Ali’s Season So Far

It all started in November 2017 when Steve had invited me to an event on Facebook (early Brigg sprint!) I laughed and thought is he mad, my running days were long gone and cycling was my game. I first made contact with Steve in April 2017 for an FTP test, set heart rates zones etc as I wanted to get stronger and faster on my bike. In 2017 I’d done my first TT season with Barton Wheelers, which saw me taking all category records (apart from the hill climb!) and consecutive first place finishes. Without a clear 2018 goal, I needed to keep my focus on staying strong through winter so I opted for regular PT sessions with Steve and started a training plan! #teamworkmakesthedreamwork

Bike training was going well and during PT sessions with Steve, little seeds were being dropped into conversation ‘have you thought about running off the bike?’ What’s your swimming like?’ I’ve got close friends who’ve been doing Triathlon for years, but I’d never had the balls to do it! Well, I did enter Brigg Sprint a few years ago but I pulled out as I hadn’t done enough running (I loved my bike too much !!)

It’s Christmas and I’m away in the Lake District climbing mountains and thinking about my 2018 goals and I’m slowly finding my game plan changing, I was back running and swimming and I was loving it…. maybe I should enter a triathlon, sod it I thought you’ve got nothing to lose and perfect opportunity as you’ve Steve to guide you through it. Entry confirmed, message to Steve ‘what have you done…. I’ve entered a triathlon!!’  Eeeeeek…

The Winter months went by, weather was crap, the pain cave aka as my shed has become my second home and yes I’m back running… no where near where I used to be but the running was starting to make a comeback. I remember doing a run session with Steve and calling him evil Steve but it was the arse kicking that I needed to get me back into it. He said he’d been called a lot worse names before!!!! The swimming was going well, it’s the one thing I did a lot of when I was growing up, so I class myself as a fairly strong swimmer but to find out where I was at it was time to enter Steve’s endless pool. What a fantastic experience that is and learnt so much in just one session.

Finally, after a horrible few months of weather, the TT season had arrived and it’s time to get my race face on. This time, I’m not just racing them, I’m running off the bike too.

April 2018 and it’s time for the early Brigg sprint… my first triathlon. Absolutely bricking it. Experiencing nerves that I couldn’t explain, I’d had numerous trips to the toilet and I was pacing around checking my kit/bike/transition. Finally, I’m at the poolside, I’m biting my nails, tummy doing turns and then my number is called, goggles on and a quick tap on the shoulder from Steve and I’m off… oh my god I feel so sick, just swim I kept saying, slow it down, relax, pace yourself…. swim done and out to transition we go, the conditions for my first triathlon weren’t great, it was cold and wet – so I thought balls to worrying so about my transition time, I’m new to this game so I took my time putting a top on for the bike. The bike is where I am strongest and it was windy… I liked biking in the wind, kind of found it a challenge. Bike done and it’s run time, paced it fairly well and it went better than I thought it would. That’s my first triathlon under my belt and I’d finished third!!!! I still pinch myself now, I’ve never been on a podium in my life, never mind it being my first triathlon. What was going on?!!!

I loved it that much, that a few weeks later I thought, I need a new goal, a challenge, something I could get my teeth into…. so Ive entered an event in September. I’ll keep that one to myself for now!! But I have a goal now and I’ve something to aim for. Steve’s stuck with me for a lot longer now as I’ve also mapped out 2019 in my head.

My time trials are going well, I’ve started mixing it up a bit now between Barton Wheelers and Lincsquad (or shall I say coach has mixed it up for me!!) I’ve PB’d the 15 mile TT and still managing to place myself first on all events. Great to be back on the PB train.

May 2018, it’s Tour of the Peak time, an epic bike ride covering 113 miles with over 11,000ft of climbing, I’m in my element. For those that don’t know me, I love hills!!! I eat them for breakfast. I loved every single mile and wow, they were hills to die for. Relentless hills but they were amazing. I had a strong day in the saddle and I’d even go to say it was tougher than doing Coast to Coast in a day. The day before the Tour of the Peak, I told Steve I fancied doing a Park Run and decided to do Scunthorpe, I gave myself no pressure, it was to just turn up and run it. I was very surprised, as I ran it a minute off my PB which was set in 2013. Excellent, my running form was starting to come back.

Middle of May, I thought I need another triathlon under my belt – I couldn’t make any local ones and the only one I could make was the Holmfirth Triathlon. I’d messaged Steve to see what he thought and he said ‘obviously it’s going to be hilly!’ I’d ridden through Holmfirth on the Tour of the Peak so I knew it wasn’t got to be flat and fast, but I loved hills so it kind of made sense. The day before, my husband and I travelled over, we drove the bike route and kind of sussed the run route out…. and yes, it was hilly!!!!! I wasn’t bothered, just crack on and enjoy it was my mantra, it’s all part of the training. It’s race day….. weather was perfect, the wind had calmed down, it wasn’t too hot and I felt good. Not so nervous this time and I was feeling rather calm.The pool was tiny, 20 metres, not very wide with four lanes…. it was choppy!! Swim done and it’s bike time…. and up we go. The bike route had two fairly steep hills (out of the saddle climbs) and a long gradual climb and it was a three lap circuit. Great… whilst on the ride I kept thinking you need to keep your legs for the run. Bike done and I’d gone past the entrance into transition, what an idiot!!!! Anyway, off the bike and into the run. Lovely flat start along the side of the river, I had it in my head the run was fairly flat, well I got that totally wrong!!! Up we go back on the bike route. The downhills sections were good but my legs felt stuck and before you knew it, up we go again and again!! It was tough. But, I got round and I’d finished. Everyone at the end said the run was tough, which made me feel better. Boom. Triathlon number two, finished. But I hadn’t just finished, I’d also managed to end with another podium finish! Third place.

That’s two triathlons done and two podium finishes…. onwards and upwards we go coach, thanks for the journey so far. I’m a triathlete!!!

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