When recovering from the ironman in Mallorca I spent a week just swimming easy in the sea and doing some really easy biking. I really didn’t feel like running at all so I didn’t even try to. In the second week I introduced some short easy runs but I wasn’t really enjoying them which is strange for me as I usually love running but by the end of the second week I was almost back to normal and was able to get a good 10 days of consistent training done. Somewhere in that time my run legs started to come back which was a relief.
I hadn’t been to Sardinia before so didn’t really know what to expect but when we arrived there the experience from start to finish was amazing. The race is based at Forte Village Resort which is a 5 star luxury resort and like nowhere I’ve ever stayed before. I had a relaxing couple of days at the resort leading in to the race and by race day I was ready to go. The swim was average for me, there was a relatively large female pro field and our start was separate from the men which is always better. I didn’t have a great start but when the pace settled I found that I was at the front of what seemed to be a fairly large group. I let the group come around me and sat near the back of the pack till the end of the swim.
In to transition I started thinking that we might have a good group of girls on the bike. I was one of the first of my swim pack on to the bike but I decided not to wait to see who would come with me and I just went off at my own pace. I had ridden the main climb of the course a couple of days before so I pushed on to it and climbed and descended fairly well. When the course flattened out I was starting to feel the efforts from the beginning of the bike. Soon after that I realised that the last part of the bike course, which I hadn’t seen was a lot more challenging that I had thought. There were some nasty little steep climbs that I hadn’t really expected but I do love hilly courses so I got to work and made up some places in the last 30k to get to transition 2 in 3rd.
I knew Nicole Hofer who was returning from a long injury would be one to watch and she was in the lead off the bike as I expected. I also knew that Susie Hignett and Michi Herlbauer would be up there as they are both strong all round and great runners. As I started running I felt pretty good so I got in to a good rhythm and got to work on making up ground. I was honestly surprised when I got near the first turn point and saw that the two leaders Nicole and Susie weren’t that far in front. I just kept moving along and soon I was in second then at around 7 or 8 k I was in the lead. Sometimes when I get in to the lead I just can’t wait for the race to be over but this felt a little different. I was comfortable and able to really enjoy the run. I kept running strongly and was super happy to win at such an amazing race and it was great to have Michi and Susie complete the podium. It was also great to see quiet a lot of Irish athletes at the race and there were super strong performances from Jen Duffy, Eimear Fitzmaurice and Kevin Thornton.
At the time I thought that my season was over and I planned to put my feet up after a successful year. I headed home to Ireland and before I touched down in Dublin I had more than one message informing me that I was entered in Saturday’s X Country race for my local club, Springwell. Before last year I hadn’t done many x country races but I’ve found a love for it so I was happy to race. After the x country I headed off to Dublin for the Triathlon Ireland awards dinner that evening. I’ve never been able to attend before so I was happy to be able to make it this time. I’ve been nominated for the Athlete of the Year award a few times but have never won it so it was a great honour to win the award this year and it really topped off a great season for me.
Two days later I was on a flight to Cozumel Mexico with Ritchie to where Brett Sutton is training with his squad. Ritchie is training in Cozumel with Brett in preparation for Challenge Bahrain and although I am not coached by Brett he kindly lets me swim with is group which is a great help for me as swimming alone can be quite difficult. It meant a lot to me when he told me he was proud of how I raced this season.
Knowing that I would be in Cozumel at the time of the ironman I decided to enter the race just in case I wanted to do it (or part of it). I came out to Cozumel not knowing if I was on an end of season break or leading in to another race but when I arrived I kept ticking over doing a few bikes and runs along with the swims with the group. It’s now a few days out from the race and I’ve decided that since I’m here I will at least start the race and I’m planning to do the swim and bike for the race experience. Who knows if I put some shoes in transition I might just end up running too!