Aberfeldy Middle distance is an annual pilgrimage for many Scottish athletes being one of the few middle distance races in Scotland, so a bonus that it doubled as the British and Scottish Championships (and will be again in 2020). I wasn’t expecting too much as in the middle of a big training block, but secretly would love to get on the podium!
I had the advantage of being in the area the weekend before and managed a recce of both the bike and run route, in what turned out to be far worse weather than it was on race day (which was pretty awful), well at least I know my power meter and electronic gears work even when fully submerged!
Race day was forecast to be on form with my practice run pouring rain and just a wee bit of wind, in-fact so much forecast there was talk of the swim being cancelled.😢
Happily on race morning there wasn’t the strong wind that had been forecast, just the rain. The Vet’s all went of in a single wave after the seniors. I did my usual and went to the front and went full gas, really getting used to the new Aqua Sphere Phantom 2.0 Wetsuit and I hit the front straight away, due to the wind most people were swimming big curves between the buoys which was great as I could see what was happening to the wave in front with the clear view provided by the Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles, and swim straight lines whilst also keeping an eye on those behind. Swimming through the wave in front was fun, unfortunately lost my swim hat so my supporters didn’t realise I was coming out the water so no photos! Superb swim 1st out the water in the Vets age cat😁
Onto the bike and it was wet and windy and cold (yes I went without a jacket or gilet), the new course had a longer run in/warm up before heading up the Scheihallion climb, so suited me much better, and the awful weather wasn’t actually that awful. The bike was Ok, struggled to get the power much over Ironman pace as an overall average, however worked hard on the climbs and used it as a long training session, I had no idea where I was in terms of placing, only that not many had passed me and I didn’t know if they were my age group or others (other than the speedy Robert Harrison who went on to win our age group, fantastic result for him which adds to his many wins this year). The sun came out towards the end and I passed a few other athletes on the flats on the way back to transition.
Slipping and sliding into transition added a 5th element to the Tri, mud running, out onto the run and choosing the road flats didn’t seem like a good idea, almost fell over whilst running through the mud and managed to stay upright grabbing onto some trees and the rope course markers, thankfully after 1km it was onto the road or waterpark there was so much water in some places.
I was running well and felt strong for the first half setting a steady (although not super fast) pace, being an out and back I could see others on their way home but no clue what age group they were in, I kept it steady and managed to hold a consistent pace for the full half marathon, reminding myself through that I needed to train the rest of the week after this.
After negotiating the mud slides it was into the finishing chute and ecstatic to hear the commentator say I was 3rd in my age group! First time I’ve been on the podium in a British Championships, and even better I got the biggest hug after the race, my favourite Triathlon photo now, you can even see my cheesy grin.
Big thanks to all the support and performance partners who have supported me both long and short term Torq Nutrition, Aqua Sphere & Michael Phelps, glad to be able to return the support with another podium result.