Sophie's Tri Liverpool Experience


After all the hard work, Tri Liverpool didn't turn out as expected for Sophie. However she still managed to make a positive out of the big day!

So my Tri Liverpool journey has not finished as planned (as you may have guessed by the lack of a post-race finishers’ medal photo!).

About 4 weeks ago, I was suffering from a little niggle prior to running a local mid-week 5-mile race. I wasn't going to push it I told myself. However, gradually as I ran a pain down my shin got progressively worse, my pace slowed and my gait turned to a hobble as each step hurt. Mental strength (some would say stupidity) got me across the finish. Throughout the next day the pain continued even at rest despite hardly moving and I could barely put any weight on my leg, so I sought medical advice. The diagnosis: rest and avoid running. Luckily I have been able to cycle and swim to keep my sanity, but running no chance. Triathlon: think again.

It is ironic that prior to starting my Tri training the discipline I was most experienced at and comfortable at doing has prevented me racing! The decision not to participate was not taken lightly and I did debate just giving it a go, but I want my first Tri to represent my maximal effort and not to be remembered my feelings of pain. Also I need to let me body recover from this injury to allow me to return to my main love of running and to compete in future events.

So rather than sit at home unable to experience Tri Liverpool I decided to volunteer over the race weekend. Located in the transition area it was a great experience. On the Saturday entrants were allowed to come in and rack their bikes. During this time I helped racers with questions and guided them through the transition process. This time also allowed me to enjoy listening to racers’ own training stories, aims and experiences and to learn tips from those more experienced than me (elastic bands to hold shoes in position on pedals, such high tech solutions!). I also suffered severe bike envy and of course disappointment I was not setting up my own kit. On the race day I marshalled various areas during the race transitions. Recognising racers from Saturday successfully complete each stage and then return later with a medal proudly around their neck was very satisfying. Finally I finished off the day watching the elite races and sampling the amazing race atmosphere and support around the docks. 

Despite not making it to the start line, training for Tri Liverpool has been an amazing experience, I have pushed myself to enter events I never would have considered (a duathlon and 50-mile bike ride) and overcome my anxiety of going back to swimming to now really enjoying it. Overall I feel a lot more confident to take on future challenges.

So for now my status as a triathlete is pending. I will enter Tri Liverpool next year for sure, although It may not be my first triathlon as I know I won't be able to wait that long to complete the challenge.

For those who completed any Tri Liverpool race distance, congratulations! I would encourage you to re-enter next year and aim for that further distance or personal best! If you did not participate, I would highly recommend taking up the challenge of entering and training for a triathlon, especially Tri Liverpool. So, see you at the start line next year!

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