World Triathlon AG Championships 2013!

Did it! Finally, the age group World Triathlon Championships arrived and we got it done. Much of my fear and worry was based in just starting and completing this race. I’ve had bike problems, the roads were wet over the weekend and there had been crashes on the roads and slips and falls in transition, and there’s always the worry that you’ve forgotten something that will knock you foul of the ITU rules or that something will break or go wrong before you even start. It has a been a tough year of competition just to get to London. But all was good.

On race morning the air temperature was lower than expected and the organisers shortened the swim to 750m for all waves in the standard distance race. It was a bit of a shame, and the Serpentine itself wasn’t that cold but it wasn’t a problem from my perspective. My age group was one of the last to start the race, so I had a 5:30am start to go and set up transition and then went back to bed for a lie down rather than a snooze, to chill out before going back to the start/finish area at about 9ish.

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Non Stanford
It’s the day before race day for us standard distance age groupers, and we’ve been enjoying watching everyone else racing over the last couple of days. Watching Non Stanford run away from the best in the world, even taking a 15 second penalty, winning the female elite race and taking the points to become World Champion was fantastic. It looked like a really hard race for all, the recent wet weather making roads slippery and the air cool. Impressive stuff.

There are a lot of athletes from a lot of nations here and the spirit is very positive even with the typical British weather. Some countries have sent over some really big teams and tomorrow will be fast and treacherous. Most of my worries are around getting to the start line as usual, with no mishaps. Once I start swimming I’ll be a little happier, when I’m biking I’ll be happier still, and when I get to the run phase I should be chuffed and grinning if I stayed upright. There have been a lot of crashes.

I’m taking everyone’s good luck wishes to heart and hoping that they will all add up to some truly good luck. You need a bit in this sport.

It’s almost time to rack my bike in transition and get my kit checked. Off for a quick run first.

Mental preparation

Rainbow in the clouds
If my last entry talked about distraction after a very long preparation period for the biggest race of the year, I thought I’d add to that something about my mental preparation for it.
For almost everyone at age group level racing, the approach of the biggest race of the year is a nervous time. The really big races commonly take a lot of organisation in triathlon, and there are many things that can go wrong. That’s one area of worry. The level of effort and pain that you will likely endure is another thing that people worry about. Things that can go wrong are a big concern (there are common themes to night time dreams in the run up to a big race, like forgetting your shoes or getting lost) before or during the race. For many, the result of the race is a big source of stress and worry.

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This triathlon thing has been a bit all consuming this year. I’m a natural obsessive but this year it’s been a huge topic. More people have been going hard to qualify for a spot at the home World Champs in London, everybody has been upping their games, the races have been bigger, faster, and as a result harder, and as much as people are doing triathlon everyone has been talking triathlon.

I love talking the talk, analysing and planning as much as anyone else, catching up with the guys and girls in the club (who have been kicking me hard this year & showing what they can do with focus and work) and finding out what the pros are up to, but right now I’m feeling the need for distraction. I guess it’s partly because there’s a big race coming up. I’m nearly ready (er, my bike is nearly kinda ready too), stuff is booked and it’s costing an arm and a leg. It’s London, so it’s expensive, and I’m taking the whole family up for an extended weekend. I have to register on Friday, race on Sunday, will watch the uber-fast pro’s race on Saturday and Sunday, and on Tuesday evening my book, Embryology at a Glance, is up for a British Medical Association (BMA) medicine book of the year award so we’re staying through until Wednesday. Monday is booked up for dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum as my daughter is really, really (really) into dinosaurs. I’m possibly more excited about that than I am about the World Champs.

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