This race had been doomed from the start. I had travelled down on the Friday with kids and dogs and hoping to have a great weekend away with a little race on the Sunday. The weather had be so horrid and we got flooded AGAIN(it seems to be a habit when I'm out in the bongo) so we returned home on Saturday morning. I was so peeved off that I had given up on the race. It wasn't until I saw Celia that I regained any motivation to do the race so I travelled down again and it's not a short trip. I felt really good and wanted to get a faster time than last year and beat the 4th that I got in my age cat last year. It was also the début for the "bad boy" (my new speedy bike).
So ready for the off, the swim had been changed and I was in wave 2 with all the really fast swimmers, not quite sure how that happened. We didn't have time to get used to the temperature of the water and before I knew it we were off. I knew pretty early that I was in trouble, even though I had used my inhaler the water was so cold, I couldn't breathe and was forced to stop swimming. I knew that I could get over the attack as I had many times before when I didn't know I was asthmatic so I took a breather tried to get my breathe back before continuing. The safety crew were straight there, they asked if I was OK and I held onto the surf board for a few minutes. I thought I was OK to continue and the guy on the surf board said don't worry I'll follow you up. This gave me a bit more confidence so I let go and started swimming again. I didn't get very far before it hit me again. I just couldn't breathe I was wheezing and I felt my lungs being compressed. The guy on the board was right there and he advised me to hang over the surf board so that I could get more oxygen into my lungs. We were right under the bridge and I was very aware of everybody looking down at me and I started to feel very concious having an asthma attack in full view of everyone. The dude was great keeping me calm talking me through it and I was ready to try again. At any point I never wanted to give up, I just wanted to get to the slipway and out on the bike.
I'd forgotten how hilly this course was and I still wasn't breathing right and as I tried to get going I was overwhelmed with the urge to puke. I must have cycled 5 miles before the puking stopped. Again I never thought of stopping I was just worried about getting sick on the bad boy. There was a huge flood which we had to go through and that was quite worrying but it was just another obstacle to cross. I slowly got into the groove and started to pick it up a bit. I was overtaking lots on the bike and began to feel better.
Once back into transition and out on the run the first kilometre was really fast but I soon started to lose it after that. I was fighting more sickness urges and just wanted to get through it. Jo caught me back up on the run after I overtook her on the bike. I tried to hang on to her tail but couldn't and just slotted in behind her. After crossing the line I was f**ked, I needed my inhaler and I needed it fast. Once I stopped I got really emotional and my breathing was all over the place. It took me a long time to recover and a long time to stop feeling sick. When I finally got into the car, I burst into tears and felt so emotional.
My bike was slightly faster than last year as was the run and the swim was but I think the course had been cut short a lot. I know I am capable of a lot more than today but I was completely blown away by the asthma attack. That's the first attack I have had since having my inhalers and I wasn't expecting it at all. Cold water hasn't bothered me recently but it just goes to show that you shouldn't take anything for granted. I should be proud that I did it 3 minutes faster than last year and I still finished 4th or 5th in my age group out of 18.
It has been a massive learning curve for me, which is always a good thing and I now know that before completing in the Bristol Olympic I need to remember to take my brown inhaler every night and morning as I have been missing a few and I need to warm up properly before getting in that water and I need to get my body ready for that cold temperature. I will be honest and admit it wasn't the result I wanted but I have learnt a lot from that race and more importantly I have learnt that I will never give up but I guess I knew that already!!!!
One bad race makes us appreciate what we are and what we are about. If I can achieve that result after suffering a huge asthma attack then I know that I am capable of something quite special.