The one and only (Hathersage Hilly) – 21st July 2019
Hathersage hilly… no kidding! As this was my first time I didn’t really know what to expect from this course, other than the guarantee of hills at some point.
The swim went ok, slower than usual however this is due to becoming snagged up behind some other competitors. The one saving grace was the fact there would be no incline on the swim. The pool did however feel like an open water swim with the walls of the pool creating waves. This unexpected choppiness caused me to take in a mouth full of water on my first length, ew.
The first transition was surprisingly fast for me. By the look at some of my times in prior events it looks as though I have gone for a tea break at a nearby cafe. For once I was on my bike quickly. Despite this, I ended up losing time as I forgot to switch my watch over from transition one. As a result my transition speed went from about 1 minute to five minutes on strava.
The rest of the bike route was good for me. Being my weakest discipline in triathlon I knew it is where I would lose most time. This turned out to not be the case as I had done a recee of the course earlier that week and I had knocked off 20 minutes. I put this down to coach Lorraine Murphy stood at the top of Froggat, cheering me on. The only let down on my bike was the traffic. The first incident was an ambulance parked on the road down into Hathersage. The second was the fact that the traffic in the village was stacked up for a good 200 metres. This as a result cost me some time.
Transition 2, or afternoon tea as it has been coined, also was a quick transition, in and out in around 50 seconds. Little did I know that I was heading out into what I considered to be the hardest run I’ve ever done. I had at this point interpreted the title of the race wrong, assuming that the hills were just on the bike, obviously not on the swim!! The only thing I heard about the run was the murmur of disgruntled athletes talking about a ski slope?
Well I was about to find out all about that. I barely remember the run at all. I think my brain has created a mental block that keeps me away from the run. I do remember that every time that I hit a hill thinking, this must be it, the ski slope. Only then do I realise that I am just climbing a small grass verge. These small inclines felt absolutely monstrous. By the time I finally came face to face with the ski slope my calves already felt like they wanted to drop off me. The only reason I began to run was the encouragement I received from Natalie. As I got up the slope I heard a shout saying, ‘that’s the last climb!’ Renewed at this information I began to run quicker. This was clearly false propaganda as there were three more climbs to go. After getting over these hills, trying not to grimace when a photo was taken, the decent finally began. I mostly let gravity decide my fate as I stared to do a combination of jogging and falling.
Getting down to the bottom was the happiest moment of the race. From somewhere I mustered up the strength to sprint the last section to the finish line. It was over. I’m pretty sure that I said I’m never doing that again (however there were a few profanities in that sentence). In spite of my sentiment, I am going to do it again next year, proving not just to me, but the rest of Sheffield, that I’m well and truly mad.