Maastricht 70.3 – The Training

Maastricht 70.3 – The Training

After many years of standing on the sidelines to watch my wonderful husband run down red carpets, I figured it was time I had a go. I must tell you that this isn’t the first time I have signed up for a 70.3 event or a triathlon of any kind. I have actually signed up for quite a few… I just never got to the start line. Life got in the way and as my excuses got bigger, so did my fear of taking part and I often felt like an imposter in this crazy world of triathlon. 

Mark raced after COVID in Spain at full Ironman distance and I told myself I wouldn’t be drawn into the hype and book anything silly, but as he bounced down the finish line and the music blasted with the compare shouting


I found myself thinking, maybe I should just do a sprint and see how I get on, a little one and not tell anyone, maybe a pool swim…….so an hour later sat in front of the computer I booked a 70.3 in another country in a great big dirty river swim!  Go me… personally I blame the branding and the need for Ironman merchandise with my name on it!

Fortunately, I have a wonderful lady in my life called Kate who in the founder of Smiling Tri Coach. I called her up booked in her services and as Kate had coached me before I was a little less nervous, she didn’t seem to think I had lost the plot and was 100% convinced I could do this.  My plan at this point was only to get to the starting line.

Time for training to begin. We knew the bike wouldn’t pose to much of an issue, but we had the bits at either side causing me some concern. You see I can swim but only front crawl, and I have a fear of open water, and on race day my nerves are so shattered that I can’t put my head in the water and I was never going to make the swim cut off doing my dodgy breaststroke.

Running has always been an issue with back problems, plus I also have Crohn’s disease and the one thing which can cause a flare up is a bit of stress on the body which running does bring… oh, look the excuses had already begun!

Not fazed Kate set the training plan off and we got stuck in. I honestly don’t know when training increased or if I even noticed it, but I remember one day I was running for 3 min walking for 90 seconds and the next I was running for 45 mins.  When an hour became my short run of the week, and I thought, wow this might actually happen!

Swimming had improved and if I swam with lots of people that was good… with 1,500 plus doing the event I didn’t need to worry.  As we live in Spain, I spend most of my time without a wetsuit, so when I went to the UK for a visit, I decided to go for a swim in a wetsuit… in the suit I couldn’t breathe and was back to square one… PANIC!!!

We were going to Annecy to run a cycling holiday and I thought let’s not worry too much I can swim in the lake and get used to it, but it wasn’t working out to plan and even in Annecy my fear was stopping me from swimming.  A wetsuit swim was looking likely and if I couldn’t get the swim done it was game over. OK, so now I might sound a bit cuckoo, but I started visualizing a slow and strong swim in the water and at bedtime I would fall asleep imaging race day and how calm and quiet I would be, my long slow strokes pushing through the water, while I was in my wetsuit, with deep breathing that I’d mastered at yoga, I imagined how amazing it felt.

The other thing that happened that week in Annecy was that I took on a climb called Semenonz, not an easy climb at 16k with an average of 6-8% and it was very hot. I wasn’t sure I could do it;  I am a cycling guide and often your cycling is at the speed and ability of everyone else in the group, so you rarely get the chance to push yourself, but we had a great group in, and they were happy to see me out of my comfort zone.  As I summited, I did think this is it I can do this triathlon thing, look what I just climbed, it was a real confident booster.

Back to Spain, and the last push of training, the bike was going well, and Kate decided we needed to push on more with the running. I had lost some time in the earlier months due to COVID which had knocked me sideways, and was still only at 13k max. I went out for a 2 hour run and did 15k, it was my longest run I’d EVER done and although slow, I didn’t care I had it in the bank.  I had done a couple of swim races also again without a wetsuit but was feeling more confident than before. I did a turbo that was set by Kate and had to turn my FTP up to 108% at this point nothing was going to stop me, all I had to do was make the cut off’s!

At this point 2 weeks before I thought I’d best tri my kit on, so pulled out an old Tri suit to find it didn’t fit anymore and would take me forever at loo stops (when I run I need them a lot!).  We tried to buy stuff in the shops, nothing fitted!  I then realized I needed new googles, I needed running socks would I use etc!!!!  I would highly recommend doing this 6 weeks before any event. Another hundred bucks lighter (have you be warned about the cost of triathlon) I was ready and being married to a bike mechanic and experienced triathlete, all I had to do was get my nails done now enjoy the taper and plan my finisher’s smile!

To see how I got on read My Race Blog