Whilst I headed to France post Bucklers Triathlon with Annie and 3 mates for a week in the mountains, and a quick dash to Switzerland on the way back for a Tristar 111, Anthony, and TP Mark and Evan were making their way to Bolton for the infamous UKIM. After a week of guessing, finally it was announced that due to the unfortunate fires, the bike course was cut short by 20 miles, some happy, some sad no doubt, but it is what it is, and at least the algae was clear enough for a swim to go ahead! Great performances from Evan and Mark who not that long ago were slogging it out in the MDS, huge respect for taking on an IM so soon after that! Evan had a storming race, and it was neck and neck with the final winner of his AG throughout the day, and finished not very far behind in 2nd place, narrowly missing out on a Kona slot. Mark had a blistering sub 1 hour swim and went to work on the bike. After an unfortunate drafting penalty, headed out onto what sounds like a very tough hilly run, to finish in 9.51, a great time! Anthony put in another IM solid performance and in his words “coasted” the last bit of the bike, so definitely more to come there, finished in 10.46 with a 4 hour on the dot run, which must have been painful, bearing in mind the state of his feet at the end! A well deserved break in Mexico now, then back on it for more to come!
Back in Europe, I was racked and ready to go in the Tristar 111, for those who are new to this distance its a 1k swim 100k bike and a 10k run. The bike was up and down a mountain, twice, which under normal circumstances was right up my street! However, struggling with a lack of iron in the body, it was always going to be a tough race, and one that I had no idea how it would go, as still in the midst of blood tests and Doctors appointments to get to the bottom of some dodgy results!
Woken up early on sunday morning with driving rain and a thunderstorm, I cant say I jumped out of bed with joy, however, we made our way to the start, and lined up on the slipway of the harbour so we could all go over the timing mat before heading out to the mass deep water start. Obviously the organisers got a bit bored of waiting for everyone to filter in, and started the race whilst some of us were still on the slipway!! Bit harsh! Especially is it was a good 150m swim to the start, which was more than 1k anyway!! So, swim was making my way around the back end of the field, (I am still not sure how I managed to end up right at the back of the starting line) However, at least the rain had stopped by the time we got on our bikes. First lap was great, second lap, not so great! Definitely lacking some Oxygen in my blood and really struggled with a rising heart rate, burning legs, and just sheer fatigue. I made it back in 2nd in AG and tried to run, but it wasn’t happening…..shuffled to the end was the best I could do. Lesson learned, really dont race if you are anemic, not only is it demoralising to be honest, as your body just will not do what you feel it should be able to do, its exhausting!! So, for me, having just returned from more blood tests, and had a couple of very fatigue filled days, with a heavy heart, once again, I need to take a step back from racing and put my health first. They say things happen in threes, well ankle surgery, losing dad to cancer (a year tomorrow, where has that gone!), now this, I have had my fill in the last 2 to 3 years! I am swinging from stepping back from racing completely now, to, reflecting and reassessing, with the hope of coming back strong in a New Age Group Category next year.
That decision will stay out there for a while. In the meantime, I will listen to the professionals, and start drinking guiness! ha ha ha