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Captains Blog

Every week the plan is to keep you up to date with some of the amazing things this club achieves throughout the season. So train hard, rest well, and race even harder; the results are in your hands.

June already and triathlon season is well underway

I know a few people have had their A race come and go already with fantastic results from Pete Thompson, Andy Bryant and George Peasgood. We have had Clare Powell take part in her first triathlon a few weeks ago (what next Clare?) and several so called 'newbies' make a serious dent in marathon running just to add an extra challenge.

For all those who were shouting at the screen last weekend whilst watching the racing in Hyde Park, Walden Tri had another success. Walden Tri member Jeremy Lovell also made a big splash last weekend with an amazing result at the PruHealth World Triathlon London. He finished 3rd in his age group of M50 in the Olympic distance in 2:15 and finished an incredible 147th out of 1406 competitors. Having raced with Jeremy before, I know he is an outstanding competitor (so the results don't surprise me!) but it is fantastic when after months of training, you can enjoy these moments of success when it all comes together. Congratulations Jeremy.

Good luck to Howard Williams and anyone else who is tackling the ferocious Dragon Ride next weekend. I hope the weather gods are kind to you and we hear about it.

Enjoy your training and racing!

Firstly, can I just say a huge congratulations to Hannah Traer-Clark on the huge a accomplishment of completing her first marathon in Edinburgh.

Hannah has been beset with injury and lack of training time but shows what can be achieved under less than ideal conditions. Andy Stoten didn't do too badly either, just 22 seconds short of 4 hrs. Come on Andy, must do better!

I thought today I might mention what a decent bunch triathletes and cyclists generally are. I had a fairly horrible experience last Sunday after heading off for a typical group ride (usually something to be enjoyed!) knowing I was slightly under the weather. It didn't end well as I was completely unable to keep up with any of the groups and after turning for home, I had a very slow and wobbly ride back in the direction of Saffron Walden. I am ashamed to say that eventually I was so pathetic, I had to ring for someone to come and pick me up to get me the last bit home. However, on the upshot, the group ride were really kind and a number of cyclists kept dropping back to check I was ok even if it meant they might lose the group. Once I headed home, lots of cyclists bothered to stop (much to my embarrassment!) to check I had food, drink and ask me if I needed any help. So thanks everyone. I hope I never feel that useless again.

I am keeping my fingers crossed for George Peasgood racing on Saturday at the World Series in Hyde Park. Good luck to everyone training for their up coming races!

This is not much of a Captain's Blog as I have not done a lot the last week except get over a chest infection and work!

Training has been forgotten about for almost two weeks which feels like a ludicrously long time. In the warped perspective of getting over illness, I feel like I may never swim, bike or run again. However, my mum has shamed me into accepting the ridiculousness of my panic over lack of training as she whizzes about the house on a pair of crutches following a knee replacement operation last Saturday.

One thing this week that really did make me smile is my friend Sam Anderson, one of the lovely people I have met over the last few years. Sam is hugely talented and incredibly hard working, not to mention the British and European Age Group Champion in sprint distance and the runner up for the 2014 World Duathlon Championship. In short, she is a very experienced athlete. So if your season has not started quite as you planned, this might cheer you up....

'In my first attempt at the British Champs back in 2010 I punctured and it felt like the world had ended. Sat on the side of the road crying, I was picked up by a marshal in his van. He tried to console me as I blubbered "but you don't undeeeeeeeeeerstaaaaaannnnnddddd!" accompanied with a whole lot of tears and snot. So after a little while he asked where I wanted to go and when I replied "transition" he asked, "so what's that then?" Uh Oh!!! Turns out I had got into a random red van with a random man and was enjoying a random trip around Milton Keynes!'

Thanks for that Sam! Last but not least, a huge congratulations to Andy Bryant, our new Ironman who is fresh back from one IM to enter IM UK!

Have a fantastic bank holiday Monday!

For the first time in quite a long while, I actually have my own race report to add this week!

I had my mental thoroughly tested last Sunday at Big East Tri with their middle distance Tri. Having been lured into taking part this year by the images of glorious sunshine and BBQ's that went on last year, I felt a little short changed by the weather. Out at Bradwell-on-sea, the strong winds we had at home, seemed magnified and the boats in the ship yard clanked and groaned alarmingly as I left my car. It was cold! I pondered on my wisdom to take part and my neighbours who had parked next to me looked equally grim. I felt a bit more reassured when I found some other WT friends but it was dawning on me that this was going to be a tough day. Hardly any women seemed to be taking part in the middle distance - uh oh!

Although we were swimming in the marina, they announced that the swim would be shortened to 400m as the conditions were so basically an exercise in getting wet and I made a few promises to myself about never entering a Tri this early in the year again. We had a quick WT penguin huddle and I took some confidence that Teresa was there (and it was only a short practice race for her). Simon Page and the rest of the Olympic distance set off first. Then our turn. Teeth chattering we got in the water and a few minutes later off we went. It was a complete scramble to the first marker as they had changed the course and the whole swim was short and narrow so a fisty cuffs all the way. Phew, glad that's over.

In transition I worked hard to get my fingers to manage a zip and put on an extra layer of clothing and off I went. I had been warned the first 15k of the course was into a head wind. They were not wrong! However, the bike leg went well and the rain held off. Marshals kept telling me I was third lady. Third? Really? I had not seen another woman except for a much quicker swimmer who I left in transition. Then it dawned that they were counting the Olympic racers and I wondered whether I would hold my lead on the bike. I took the advice that for middle distance, you don't want to work to hard on the bike. So I didn't. I knew when I got off, I had a horrible run to do and then an essay to write when I got home so I wasn't terribly motivated.

Having finished my afternoon jolly on the bike, I got a cheery greeting from David Peasgood who was marshalling at the dismount line. I was dreading the next bit. I think I can safely say that however bad I thought a 13 mi brick would be with no proper training, it was actually a whole lot worse! I spent 7km stopping and starting as I had a shin splint that had been plaguing me for months. Having frozen, running on stilts feeling and ice blocks for feet did not help. And then came the 8 km around the peninsular into the head wind in long grass. This bit was not enjoyable!

I was wobbly from tiredness and making mistakes with my feet. I though Teresa would be catching me up and I was surprised I hadn't seen any other girls. I had a fairly miserable run back to the transition area and then we had to do it all over again. Second time round I got into a running rhythm. You know the one - you know you're not going fast but keep putting one foot in front of the other, switch brain off and just repeat. I was very happy to see the finish line and it was only when I stopped moving I realised just how much that run had hurt.

I heard Teresa had punctured on the bike course and had not long since started her second lap so I was really proud of her completing it as she had the longest (and coldest) day of all of us. Jeremy Buss also did really well and I was told from David looked really strong in the run. Phil Roberts put in a solid swim and bike and finished on one lap of the run. And Simon Page continued his impressive season with 7th Place overall in the Olympic distance in 2:13. Which under those conditions was very quick. Oh...and I won which I was really pleased about. Rather ironically, my prize is a pair of trail shoes. Perhaps I should use them!