IRONMAN Barcelona 70.3
Always best to write a blog a few days post race, especially after my initial disappointment crossing the line at Barcelona 70.3 at the weekend.
Many people may question why I’m disappointed with 5th place at Barcelona 7.03, when still in the prize money and some decent points towards the World 70.3 Championships. But the race, for me, didn’t reflect where I am fitness wise. Had I come 5th and gave it my all/near abouts, then I would have been super pleased, and accept that’s where my fitness is. However, there are always some positives that you can take away from a race, especially given that you’re out there for a fair few hours. I was pleased that I battled through the run, moving up from 10th-5th. The demon inside my head told me to quit post swim, during the bike and getting off the bike. But I’m certainly glad I did make it to the line.
I won’t go into too much detail about my toilet habits 11 days leading up to this race, but it’s one I thought would shift come race day. Splits in training were increasingly faster, and can definitely say that pre race, swim, bike and run were at best form I’ve ever been in. So, off to try out this stunning course in Barcelona. Well technically not Barcelona – Calella.
On entry to the swim venue, it was quite clear to see that the sea was pretty choppy. So a nice warm up of about 10-15 mins was a must. On entry I was like ‘omg I have no energy to even get past the first wave’. I hadn’t eaten breakfast prior to the race, as my stomach was literally rejecting any form of food. Liquid calories was the aim, little and often through the race.
A gel pre race start was shortly seen within about 5mins of the race, towards the first buoy. It was at this point I knew I would be in for a tough, long day out. On exit of the swim, it was pretty evident that I swam probably on par with my first ever tri race. And feeling seriously seasick!
Right, let’s try and turn this around on the bike. The course is epic, hilly, beautiful – my dream bike course! Unfortunately no legs showed up, and my stomach didn’t agree with a late breakfast on the bike either ;). I battled through, and 90% committed to pulling out of the race on exit from the bike, and save my body for Staffordshire 70.3, but sometimes I’m too competitive for my own good. On entry into the bike racking, I had convinced myself to actually do a brick session. How this changed.
I was extremely lucky to have an amazing support crew out in Barcelona; Bex, my dad and brother and Bex’s parents. Seeing them on the run course, I wanted to get a result to make them proud/worthy of their trip out. They were awesome, cheering me on although they could see I was flat, and in a world of struggle. My ‘brick run off’ in my head, wanted to be about 3-4miles. But within 1mile I was making ground, and actually a 6th/5th/4th and at a crazy reach, 3rd, wasn’t out of the question. The encouragement from the support crew grew, and so did my guts and determination to get something from the race.
The run course is fab – along the sea front, with the heat on top of your head, 2.5 laps – made for a great out and back, so you could pretty much see your opposition fading, or those catching you. 2/3rds of my run was something to be pretty happy with. I was slowly ticking off 8th, 7th and then 6th. I could see 5th whilst still keeping my average of 6:23min miles. With 3 miles to go, my body decided to say ‘errr no more Nikki, we need food, which stays in the body thank you!’ So running side by side with 4th, I was in a world of pain. I could quite easily talk, but my body was not happy chappy.
Running down the finishing shoot, with 4th, place about 10 secs in front, I had a huge feeling of disappointment, but still a part of me was proud. Proud I had even made it to see the finishing shoot, proud to come away with some points and proud in the knowledge that if I am ever deprived of food for 11 days prior to a race again, I can get through it!
Massive congrats to the girls up front, absolutely flying! Also to Brit AGer Ali Rowatt, 4th overall, absolutely storming.
Next up is Staffordshire 70.3 in 2.5 weeks time. I have so much fuel in the fire to get back into some solid training, and give it my all on race day.
I cannot thank the amazing support from the guys who came out, followed me back home, sponsors, the volunteers on the course, the organizers and the general support on the course (mainly the run, literally got me through!!).
Onwards to Staffs on the 12th June!