Start of the 2015 season - my lessons learned

It’s been a while since my last blog post… I wish I could have written about my race in Abu Dhabi earlier, but there was this Masters dissertation that needed to be finished and I figured I better finish that off before writing on other things. But that is all done now and it feels great to have some weight lifted off my shoulders (and it was such a great feeling to finally hand it in!). So apparently the 2015 triathlon season has started! Crazy to think that it’s been over 6 months since my last triathlon of 2014, but I suppose time flies when you’re having fun…

I was fortunate enough to make the start list for the first World Triathlon Series event of 2015 in Abu Dhabi and was allowed to stand on the start line with most of the best triathletes in the world – trust me that is one awesome feeling! While the surroundings were pretty stunning and overwhelming (especially the water was really clear and beautiful to swim in!), I unfortunately didn’t have the race that I wanted. But let us start with the positives: I was quite happy with how my swim went – seems like those winter miles, training on the swimbeam and getting knackered by the guys from the Oxford Uni Tri Club in the pool is starting to pay off! But then the problems started… unfortunately, I had to race on a temporary bike and only had about two weeks to get used to the bike (which isn’t much when the weather doesn’t allow too much cycling…) and the setup wasn’t quite right. Anyways, I didn’t feel like myself on the bike and found myself stuck at the back of the pack having to sprint after every turn to stay in the pack. That was probably why, when I got off the bike, my legs just felt shot. I had absolutely nothing to give until about 3.5k in when I finally felt like I was starting to run (which is a little late in a 5k run…). I probably also haven’t trained running off a hard bike enough just yet, so my legs weren’t quite sure what had hit them.

But only three days later, I took part in a 4x5k relay in Oxford running two legs of the relay with my legs not really recovered yet from the weekend. And on the second 5k lap, I managed to run over 30s quicker than I had done in Abu Dhabi… Turns out I can actually run! As strange as that may sound (I know what times I can run in training, so I should know that I can run…) it was actually a really nice confidence booster after the weekend.

And as so often in my life when something didn’t go too well on the sporting side of things, something good on the Maths side happens… and along came an offer for a PhD from the University of Oxford! I still can’t quite believe it and it managed to lift my mood right up again :).

The next two weeks I spent reading, rereading and rereading again my dissertation and improving, rewriting and cutting out every single unnecessary word to make sure I stayed below the word limit, it’s crazy how much there is still to do even when you think you have basically finished it (luckily there are no word limits on blogs…). The aim was to hand it in before my birthday, when I realised that wasn’t going to happen, I changed the plan to handing it in on my birthday… and I gave it my best shot, but at 3pm, after having been sitting on it since 7, I gave up and went training and then home to London (where I was greeted with German pretzels, presents and cake before falling to bed) – proper birthday celebrations had to wait until after the dissertation was handed in…

And now my 21 year old self (I’m starting to get old…) is on training camp in Italy with the Bavarian triathlon squad and my coach. The past few days the weather has been absolutely stunning and even though most muscles in my body is already aching, I am having an amazing time! There is nothing like pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits in the sun and I can’t wait for the next few days, even though I know they will be bloody hard.

Next stop now is Cape Town in about 3 weeks' time… I can’t believe I finally get to travel to South Africa!

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