For me the first race of the season was Quarteira Junior European Cup in Portugal. After a long, hard and successful period of winter training with only minor blips on the way (hernia operation) my excitement for the first race was pretty much explosive. Although excitement for racing and the nerves that comes with that can be great it can also be negative. I have found in the past, it can cause me to overthink things and get way too worked up too early. To combat this we focused on keeping this excitement under control and positive! We created a trigger (a pinch) to initiate a simple form of meditation and relaxation where I would clear my mind so it was just blank/ centered on my breathing. With the hope that when I arrived in Portugal with all the external excitements that European racing brings I would be able to stay calm and conserve my excitement/adrenaline for the start line.
During winter training we had been working on high-end speed, creating a stressful environment, and then settling down for race pace over longer reps. The improvements I had made on my swim in training showed in the race and I was very pleased with how the first leg went. I was around 5th/6th to the first buoy and then came out of the water 11th, securing me a place in the 2nd pack!
The bike was fast and sketchy (lots for crashes earlier in the girls race) as we were a big group but we managed to catch the 6 riders out front on the last lap and came into T2 as one big pack! I was positioned badly going into T2 and after trouble finding my transition area (doughnut) and putting my shoes on, pretty much the rest of my pack were already 200m up the road when I got onto the run.
For me the run was the most disappointing part of the race, as soon as it started I felt like I was in no-man's-land, my headspace wasn’t good and despite many mental tricks (weak point plans) I failed to sort it out. This caused my form to deteriorate and therefore a slow run time and disappointing finish.
I really enjoyed being out in Portugal and loved racing in the sun for once. Despite a slightly disappointing finish I'm pleased with how the race went overall and am all the more motivated to attack that final leg and race to the level I know I can.