Day 6 – Tri50 Lanzarote triathlon camp

The legs woke up a little less springy than normal after a joyful and expertly tutored hill climb cycle across the island yesterday.

Never mind I thought as I cast my mind to the imminent aquathlon that was due to start in a few hours time. Surely we would all be feeling a little jaded after yesterday’s adventures and five days of intensive yet triumphant training.

As I peeped out of the apartment the organisers were setting up for our honorary event of the day. Banners, flags, an inflatable start line…blue carpet and a fluffy yellow woof woof mascot. Wow this was no ordinary race! This was a race of testament to oneself! Our bodies had been pushed hard with the many hours of intensive daily coaching. We were learning how to adapt to the uplift in exercise and enjoy the physical strength and conditioning that came with it. But how would we all react under the psychology of race conditions?

Training is one thing, racing is another. Myself and my fellow fierce competitors were about to be put to the test.

A light bite of breakfast, just enough to line the tummy and a large guzzle of water to help hydrate seemed to settle my competitive nerves!!

My new friends, and some old too, started to gather for the warm-up near the start line. Off I went with a beaming smile in anticipation of a 2.5km run, 500m swim and 2.5km run to finish.

9am prompt, the horn sounded and the battle began. The boys took the frontline and the girls were running light-footed at their feet. Beautiful rolling waves crashing to the right, rugged volcanic hills were the scene to the left and the morning sun poured its euphoric energetic rays on all competitors. The notorious wind was out to play too. A familiar bite that had been with us all week. We were all fighting through it, trying not to let it impede our progress.

A flash of red swept passed me… my eyes focused on GBR Smith… my competition! As I lifted my cadence to match hers I was confronted with our first hill. The boys in their fluorescent tri50club vest tops were little dots in the distance. Keep on pushing, relax and breathe is all I had to do. Smith was widening the gap between us, I couldn’t catch her… yet!

Like a magnet to the pool I dived eagerly into the cool clear water. My favourite stage, an opportunity to stretch out, regulate my breathing and try and catch up with my fellow swimmers. Fi
Back out to the run and Smith was professional in transition. I struggled with my trainers and let out a sigh as the gap I had closed was gently slipping away. Arghhhhhhhh!!

‘Remember tall, lifted, light, headlight hip bones forward’, these words replaying as I picked up the pace. Sandra and Stefan’s superb running coaching tips were a welcome distraction as I pushed through the wind.

Smith had wings… she was flying. I simply couldn’t close the gap. A little glance behind me to check if anyone was on my tail, a sigh of relief as I relaxed into my own race. Still trying to broaden my wings, pushing hard and challenging myself.

The home straight was in sight, as I sprinted to my full capacity I was greeted by the inflatable finish line and huge cheers and claps of joy from coach Miss Jo. Her smile spoke a million words of pride and congratulation. Thank you Jo for your endearing support, enthusiasm and positivity that inspires us all to reach the highest of highs no matter what our ability.

What a week… what a race.

A huge thank you to tri50club for putting on one of the most enjoyable training weeks of my life! I have learnt so much and achieved more than I thought possible in such a short space of time.

I am eternally grateful and appreciative to both Jo and Sandra and their momentous backup, Ted and Stefan. Your commitment and love for ‘being a better you’ is infectious. I feel stronger physically and psychologically and will transfer all the confidence, resilience and strength that I have felt into my future training and daily life.

Nichola Shuttle

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