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Everything Edmonton

Before I get too excited and run you through my race review from Edmonton let me explain how I got here.

When I organised with my team manager to travel to Canada to compete, the plan was that I was going to be a sure starter in Magog. However for the World Paratriathlon Series in Edmonton, the second race I was here for, I was very unlikely to get in.

There was a waiting list I had to put my name on in case others were unable to race, but when I flew out in early July I was very far down on that list and had made my peace with the fact I was only getting one race in. The only positive I was able to take from that was that I could switch out of athlete mode and into eating mode and indulge in my sweet tooth a bit more on the trip.

About a week into the trip, I woke early to a confirmation email that I’d made the cut for the second race! I was going to my first WPS in Edmonton. We’d gone out on a limb (sorry, that was too good to pass up) to travel without knowing if I’d get in a second race and it’d paid off.

A mixture of excitement, joy, anxiety and fear rolled on in my mind in the lead up. I was pretty daunted by the prospect, briefly taken over by the imposter syndrome. Who was I kidding trying to compete with these guys and girls? Six months ago I didn’t own a bike, and had never run five kilometres in my life! Now I was going to attempt to beat some of the best guys in the world in my class.

Luckily with some writing and reflection, I was able to see my situation from a different perspective. Yes I was super lucky to have snagged a late entry, but I deserved to be here, and that everybody has to start somewhere.

Now, I will confess that my plan to switch from athlete, to eater, still took place in the lead up to the race as I ‘carb loaded’ at any opportunity. It’s hard to regret a dessert when they taste that good.

With a 2pm race start, my main focus was to just try and relax in the morning and have a bit of fun and loosen up. Stress and anxiety only hinder me, they never help me.

Boy oh boy was it hot! Waiting to be announced for the start, sun baking in my wetsuit and swim cap in the blazing sun, five more minutes and you could’ve stuck a fork in me.

I was really happy to have found myself in the front pack at the end of the swim, and after the long sprint to T1 (first Transition area), it was onto the bike. I had been hearing about the Edmonton hill for a few weeks and although it hadn’t been as Everest-like as in my mind, it definitely felt that way at times.

Somehow though, before I knew it I’d been up and down it six times. With the heat and lack of shade, it didn’t take long for the race and temperature to knock me for six on the run. A long, lonely course, left with just the sun, my thoughts and the sounds of my feet moving and lungs breathing.

I’ll be the first to admit my running isn’t my strongest leg (these puns are too easy sometimes!) and I spent most of the run questioning if I could go any further. The ‘I can’t or can run one more step’ looped through my head at this point of the race. As always my body defeats my mind, and I don’t stop. I may slow but I push through the pain.

I placed 13th at my first WPS, on the hardest course I’ve ever raced on, in brutal, hot conditions, and managed to finish without any issues. Plans executed, performed at my best, and managed to keep my head on while in such a big race.

Already I can’t wait for next year!

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