On Wednesday, only 10 days after completing my first half ironman, I had the other big event of my year - my chance to go and represent Great Britain in the 25-29 Age Group at the Aquathlon World Championships. Pretty cool. This was never my A race, rather I viewed it as an exciting, one-off opportunity, and perhaps a lap of honour. It couldn't be my A race because of the half ironman, but also because of the format - if it had been a 5k swim and then a 1k run then perhaps I might have done somewhat better at it. But I felt very privileged to be there representing my country!
We got up at 5am, collected Claire (who took the brilliant photos illustrating this blog) and headed to London. We'd booked parking near to Hyde Park so only had a short walk to the event site once we arrived, at 7am. I hadn't been able to register the day before so I had to try to find the team manager who had registered for me - that was the most stressful bit. We then went off to find some drinks, and Mr Tuna, who had a very bad cold had a waffle with ice cream to ease his sore throat. It did seem to perk him up a bit.
Here's me setting up transition - unlike a triathlon not that much to do. We'd been promised boxes to put our wetsuits in (with a penalty if we didn't...) but they never materialised. Towels weren't allowed so it really was just a case of leaving my shoes, opened and ready to put on, and my sunglasses, and making sure I knew where my slot was.
Then there was a very long period of waiting around until it was time to put the wetsuit on and go. We sat in the British Triathlon Tent, trying not to get too cold, and meeting up with another athlete from our club, and my oldest friend from school's Mum who was also racing! It was especially nice to see her, as although she went on to take an impressive 7th in her age-group, she was just as laid back about it as me which was refreshing. There was then time for a quick photo in front of the list of names in the British team - quite a number!
Then it was time to go and line up - there was 20 minutes of lining up with the 18-34 females for our start wave. It was pretty chilly at this point and I got jolly cold waiting around, so much so that when we sat down on the pontoon and put our feet in the water, I actually started shivering.
We waited here for about 2 minutes (I had a nice pee into my wetsuit to warm it up), before we were told to get into the water. There was no chance of any warm up in the water (I'd done a dryland one as part of trying to keep warm whilst waiting), but I did manage to dunk my head under a couple of times - it was very brown and about 15C so I wanted to try to eliminate any panic as it was quite a big mass start.Then
Then we were off. I tried hard not to panic and reminded myself that always, always, the field spreads out and then there is more room to swim. In fact, somehow I spent most of the swim swimming on my own, which is a bit weird, as there should have been plenty of good feet for me to hang onto. But if I'm honest, I just felt sluggish for the first 750m, I was obviously still very tired from the half ironman. However, by the time we rounded the last buoy, I was getting into the swim, overtaking people, and feeling really disappointed that it wasn't longer. 1k is such a short swim for me - I did get a pretty embarassingly slow time though of 16:49 - not good at all, that should have been at least a minute faster!T
It was then into transition where I disgraced myself further with the slowest transition in my age-group (just over two minutes) - I think I lost time putting socks on and struggling to get my cold feet into my trainers. And then onto the run. I have mentioned in the run up to the half ironman, the problems I was having with my hip. The half ironman did not do anything to improve that, and even though I wanted to, I hadn't been able to run since that event :( In fact, I couldn't actually run properly, and everyone said I was visibly limping around. Unfortunately because I was so slow, I got a lot of sympathy cheering, which I didn't enjoy very much. But I cheered on all of the GB women overtaking me and was especially excited when my pilates teacher overtook me and went on to a 5th place (she was in the wave behind...)
That said, the course was flat and I somehow managed to do 28 minutes for the run, which is ok for me! Here I am on the last bit.