Suzies done it again!! She had flown out to Florida to compete in the Triathle World Championships and after coming 5th in the world, is back to tell her side of the event. check up her write-up of the experience below!
I’m just back home after a trip to Florida where I competed in the Triathle World Championships in St Petersburg for team GB. Triathle is shoot with a laser pistol, open water swim 50m and run 800m – all x4. I was competing in the senior section which is any age from 21-40. I had previously qualified for the Worlds at the British Qualifer back in June, winning it and taking the British title also. I also qualified and competed in the Europeans in July in Maderia winning the Bronze medal. This is my first year doing triathle, which is diffrent to what I usually do -modern pentathlon. While pentathlon inclues swim, run and shoot (also horse riding and fencing) – these are done separatly over the course of the day and not in a continuous format like triathle where transitions are required.
Being my first year, I never expected to qualify for anything -so to get to the worlds was a shock and dream come true. I knew compared to the other girls in my category I would be very inexperienced. In Florida I was up against some of USA’s top pentathletes- professional athletes that have been and are going to the Olympics in modern pentathlon. So being a non- funded athlete, working full time, and extremely inexperienced – I did not have any expectations. I felt my achievement was just getting there- so my plan was to go and enjoy being there, soak up the experience no matter the result – which would hopefully help me to be more competitive in coming years. So to finish 5th and in the mix with the worlds best at this stage- well…I’m still in shock.
On the day our race was postponed due to electrical storms – it was chaos. The race before us was mid way through when it struck with hurricane strength winds and biblical rainfall- things being blown everywhere and competitiors being pulled out of the water for safety purposes. Not having had much open water swimming experience – I was watching this and getting very nervous. The swim element was in a salt water marina – which in normal circumstances was pretty calm. We also had a pod of dolphins come into the marina to see what was going on- but they were ushered out by the harbour police boats- unfortunately I did not get to tick off one of my bucket list of swimming with dolphins. This also gave more time for conditions to settle down to their normal calm state. The sun came out and steam was rising off the tarmac.
So all in all it was a very different environment for me- particulalry becasue it was up on 30 degrees heat and 90% humidity – hard to prepare for in NI. But much to my suffering over the last lot of months before Florida- my coach had me somewhat prepared for this with many sauna sessions straight after a swim session- to get my body used to regulating itself effectively.
One of the great things about the trip- was that my parents and boyfriend were out with me and saw it all. I had never been to that part of the world before so we also made a bit of a holiday and stayed out a week after, even fitted in Disney and Miami. It was a good excuse for me to get a rest too.
Winter training is starting back now after I’ve had a couple of weeks off. This is to let the body and mind rest and recover from a long hard year of 2(sometimes 3) sessions per day, 7 days a week, in 9 week blocks with no rest days – while working full time. But I have such a great team behind me now of family, friends and coaches who help make this all possible. They ensure I am not over doing it and looking after my body and diet correctly so that I can train consistently.
All in all- 1st in GB, 3rd in Europe and 5th in the World in my first year trying this sport is beyond my wildest dreams. The good thing is- I have so much to work on and improve on from here. The winter will be long and tough- but I’m excited to see what we can do- and excited to see what we can produce for next year!