End of a Great Year 2013

It's been a while since my last race report and quite a lot has actually happened. After Worlds I took two weeks completely off training and was really just sitting around at home doing the things that I don't usually have time for - cooking, baking, painting, tidying up my room... Then, after a beautiful short summer holiday (in October...) I was back at uni and back properly in training.

I had decided to take five of my eight modules this year in the first term (with the hope of having more time next year) - which made this term a pure work and training term. So I'm glad that it's time now to sit back, train and enjoy Christmas.

No three weeks after arriving back in Oxford, it was time for the first races of the new season - a Cross Country race in the morning followed by a swimming gala in the evening (the 200m free felt longer and more painful than ever before!) - I was obviously shattered afterwards. But it all paid off - after another Cross Country race (and finishing second of Oxford in both), I was selected to race in the annual Cross Country Blues Varsity match again, a historic event where six Oxford girls race six Cambridge girls, and eight Oxford guys race eight Cambridge guys.

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But first it was time for the first multisport event of the new season - the British Universities Duathlon Championships. I didn't really taper at all for this one, it was just a hard training session for me - and it was a really hard one! On the first run so many of the girls went out fast and I tried to go with them - but my legs weren't having it. I remember thinking "well, this is not happening today". But I gave myself no other option than to just keep going - and it paid off. After the bike, there were only two girls left in front of me - I knew one of them was out of my reach, but when I got off the bike my legs actually felt like they were ok with running! So somehow I managed to overtake Vicky Johnston on the last few hundred meters - BUCS silver for me, I'm happy with that!

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After the end of term (by which point most people seemed to have reached the point of "I just want to go home and sleep") it was time for XC Varsity! We had a strong team - until two of the runners got injured and one ill, but we were determined to go hard and race well as a team! The conditions were much better than last year - warmer and not as muddy. After jumping through a river and running up the first hill, I was in a pack with three other Oxford girls and two Cambridge girls - with another two Cambridge girls running slightly in front of us. I thought this is going alright (four girls of each team score), but suddenly the pace increased and a few minutes later, the only people I could see around me were from Cambridge, everyone else must have fallen off the pace! This might sound strange, but I actually felt a little lonely... By the end, I was almost falling over the finish line in third - behind Lucy Gossage (who won the race for Cambridge) and another Cambridge girl. All other Oxford girls were beaten by all Cambridge girls - so no team victory for us... Still a well done to all of them! I loved racing in a team with them and I'm sure next year it's our turn again to "Shoe the tabs" (ie beat Cambridge) - and I doubt no one expected the race results to end up on tri247 (“triathletes on the run”) - I remember one of the runners telling me last year that triathletes can't run?

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Now, I'm off to Germany for a week fo training at the Olympic Triathlon Training Center in Saarbrücken (which I'm really excited about), followed by two weeks of XC skiing and festivities with the family, before starting the new year on a little training camp with the Bavarian squad - starting the new year how I want to carry on ;)

On that note: Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

© Sophia Saller 2016. All rights reserved. Impressum