Leading up to today’s race I was feeling a little nervous and apprehensive but as race day drew closer I was able to control these nerves. Confident I had prepared well, I arrived on race day feeling calm and ready to go.
Arriving on poolside in the final swim wave of the day, I remained focused and prepared to race hard. With a solid 500m swim completed it was out onto the demanding bike course.
The bike route had a couple of unique obstacles, one being a set or temporary traffic lights which unfortunately for me didn’t fall well, the other being the set of traffic lights towards the end of the route where you had to dismount, run through the junction and mount again – ironically, this was only 500metres from the actual dismount line near transition. After some practice earlier in the week I was fully prepared for this so I wasn’t taken by surpirse come race-day. Throughout the bike leg my aim was to stay focused and not let my mind wonder, as I have, on the odd occasion, had a tendency to do that. This conscious more focused approach allowed me to concentrate my efforts during my entire 1hr 16mins bike leg – this I was very happy with. I made my way into T2 fully aware of what was still to come but more than ready for the challenge.
The run at Horwich is a ‘simple affair’, pretty much 4.3 km upto Rivington Pike and 4.3 back down but in no way is it an easy one. Knowing what was to come I didn’t want to push too far into the red on the ascent knowing that the descent will be equally as hard. Again remaining focused I was able to stay strong throughout the run finishing feeling better than I have in a long time.
I know it’s probably heard a lot of times throughout the triathlon world about elite athletes having a ‘breakthrough’ race but it can also happen to us mere age-groupers, always striving for that one race where things felt ‘right’. It might be something as simple as cracking the elusive fourth discipline of swift transitions or getting the pacing right throughout and crossing the finishing line knowing we got the best out of ourselves on that given day. For me personally the way I felt having finished Horwich has been about three years in the making from when I first started working with Racepace. During this time, with the support of close family and friends, myself and Rodger have spent a lot of time not only building my fitness levels up to where I am able to compete with some of the best age group athletes in the country but also building my confidence in knowing that a performance like Horwich was there all along, it just needed me to believe in my own abilities.
I finished the event not knowing my final finishing position but fully aware that I had executed one of the most fulfilling races of my short triathlon career. The results came out later that evening and it transpired that I had won my 1st triathlon – so as you can imagine – I was very, very happy about that! (Sarah Jepson)
(Photo courtesy of www.sportsunday.co.uk)