A quick look back

Christine Hill climb Bute cycling
Hill climb on the Isle of Bute

Granted I’ve let slip last year pretty much right when it got interesting. A quick flick through the pictures revealed, mostly everything involved a bike, and it was fun. Triathlon was really on the back burner, but the few races I did counted and I aced them. In the Southport ETU Sprint qualifier, I came 3rd lady overall and won my age group in less than ideal conditions. Even staying upright was a feat on the day. Later in the season, I raced the Standard distance qualifier at Bala where I also won my age group, which was a big surprise. I had not expected that. Now I had to choose between Sprint and Standard for the Europeans. Choices, choices.

Cycle racing progressed excellently. It was a massive surprise and by the tiniest of margins, I won the Midlands Women’s Time Trial Series Green Jersey competition, missed the podium at the Midlands Championships because there were two second places with the same time. I won my first points in crit racing, completed my first cycle cross race (a big adventure in itself) and finished my first 100 mile ride ever. Unsurprisingly, it took a long, long time to recover from that.

If you fancy seeing the whole year in pictures, click here.

And off we go… 2016

Over the Christmas period I got a good block of training in, my running picked up and generally, I felt more relaxed and balanced. Just before New Year, I raced an off-road 10k over quite a hilly route and finished a surprise 4th in my age category. So I started off 2016 with lots of motivation and bright spirits that I was on the right path.

Swimming Masters
Birmingham Masters Team at the Shrewsbury New Year’s Gala

Funny enough, my first race in 2016 was not a running race, but rather the Shrewsbury New Year’s Masters Gala. I had no expectations as over the Christmas period there weren’t that many swim sessions and the last time I had done any fly or back was probably before the swim club Christmas dinner. Needless to say that there were lots of learning points, but I came away with 4 PBs in 5 races and 2 second places in the relays. I missed my 50 m back PB by 0.15 sec which came down to a dodgy turn. My biggest PB came in the 100m medley where I knocked a cool 3 seconds off my previous best and a cool 2 seconds off my 100m freestyle. Next time I get the dive right and my turn and I should go under 1.20.

With a bit of time to put in work, next up was the 3rd race of the Women’s Midlands Cross Country League at Blackbridge in Gloucester. It was cold and I expected it to be hard ground as the course was mainly over playing fields around the school. Deceptively flat, with a lot of long stretches and very subtle climbs, it was muddier than expected. I was on an upward swing from sessions that went well and I was determined that I would attack the race a bit more aggressively than the previous races. This all worked well and when the going got tough, I rediscovered an old friend: the fierce racer that my old coach described me as. I put my head down and stuck to my pace. End result, I finished in 62nd place. That’s another 20 places up from the 2nd race (Full results can be found on the Midland Counties AA website). I felt strong throughout and my head was in the right place and the fitness is on the right trajectory. So it’s onwards and upwards now, through a stressful 2 weeks until the Midland Cross Country Championships.