• Claire Howard – #thetrilifereporter – month 3

    Claire Howard Month 3 2 What…..really?????  Race season is here already???!!!!

    Big lesson this month…..combining non-priority races with the training for IM Staffs 70.3 in June!

    It’s been a really busy month and a month of real peaks and troughs.  For the first time I had a week of feeling like I didn’t want to train….I wanted to hide away in my bed and sleep!  DO NOT DISTURB!  Unfortunately being a busy working Mum of two, this was not an option.  I’m also not someone who likes to wallow and with the amazing support of my husband, friends and thetrilife I kept plugging away despite the low levels of motivation.

    My introduction to my second ever triathlon season has been four events in as many weeks.  Madness I thought initially but I sit here typing now after completing the last of those and I feel in a pretty good place physically and mentally.

    I want to focus on my most recent race as this was my first Standard distance triathlon.  Located in St Neots I envisaged my furthest open water swim to date being in a river with the current gently encouraging me along the course…..no such luck!  Water logged grounds meant a venue change to Grafham Water….an enormous reservoir just down the road.  Arriving a day earlier meant that I could check out the course along with my tri club buddies.  Bike course, no worries, lovely and flat, should tick along the 38km with no trouble.   Run course, great, 10k, also pretty flat, happy days!  Swim……oh my word that reservoir is massive and it’s cold….those buoys look miles away!  Time to suck it up and just get on with it, 16 hour countdown until I’d be taking the plunge.

    Claire Howard Month 3Race day and after a rapid set up in transition I was all set to enter the 13 degree water in an all female wave, lots of loud, sharp intakes of breath as we acclimatised, head in…..brain freeze! Klaxon went and off we set.  First 400m were genuinely horrendous.  Felt dizzy, something I had never experienced before, so took a few seconds to compose myself and tried again and thankfully by the first buoy this sensation had disappeared.  I fell into what can only be described as a trance like state as I just focused on the noise I make as I exhale, this was hugely calming and reassuring.  The dizziness struck with a vengeance as I entered T1, to the point where I had to hold the rack to steady myself, this soon passed and after 2 minutes I was back in my comfort zone on my bike…….now to make up some time.  Fast bike course and I averaged 18.7mph across the distance with my spirits lifting every time I overtook another competitor.  Much speedier T2 and I was out onto the run course…..super hot and sunny run course!  This is where my 70.3 training really came into its’ own and my legs didn’t fail me, a slightly undulating course which felt tougher because of the heat.  I completed the run in 52 minutes and felt I could carry on which bodes well for June!

    Back to my big lesson……thank you so much Liz Scott.  There is no doubt in my mind that I would not have performed as well at St Neots if it wasn’t for you reminding me of my main goal and to not reduce the training despite all of these races.  The hard work is paying off and I’m loving it!  Four weeks to go……bring on Staffs!