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5th July 2016

Fiona Flying High

Another jam packed month has flown by and it was all about my ‘A race’.  The biggest race of my season, the one race that I had been training for; the Age Group European Triathlon Championships in Lisbon.

I came back from a win at the European Duathlon Championships in April and instead of celebrating my success and catching up with friends and family I went straight back in to training.

Before I knew it I was packing for Lisbon and this meant getting everything ready for the whole family as they were coming out to support me.

I had decided to go out to Lisbon the Tuesday before my event and my family were flying out the next day but staying in a villa outside Lisbon and then coming in to support me on the day of my event.

Over the last 18 months I’ve got really close to one of my team mates, who was also doing the triathlon, and following an evening on my own at the Team Hotel, Caz flew out to join me.

On race day I woke up early and looked out of the window at the swim area with butterflies in my stomach.

Walking towards the swim start I heard a shout and spotted my family with GB flags and t-shirts with my photo on and “Go Fi go, Team GB”; it was an emotional moment but I then had to focus on my race.

Wetsuit on, waiting in the water and the horn went, I was off. I felt really comfortable in the swim and before I knew it had reached the slope to exit and was pulling off my wetsuit during the run to the bike transition.  This was when I really started to enjoy the race, the swim (my least favourite part) was over, I’d got good time and I was chasing other competitors down on the bike.  10km in and we turned around a roundabout and started to cycle back to the transition area.

We hit a shocking headwind and this made the bike really tough work. Back to the cheers of the crowds around transition and I hopped off my bike. As I went out on my run I saw my family cheering and my children shouting “Go team GB, go mummy”.

We had to run through a big stadium with the blue carpet rolled out but on my second lap I had a disaster…. I tripped on something under the carpet and knew I was falling so I did a forward roll and then kept on running!

However, the drama wasn’t over yet, on reaching the turn to the final 100m sprint I spotted a male teammate who had started the race 10 mins earlier than me and suddenly wondered if I hadn’t done enough laps as that would have meant I had caught up with him.

I stopped, yes I actually stopped… and spoke to the steward and after a bit of dithering I made a decision and raced to the finish. I had done enough laps, why I stopped I’ve no idea, it was just a feeling that I’d made a mistake, maybe the tumble I’d had earlier had shaken me more than I thought!

I had to wait until the results were posted on the wall, then my team mate and friend, Caz, screamed that I’d got bronze! To win a medal in my first triathlon championships is absolutely amazing I can still barely believe it!

So you might think after the excitement of the last couple of months I’ll be taking it easy. Surely you know better by now!!

My coach said to pick one race at the end of the season that will really get me motivated to train over the summer and suggested I “go longer” for a change. A Half Ironman event it is then! I’ve entered Sundowner Middle Distance Triathlon at the beginning of September. With a 1900m swim, 90km bike and 21km run to complete I’ve got plenty to train for! I’ll keep you posted!

I’ve got to say a huge thank you to Redbrik for supporting me through this magnificent journey so far. Age Group triathletes are completely self- funded with no subsidy from the British Triathlon Federation, and without help from local businesses I wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to compete in Lisbon.

I’ll be dropping in to see the Redbrik team soon with my medal!