Leeds Standard Distance – 29th July 2019 by Alice

My body clearly did not get the memo about race goals for the year and as a result I’ve missed about 10 weeks of run training this year due to two injuries and only made the decision to race on Thursday evening. On Friday morning I wasn’t sure I had made the right decision and on Saturday morning (4am) wondered if I should pull out after all. But I went – MTFU and all that.

We knew it was going to be a faff and it was (a little) and it was also raining – cheers Leeds! But seeing the MTC crew helped lift the spirits and take the mind off the task at hand. An early evening meal and chat with the gang was lovely and in the morning having everyone around in transition was a great way to keep me from having doubts.

So race started and for once I picked a great swim start position and had my best ever Standard distance swim and exited 3rd in my age group – it felt great. However, it was cool in the water and after 1500m of swimming my feet were numb. Bike mount was a disaster: three times trying to get feet into bike shoes but couldn’t feel my feet and I fell off the bike trying to get shoes on, so shoes unclipped from bike, run further up the course, shoes on and onto bike (time lost but never mind, another lesson learned) then I needed some water so grabbed my bottle, had a drink and because I don’t know my new bike well, missed the cage and dropped my bottle (I hadn’t even left Roundhay and had 36k to bike with no water but onward I went). This all threw me a little and I felt deflated. No way but forward though – so I went for a ride up and down Leeds roads. Not as fast as I should have been but it was fun. I got to the lap turn point and started the 2nd lap by trying to exit on the exit funnel (doh!) – got off the bike reversed back, on the bike again and onto the 2nd lap. Relaxed second lap, very happy to see Roundhay again. Approached the dismount line (very narrow path given the several thousand competitors), took feet out of shoes and approached line, it was chokka, so dismounted several bikes back and sensibly, however, a bloke blocked my running path as I was going across the line and I tripped over his back wheel (proper fall over) – several expletives exited my mouth. T2 was uneventful but I wasn’t sure how the run would be as I had pulled the same injury as before when tripping over the wheel.

Anyway, after about 7k of walking up some of the hills and running down them I approached Leeds city centre and then experienced the awesome MTC cheering squad – what a great sight when you’re running down The Headrow – it really picked me up! I was surprised that I hadn’t been overtaken by other MTC women in my wave, given how bad my injury was and the time I had lost in T1 and T2 and on the run, I was certain I would be last. I crossed the finish line and made the effort to smile and wave for the BBC knowing that my clan at home would be watching.

It wasn’t the race I had planned (my slowest standard distance race to date) but I was so happy to have started and finished, to have PB’d the swim and come 10th out of 31 in my age group, despite my slow run/walk.

As Stephen D explained in clear terms, it is a faff getting your kit around Leeds and negotiating closed roads and shuttle buses. However, it isn’t just about the race, this weekend was about having a club weekend race with my triathlon friends and for me, this weekend ticked that box beautifully.

Here’s to the MTC supporters and racers, the cheers, the pats on the back, the club kit, the smiles, the laughs, the hugs, the food, the laughter, the drinks and watching the elites! Let’s do it again but perhaps not in Leeds. And if you didn’t join us do try to next time, it was great. (For me the pic below is why this race was great – nothing else mattered really)

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