Race Day Maastricht 70.3 – August 2022

Race Day Maastricht 70.3 – August 2022

Once we arrived in Maastricht and Mark set the bikes up, we ventured out to see the event city.  At think point I was quite calm and excited to buy merchandise and to see my name in lights, well on an overpriced t-shirt!

As we walked over the Maas River my tummy flipped out and I immediately needed to speak with Kate (smiling tri coach) to be re-assured that I could do this, and that my training had been enough. I was like a child wanting her security blanket.  Once registered and now the proud owner of the bag I had always wanted, I joked that I didn’t have to do the race, Mark looked less impressed as my earlier melt down made him think that this could happen! We made our way over to race briefing, where I took nothing in and just kept looking at all these wonderful athletic looking people around me, I started to feel like a fake.

Back to the apartment, where we got the bikes ready, quick ride to check them, stickers on, bags ready and let’s go rack!  It turns out I faff a lot less that Mr Retreats who needed to check everything 3 times over! It was a great feeling going into transition for the first time and not standing outside for once. I had put my stuff in my bike and run bag’s in the order I would get them out and visualized it all in transition.

A mental note of the loos and Mark pointed out landmarks for my bike, I thought it is ok I am between the big pink TT and the green one, (of course there bike were on the bike course before I was out of the water on the day😉). My lovely bike looked like child’s play compared to all these square TT’s with shoes in the pedals, gels taped on and pointy hats on them… imposter syndrome raised its head again.

Race day, I hadn’t slept much the night before but I felt rested. On with the kit, streetwear bag ready and let’s roll.

It was quieter than I expected in transition, but I was glad of the quiet. I was back and forth from the loos and nervous about putting the wetsuit on, but I knew I had too. I went straight to the back of the swim rolling start and saw two

people without wetsuits and thought wish I wasn’t wearing mine. It took 55 mins to get in the water, because of where I choose to start and I now know that isn’t the place for me. I should have held my nerve and gone in the 40-45 min marker, but fear took over. I got in the water to the song “let’s get down to business” calmed my breathing visualized the long slow strong swim I was going to have and set off. The water in the Maas is bad and the green algae was horrific, but my biggest issue was starting right at the back, because now I was with the breaststrokes and the people who could not sight so it was impossible to get into a rhythm or get on anyone’s toes. The current felt strong, and I soon realized I would have been better being brave and leaving the wetsuit off. I counted the bridges and as the song had told me “Get down to business” I now know what all that dry land swimming is for, moments like this when your arms don’t turn because of current and neoprene and just prayed I would make the cut off. I could hear the music getting louder and was starting to enjoy this. When I got out it was 49 mins not too shabby and I was ready to ride, thrilled to hear my name and music blaring I got in the mood for the party.

Transition was OK, if anyone knows my husband, they will know that this isn’t his specialty, so it hadn’t featured much in our TRI chats. All went well, personally can’t see what all the fuss is about. I jumped on the bike for the 90k at 900m of climbing it was going to be a breeze! I loved the bike course; it was technical and narrow you really had to be able to handle a bike and although not as quick as most I can control and ride well. I passed a few TT’s and grew with confidence. Kate and fellow athlete Ronnie had given me some advice on HR as I don’t have power meters and can be known to drift off on the bike and needed to be more focused, so HR was a good way to track myself and keep on target.  When I checked I had to reign it in a bit. I could have gone harder, but I know the run was going to be tough on me and wanted to save enough.  Fueling went to plan and I stuck to it, no changing on the day and I did a quick scan of my body every 30 min so I would notice anything I needed. No sloshing in the belly, no fatigue in the legs, not feeling hungry (i.e. thirsty)

Off the bike and on to the run and for the very first time in the past 11 months of training I could do a runoff… Well maybe everyone is right you can do it on the day. I kept my run speed right down and tapped out, walking through the aid stations, even when I didn’t feel I needed to, just as Kate and I had planned, and my best mate Lisa had told me. 10k down and I caught sight of Mark cheering me on, he’d finished 2 hours before so that he could support me, oh bless him! hahaha The second 10k started to hurt, but I told myself well “we are doing it anyway so you might as well just shut up and get on with it, look how strong you are, I am amazing and keep smiling”.  I honestly believe not allowing one bit of self-doubt on the day made it so much more fun for me, I didn’t realize how much self-control I have over the voice in my head until this day and I also never new how much fun I would have. My jaw hurt as much as my legs!

If you are going to do one, I would say train well so you can enjoy it and smile as eventually you will feel that smile on the inside as well as the outside and the crowd love to see it.

I can’t wait for my next one and I am so happy that Kate got me to the starting line, because I loved getting to the finishing one!

If you want to know how I got to the start line, then read my training blog.