What I Decided

Race 3 was a target race for the year being a half ironman. The added incentive was that my wetsuit sponsor TRI 11 is a German company. I fancied my chances of leading out the swim in the race, Challenge Walchsee, just over the boarder. Getting this relatively new company good TV coverage was a priority as they have been very good to me and I wanted to justify their investment.....and help retain it for next year. So race 3 is a definite.

Race 2 was part of a series I was committed to. I was already fairly confident I would win this series so I could afford to race this super easy and focus on the half ironman the week after......or I could go after the 500 euro (~£400) and try and win it. Note, there is nothing for coming 2nd.

Race 1 had the least reasons to do it. But in my mind it was possibly the easiest race to win.....easiest race to win, I could do a lot with £500. I'll do that too.

So when does racing two Olympic Distance events followed by a half ironman make sense?

I thought the money I stood to gain (£900) was worth risking a season target race for. Or to put in real terms, 3 months rent is worth risking a target race for, But I should have known by now that the ideal situation rarely materialises.

What Happened

Race 1 - I intentionally went into the race tired for fear of peaking too early/being under done for the half ironman. I got what I deserved, 3rd, £200.

Race 2 - I swam and biked hard and at the start of the run I had a 2-3 minute lead. I ran hard for 4km and then started to ease off believing I had the race in the bag. And indeed, I did cross the line first. Infact it was the athlete in 5th who beat me. He was an on the day entract and had been put in the slow wave (there was only two waves), and in my defence (though this is completely indefencible) at the other races in this series had lead me to believe this wouldn't happen. I thought it would have been foolish to race myself to the finish with a big race the following weekend, so whilst I thought I was racing smart, I was infact being rather stupid. I finished 2nd and came away empty handed. The guy who won took away 500 euroes.

Race 3 - I was quite tired from all the travelling, and it was very apparent when I got to my homestay with the Funk Family that my running legs were still trying to catch me up. Biking felt ok and for some reason swimming felt really good. I had a great swim, got in the lead group of 5 and came to the front with 400m to go and lead out my first professional race. It was an amazing feeling and doubly exciting to do in Austria for TRI 11 who gave me a fantastic wetsuit for the season. I think everyone else was napping in transition as I was onto the bike first and lead the race alone for the first 20km. Then the bikers passed and I started losing a few places but was still in a good poisition for the run. After a very painful first 5km trying to regain the feeling in my feet from the cold I started to find my stride. Unfortunately I was suffering terrible stomach problems which caused me to visit the portaloos.....I still haven't looked up my overall finish time. So the big season target race was rubbish.

The Result

I came away with £200 and a disappoiting finish from my target race. Less than ideal. I have been trying to work out what went wrong. Did I sacrifice the half ironman for £200? I don't know.....I think it is hard to link stomach problems with the two earlier races. It is true that my running legs were suffering and I would probably not made it into the top 10, so in that sense I did.

A top 10 in a Challenge race is worth for more than £200 from 2 Olympic distance races in the previous weeks that is for sure. So maybe I was unrealisitic in thinking I should have won the £900 in the weeks before? The first race was a fair reflection of form. The second race was frustrating. 97/100 I would have made the right call, so was my decision to ease off and consequently lose the race still the correct one? I don't know.

Maybe I need to learn to better factor in uncertainty when weighing up potential prize money. But at the same time, given a challenge, I will always back myself. I can't see the benefits of going into a race having psychologically undermined myself by expecting, or being happy with a result, that is less than what you believe I can achieve. Congratulating myself for doing better than what I would deam a mediocre performance, just doesn't do it for me.