Female winner: Corrine Abraham, GBR, 2:09:19
Club La Santa was a little piece of heaven on earth. And as such Jess Glynne’s Rather Be became my happy little earworm of the week.
And now, thrown straight back into work and training with no time to reflect and blog, I’m left with a distant memory and a fading tan. But I still have my medal hanging on my wall, so it wasn’t just a really, really good dream.
Just a few hours after waking up in Bristol, I was walking off the plane in Lanzarote, warm and sunny, and a short while after – I was lying on the sun lounger by the bright blue pool over looking the lagoon and arid landscape of La Santa and beyond, onto the rolling lava fields intersected with smooth tarmac that I was to be cycling on at the Volcano Triathlon, held on Lanzarote every year since 1985.
|Volcano Tri – Race Pack|
I was a little apprehensive about the swim as it was my first open water since last summer, and I had a little bit of a panic after heading off – a couple of knocks and difficulty finding my own spot in which to swim, like being in a traffic jam of swimmers – odd when your stroke just lands on someones back – but I focused on breathing, telling myself to stay positive, and sooner rather than later, my breathing eased into a calm rhythm and I was well on my way to weaving myself around the buoys and headed towards transition area, at just 0:27:45 after starting, which was good as sub 30 was my goal for the 1.5km swim.
|Snapped on the way out onto the bike route|
The bike was hot and I kept pouring Osmo over my head as well as swigging it on a regular basis. It must have worked by osmosis (unintended coincidental joke) because I felt hydrated and fresh throughout. There was plenty of climbing on the way out, and the road back and downhill looked so appealing to me as I chomped my way through gooey energy bars up to the 20km turning point. Unfortunately, half way around the roundabout on said turning point, the strong wind said HELLO!!! and the nice looking downhill actually turned out to be a pedal pushing wall of wind all the way back to Club La Santa. I passed lots of people along the way, which was satisfying, and had a chat with a lovely girl wearing a lot of pink called Holly, who had qualified for Kona! So we had a quick chat, and then proceeded to play cat and mouse for a while on the bike course.
Final stint in transition, swig of Osmo, munch on a protein bar and off I went to … oh wait. My shoe is stuck on. Hooray!
So now I know the real reason that people feel the need to use velcro straps for their bike shoes in triathlon. In my nervous state after the swim I had done my ratchet strap up way too tight on my shoe, and it had now firmly wedged itself shut. I lost at least a full 60 seconds in transition sorting this out – I had to pull my shoe off which was no easy task, and as a result I had one of the slowest transition times at a positively nap-inducing TWO MINUTES and NINETEEN SECONDS So the race was now really on the catch some people on the run…
My previous and very first triathlon season had been blighted by plantar fasciitis, and after a few months of the condition fading away and then coming back to say hi like some monster in a scary film, I’d had over four months of pain free running. Thus far from kick-off of Ironman training in January, I had been able to fulfil my running plans entirely, and aside from a little hiccup after a maiden stint on a running track a few weeks ago, entirely pain free and has lead a return to almost pre-injury running fitness.
Long story short – I could run. My legs felt fresh. I felt fresh. I felt GREAT! I pushed it relatively hard, and passed a fair few people on the run. I poured water over my head at every opportunity, partly to cool me down and partly because I’d seen the pro’s do it on youtube.
And then, I finished. With a great big smile on my face. My first race abroad, smiles everywhere, amazing weather, amazing support, amazing organisation, and a great medal to boot.
Post raced analysis? I loved it! And I’ll be back. Pony-tailed race founder Kenneth was all smiles at the finish line, and was pleased to hear that I had in fact enjoyed my first ever race in Lanza.
I had beaten my Olympic race time the previous year at the Cotswolds (2:46:01) by only thirteen seconds (!) (2:45:48), but the courses were different and I’d lost at least a minute to a transition technical, blah blah. But the way I felt when I finished and when I was running was worth more than than a thousand minutes (questionable). I finished feeling good about my next challenge, my half Ironman, which is this weekend, and that which I shall blog about far sooner than two weeks after the race because despite my best intentions, I don’t feel that I can truthfully talk about a race in the best way possible after that long, because all the intricacies are gone, and I’m just left with a bunch of photos and a few fantastic memories. Oh, and a race video. Thanks CLS 🙂