By Jess

We all wish that everything could go perfectly all the time. There’s nothing better than going out there and executing what you set out to do. I didn’t do that yesterday at the Bedford Duathlon. I turned up to what I could only call my worst nightmare. It wasn’t just drizzling, it was pouring, and on top of that, freezing.

The race I had signed up for is the standard distance duathlon (10k run / 40k bike / 5k run). It turned out I was the only Triton from the club who opted for the longer distance. I knew it wasn’t going to be a good race, and part of me really wanted to switch to the sprint distance on the day, but I also hated the idea of giving in, so I stuck with it.

Going into the race I had a set of high expectations. I’ve had a good block of personal training sessions, I feel stronger, fitter and my PB’s in running and cycling reflect that. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been ticking off sessions, achieving goals and seeing progress – every athlete’s dream! I did have a number of disruptions, and a lot of my focus has shifted to house renovation, but nothing too disruptive, and I’ve been able to make all the club run and swim sessions, and do a good few turbo sessions on my own.

Unfortunately the times I got yesterday weren’t anywhere near the times I went out to get. The race conditions were a lot like Redcar earlier in the year, but worse. It was also double the distance of a sprint, which meant double the suffering in the cold and the rain. When I came off the bike yesterday I literally couldn’t feel my feet. Running and cycling two and a half hours with soaking wet and freezing feet through the pain of huge blisters was really tough mentally. I’ve learnt a lot from yesterday – and realised a lot about racing comes from mind power.

Daniella Ryf is a prime example of someone with truly amazing mind power and you can really see that from her performance in Kona this past weekend – having been stung by jelly fish minutes before the race, she came back stronger and overcame a deficit of 10 minutes on the bike – an absolute machine. I wish I had more of that mind power yesterday!

I’m overjoyed that I came third in my age group yesterday in my first ever duathlon but I’m frustrated because it didn’t go according to plan. But I’m going to take it on the chin and try harder next time. Training/racing/life can’t be perfect, but neither can it be a total failure. This might seem obvious, but I’ve found it useful to remind myself of this when I don’t achieve what I want or am experiencing a setback. How we deal with the frustrations, learn from from them and use them to our advantage is much a truer measure of success.