a friendly face and a cheer on each lap of the bike course. The whole race was a great experience and amazingly I managed to qualify for the Age Group World Championships to be held in Cozumel, Mexico later in the year.
Throughout the summer I entered a few open water races to try and give myself a chance of feeling more comfortable racing in open water and even managed to pick up a silver medal at the National Championships along the way.
Mid-September, myself, Michael and Lizzie (the bike!) flew over to Mexico for our big adventure, where I definitely had no complaints about swimming in 28 degree clear water, however it did make for a tough bike and run with the heat and humidity combined. All in all it was a fantastic experience getting to race alongside some of the best triathletes in the world and to be on the finishing strip for the famous Jonny Brownlee ‘Blowout’ as well as meeting so many lovely people from all over the world, some of who we have plans to visit and race with this coming season. The race itself was filled with many highs and lows in the space of just over an hour, starting with my goggles breaking moments before the swim start. However, I did manage to PB in the swim and have one of the fastest times on the bike. The run was always going to be a problem having suffered with a running injury for the whole season which unfortunately cost me a top 10 finish, but I loved my time out there and am working hard to give myself the chance to race at the World Championships again this coming season.
I am very grateful that my first GO TRI was such a fun, open and encouraging event that it gave me the confidence and enthusiasm to carry on in the sport.
This coming season I am looking forward to trying to gain qualification to race at both the World and European Championships, alongside attempting to complete my first Half Iron Distance race and support First Stride Events in their exciting first race season. We have lots of trip planned and have even managed to persuade James to drive to Scotland so we can swim in a frozen lake!
Author: Laura Addie