Sussex Middle Distance:

After Rapperswil, I really wanted to get anther middle distance event under my belt before the European Champs in August, as when a race doesn’t go to plan, for what ever reason, doubts do start to creep in, for me, its all about the running at the moment. Last week I successfully turned my ankle over again, only because its now very weak, so it only has to be a small stone I land awkwardly on and over I go. Yep, I am working on strengthening, but it takes time, and doesn’t help if I keep turning it over! Also, quads and hips have been in a bad state since Rapperswil, I think racing when not well, just made it worse. Until yesterday, I hadn’t been able to run over 30mins without having to stop, however, a good session with the physio last Thursday made a difference. Joe, left me in a position which, quote….”you should be fine until mile 7-8, then you may start to get issues!” So, it was a bit of a double edged sword that the run was all off road – Great for the hips and quads, as it meant constant variation of terrain, inclines etc, BUT I had to be very careful with my footing!

In the lead up, I kept it as a training week, so didn’t taper too much, and felt fit, well, if not slightly nervous about the 13miles at the end! The weather was beautiful, and its a great race, beautiful settings at Ashburnham Place. There was a sprint event, standard as well as the middle. We went first, with 4 laps around the lake. The super fast Zone 3 wetsuit (thanks guys) meant I was out of the water in 28mins, first lady, and in the top 5. Then I went to work on the bike. It was a hilly course and down twisty lanes, so like being at home really. I completed bike in 2:39, 8mins faster than the 2nd girl in 2.47. At the point I was in about 6th position overall as well as first lady. So, then came the bit I was (if IM honest) dreading….the RUN! Mental strength had to play a part here, I had so many reasons why I couldn’t run, and if you focus on them, well I wont will I??…Fortunately, it was 4 laps, so I had Ade shouting at me at each lap, making sure I was eating, telling me to focus on technique etc etc which really helped, as did the terrain. I suffered a bit from the heat (I imagine everyone did though), and didn’t drink enough, but did take on more nutrition this time (this was one of my targets for the race) and surprisingly enough, I felt a lot better on the run :) Joe was right in his prediction, 3rd lap was when the quad and hip started to play up, but, being hilly, twisty and different surfaces, it was on and off, so manageable. I finished with a pb on the run as well, and didn’t lose ground on the other girls, which is what has been happening. I now know I had more in the tank, I started the run cautiously, thinking I would die, and struggle, but actually, felt really good on the last lap, so there is more there….that’s great for me to know mentally! So, few more physio sessions, strength work on the ankle and a block of run training, it could be looking a lot more positive for that bit I dread…..the run off the bike! :) My target for the end of this season is to mentally feel I can attack that run, rather than “get through it and limit the damage!”
So, how much of that do you think is mental focus?????
Not sure on next race, either Bournemouth standard at the start of July or one of the GU events the week after…Then Alpe Dhuez, short course this time as its a bit close to Weisbaden 70.3!

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