Venue: Lough Cutra, Galway
Pre Race: Travelled up night before, got lost more than once! Finally registered and then couldn’t make sense of the route maps – routes were overlapping and the distances on the maps weren’t adding up to sprint distance… the panic had begun. My thoughts at this point were- I’m so out of my depth, I can’t do it, why didn’t I do more training. Went back to the AirBnB for a night cap – yes I was that nervous for a sprint race!
Race Day: Up early not much of a hunger because of the nerves. Checked the weather, it was drizzly, the ground was damp, small winds but that didn’t bother me I was just concerned about the air and the water temp which turned out to be ideal.
Setting up in transition: looking around thinking what on earth am I doing here, in awe of some of the bikes and scrambling to pull the wetsuit on, trying not to look like a pleb.
Race briefing: sat right up the front and have no idea what was said… probably because I was staring around wondering should I take off one swim cap or keep both on…
Swim: rough enough start, I was somewhere in the middle of the first half and It was carnage, arms and elbows hitting me in the head and the face, hands dragging off my feet. Couldn’t get a rhythm and swallowed a lot of water. I tried to slow my breathing and relax, luckily after we swam around the buoy there was more space and I remembered some technique and off I went with momentum until someone hit my goggles off. Swim exit was very slow lots of rocks.
T1: saw one of the guys in the club and made a burst thinking there’s nothing between us I may actually have a chance of keeping into him!
Bike: nice course mainly flat, few small inclines didn’t have any issues, felt strong.
T2: Nearly fell off the bike dismounting…again! I need to figure that out at some point. Ran in, flung the runners on with such force I pulled off one of the clips on my race laces. Legged it out of transition thinking nearly there how hard could 5K be.
Run: Out of transition a solid 2 minutes and I want to die. My legs are sooo heavy and my breathing is shocking. I try to steady up and relax again, I know well I can tackle 5k but as the people are passing me I lose some confidence. X country run so the footing is all over the place, trying to avoid cows in the field. Eventually find a rhythm and off I go counting the km markers, slowly finding targets to catch up with and trying to pass them out. There was no groupings on the run the space between people was vast. Sprinted to the finish, had gas left in the tank and was annoyed I didn’t push on earlier. Delighted to see a club member on the line with a big high 5, first thoughts then – where are the treats I’m STARVING!
Post Race: Initially disappointed with my time because I wanted to do a sub 1h30 but when I saw the female averages I thought maybe I didn’t do that bad. Looking at my splits I made small but effective gains from swim -> bike and bike -> run.
Learnings were; don’t start in the middle of the pack in the swim I will panic and it will slow me down. Try and remain calm but powerful in the swim and throughout. Don’t let the lack of people on the run route effect pace and momentum. Open up a lot sooner on the home stretch and leave nothing in the tank.
Surroundings were amazing, stayed for awards, great atmosphere. Highly recommend the race!
They say visualize your goals ->