I was delighted to qualify to represent GB at the European Triathlon Union Middle Distance race at Challenge Herning, Denmark, which is approximately 30 miles away from Legoland in Billund. Its rather competitive to qualify so I was pleased to have qualified and went with the sole purpose to enjoy the event as I knew that I was never going to win it!!!
The race was a half Ironman distance race with split transitions and had a run centred around the city. The weather before and after race day was heavy rain but luckily (or in my case unluckily – more later) race day was really hot as the sun had made an appearance.
The day before was spent prepping for the race with a drive round the bike route with friends, attending the race briefing and team meetings as well as placing transition bags and my bike in transition. The 3km ride to transition in the rain meant that some of my kit was soggy for race day! The official race briefing was interesting especially finding out that there drafting distance had been increased to 20 metres!
Race morning itself was relaxed as I was staying in the Team hotel so I relaxed with friends. It was great to have my swimming lane buddy Nigel Watson there too as his friendship as well as support and knowledge of all things Team GB was appreciated.
The 1.2 mile / 1.9km swim course was held in big lake and included a lake start. Unfortunately within the first few strokes I got hit in the goggles which meant that I completed the race with one eye of my goggles filled with water. But when you’re at the start of a race, you have no choice but to carry on and that’s what I did. I still managed a pb for the distance but I was confident of a faster swim split after how my training had gone.
The bike course was flat to undulating with one small climb however the challenge was to remain areo as the winds were strong. I had a fabulous bike split with 19.4mph average for the 56 miles / 90 km and I was pleased that my training had paid off. It was great to see the ‘Wombles’ cheering out on the course as well as Erin.
The half marathon run was interesting as it was 4 laps comprising of a mile out and then back section and a mile of twisting and turning over a road bridge, under an underpass, indoors through the towns library and also down the pedestrianised high street. The heat at this time of the day made the run tough for me: I’m never great in the heat. I started at a steady pace but by the second lap of 4 I had started to lose speed. Now it wasn’t a disastrous run as I kept running but it wasn’t what I hoped for. But that’s the joy of Triathlon I suppose that you get a few mini races which build together to make a complete race so I was pleased that I had a pb bike split despite an eventful swim and run.
The red carpet finish was truly amazing and I made sure that I enjoyed it by high fiving the spectators (even if this did cost me a few seconds and getting under a time boundary 🙄). I made my way to the recovery tent to receive beer, food (pasta and McDonald’s 🙄) as well as a long relaxing massage.
To further help with my recovery, the nights and days after the race were spent exploring the bars, restaurants and spa’s of Herning with my new GB team mates.
I’m mega chuffed that I qualified for this event and had a truly fabulous GB experience. It was great too that fellow tri club friends Kelly and Erin also qualified. Now it’s time to get training for the European Triathlon Union Long Distance Championship at Challenge Almere-Amsterdam on Saturday 9th September – eeek!