Jodie Stimpson: Leading up to “What a Race”

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The week leading up to World Champ Series race at Hyde Park has been great. I’ve spent most of it living up at Loughborough with my coach Michelle [Dillon] and training alongside Stuart [Hayes].

Every time I step out on to the running track or out on the road on the bike with Stuart and Michelle, the feeling I get never changes – “oh my god look who I’m training with!”

I had some really ‘Balls in the wheelie bin’ sessions whilst I was up there and got some great training in – and also ate some awesome Michelle ‘special salads’ lol. You just can’t beat a good chicken Cesar – ay Mish? lol

The journey to London didn’t get off to the best start with me and my training buddy Rebecca Milnes getting on the wrong train!!! Everyone who knows me, knows that I have no sense of direction but we managed to see the funny side and was able to change trains to get on the right one – and luckily avoided ending up in Glasgow or something

Once we finally got to London, I checked in and went down to the race briefing with Stuart. I felt surprisingly relaxed and just excited to race during the briefing and just took it all in.

Then I was back to my hotel and had dinner with Bex and an early night watching T.V in our room.

The day before the race me and Stuart got up early to miss the busy London city rush and went around the bike course with Tim [Don], Liz [Blatchford] and Hollie [Avil], we couldn’t go around the swim course until 7pm, so I really spent the rest of my day off my feet and relaxing.

When we went down to the swim that evening, I have got to admit the nerves came thick and fast and I suddenly had an injection of nerves – but they soon settled when me and Bex dived in the water for a swim around the course.

Race Day. . . . .

I got up race morning and went for a jog around Hyde Park with Michelle and whatever nerves I had – Michelle soon pulled them out of me. She is very good at the good old pre race talk and before the end of the jog; I was defiantly ready to rumble.

As soon as I got to Hyde Park my mum and dad were there to greet me with smiles on their faces – even though they had been up since 4.45AM to get the train to watch me race! They make it to every race possible and without my support crew I wouldn’t be able to do what I love.

I was number 61, out of 61 women so I was last to be called onto the pontoon, so I didn’t get to choose where to start on the pontoon. But I had a good start in the middle of the field.
I didn’t have a fantastic swim, not for any reason I can put my finger on, I just didn’t grip the water like I had been doing in training, which resulted in me being over a minute down out the water. It’s definitely not where I should be – but I didn’t think about it and just went straight into concentrating on getting to that lead pack.

It did seem to take ages to get there and I found it really hard to bridge the gap, however when I finally got there – just before the end of the 7th lap – I sat in and tried to get my legs back and get ready for the run.

I’ve got to admit I felt relieved when I finally got to the bike pack and knew I could run well of the bike and I took it out the only way I knew. . . . HARD!! It felt great in front of a home crowd on every piece of the run people were shouting and I felt so strong – and it felt even better running at the front, leading the race next to Helen, two GB athletes leading the race!

I was running strong and feeling great until 7k and I just seemed to hit a wall. Helen showed how powerful she is and picked up the pace, I think I needed a Powerbar gel at this point and I seem to lack the top end I knew I can hold. But I’m pleased with how I raced and have learned a lot in this race and now I’m looking forward to a few hard weeks to get me ready for the World championships in Australia.

Thanks for everyone’s support especially around that course yesterday – it really did push me on!!

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