Initially I thought Chicago was to be my last race of the 2015 season, but then there was a change to plan. I decided to take some time to focus on triathlon whilst training in Phuket, and suddenly LPT 2015 was set to be a pretty incredible race for me for several reasons.
Firstly, my new training group Z-coaching calls Laguna it’s home, and thus for the club as a whole, LPT was the race of the year.For me personally, it was also the first time I had the opportunity to be on the start line with some of the top pros. And what an event it proved to be!
Surprisingly, that morning I wasn’t too nervous. I felt ready, I had just come out of a tough block of training, and although the taper had been limited, I felt reasonably rested. What’s more, I wasn’t afraid of the heat. Thanks to the month of acclimatisation in the tropics, running in the scorching sun wasn’t quite so daunting. Plus, thanks to the sweat test I recently had, my nutrition and hydration strategy was a lot clearer and scientific.
On the 5.30 ferry across the lagoon to the beach start, the calm and relaxed attitude of Dimity, fellow training parter and pro-triathlete, simmered any nerves that I had. As we got to the race start area post warm up swim, I was ready to roll. Or paddle, as the case was.
The pro-men’s field was stacked with big names racing for the title including defending champion Ruedi Wild and Michael Raelert, who was to go on and win that day. They went off, and a minute behind them our less dense, but just as impressive girls pro-field went, with 2015 world duathlon champion Emma Pallant, and the two extremely strong Ironman athletes Simone Braedli and Dimity as the podium hopefuls.
As the hooter went, we ran down the beach (thankfully I didn’t twist my ankle this time), and we dived into the warm water, quickly getting into a rhythm for the 1.2 km ocean swim. Then it was a run up and over the beach, and a second dive (not quite so smooth this time) into the murky waters of the lagoon for 600m.
Into transition, and I was pleased with my swim. My first goal of not being left behind completely had been achieved, and after a reasonably smooth – ok, my bike may have slipped and fallen at one point – transition, it was onto the bike. The 55km course was infamously hilly, with short but sharp (20%) climbs for the first 15km. I stuck at a decent but comfortable pace, and with the company of Katja, a local pro-triathlete giving me nuggets of advice along the way, whilst respecting the (generous) 7m thai drafting rule.
Into the buzzing transition zone and onto the run, I felt good. Although not much shade on the 6km golf course loop, the frequent aid-stations with ice, sponges and lots of water meant that you could stay hydrated, essential to get to the end of the 12 kms feeling good. The incredible support from spectators and fellow athletes a like kept my moral high. I restrained on the first 3km, knowing I had a tendency to overdo it early on, only to struggle for the second half.
With just enough in me to pick up the pace, I crossed over the finish-line after correcting Wit the commentator on the pronunciation of my name, a common error anywhere outside of the UK it seems. I discovered I had managed to give a decent performance, pretty consistent across the three disciplines to come 5th female overall, and first age-grouper back to win the 18-24 AG.
And so it was onto the notorious after party, which involving dancing, music, a beach, a swimming pool and a lot of dehydrated athletes was bound to get slightly out of control.
Thank you to everyone at Z-coaching for the support along the course and in training, in particular coach Jurgen Zack for getting me race ready. Also to the incredible race organisers, who are undoubtedly key to the events’ continued success. Also to my parents and friends from across the globe supporting me through this journey. I would not have done it without you!
All the best, and hopefully another race report soon, Imo xxx
“Every pro was once an amateur, every expert was once a beginner. So dream big. And start now.”