Most people who do triathlon competitively, or any other sport competitively, or any other hobbies competitively, are likely to be very good at putting pressure on themselves.
It’s one of my fortes. In some situations it is a forte- but for some it can be harmful, and just end in disappointment.
So for my first triathlon of 2016 – my first real “test” since deciding to train full-time, I decided to not overthink it. Enjoy the experience, and see where my limbs would take me.
I apologise in advance for the deluge of photos of me, myself and I. The photographers and organisers were just too on point.
The race itself was the inaugural Bangsaen tri, part of the Thailand Tri-League Series which attracts professional athletes from across the globe: Ruedi Wild, Mitch Robbins, Dimity-Lee Duke, Renee Baker – to name but a few.
A lot of the Z-Coaching squad were going up to do it, so I decided to tag along. Before the race, there was the inevitable speculating of how people were going to fare etc, and I felt pressure mounting. Luckily, I had planned to travel up with the French crew’s token English girl, so managed to stay away from a lot of the pre-race hype at the actual venue.
We arrived on Saturday after a rather un-smooth journey, and to be honest I felt less than well-rested. Not really feeling that I was in the best physical state for racing. But I had been looking forward to testing the legs out, and when the alarm went off at the highly respectable hour of 4.30, I was up dressed, and ready to go in no time.
Before I knew it, the first hooter went off just after sun-rise, and I found myself paddling around the go-kart-esque swim course: lane ropes marked the whole of the sea swim course which included a Sortie a L’Australienne.
Honestly, I may have been too calm. It took me about 100m for the adrenaline to kick in, at which point someone tried to swim across me and I realised the pack I should be with was about to get away. I picked up the pace and tagged on the back getting into a rhythm as we navigated around the course.
Out of the swim, I felt good but my pulse rocketed as I went into transition. I heard on the loudspeaker that I was 3rd female, and could see Dimity up ahead, and Renee right behind me, so there must’ve been another girl in front.
After a semi-smooth transition – although forgetting to take my shot blocks out my helmet, it was out onto the bike. It took me the 4 km to the highway loop (which we did twice) to find my legs, at which point Renee came past me looking strong. I got behind her and perhaps overly respected the 7m drafting rule for the first lap, taking over the girl who had come out of the water first, with just Dimity in front of us.
Onto the 2nd lap, and all the age-groupers were out on the course. It was a mild case of dodgems and unfortunately, I was silly enough to loose focus and consequently Renee’s wheel. I was left behind, but had got a rhythm going and pushed on. As I got into T2, I saw Renee leaving and knew she wasn’t too far ahead.
For the first 3.5km the run took us up and back along the beach front amongst the food stalls. The squid and prawns barbequing at 8 am did little to help ease my already unsettled stomach, and I was relieved to get back onto the open road and reduce the nauseousness. The second half of the run incorporated a few short but steep hills, and a lot of monkeys – mostly not aggressive, but I was thankful to have the bike escort there to keep them at bay. The downhills did not do my stomach any favours, and I began to quite seriously need the loo. With the finish just 3 km away, I ploughed on.
The finishing straight seemed infinite. At the 9km mark, you could see the finish arch which looked deceivingly close. The last km was a hard one, as it always seems to be when you’re trying to hold your pace. But I guess that’s why we love racing. Pushing our bodies to their limits.
I crossed the line as 3rd female, with Z-Coaching teammate Dimity putting in a strong run to come first, and Renee 2nd with Monica Torres, the Philippino pro behind me in 4th. Congratulations to all these girls for their performances, truly inspiring athletes I feel honoured to race against.
Thank you also to the race organisers of Thailand Tri-League Sunrise Events for organising the race so beautifully- never have I been greeted with a coconut as I crossed the finish line, along with an ice bath!
So, to sum it up, I guess I’m quite pleased with my results, but across all disciplines I feel as though there is still a lot of progress to be made – but that’s what makes us triathletes; always striving for more, better, faster and stronger. Also with respect to racing, there are a few things I need to tweak, but as they say, always learning.
Thank you to coach Jurgen Zack for getting me race-ready, and to the whole of Z-Coaching team for getting such a superb set of results! Also to BV Sport Singapore and Jiakina for getting me beautifully and comfortably kitted out for the race. And last but not least, my parents and family for putting up with my passion and supporting me through my choices.
“It doesn’t get easier, you just get faster”
Time to get ready for the next race, which is Subic Bay 70.3 in a couple of weeks.
Over and out, Imo x