Back on the start line finally – Michelle Dillon’s blog from Eton Dorney!

Well it was certainly a treat to be finally have a race booked in after such a long stint of no racing, you could say most people who havent raced up to this point were probably a little rusty to say the least.

So it was back to Eton Dorney for the World Championships qualifiers over the sprint distance, and it was a stacked field. The last time I raced was Lausanne World triathlon Championships in 2019 so I was a little nervous as to how I was going to feel come race day.

Photo Credit @Thatcameraman

The weather was chilly and it was forecast be be raining most of the day. The water temperature was measured at 13.8 degrees so I was preparing myself mentally for a cold race, what I like about sprinting is that its just full gas the whole way so not much time to think about getting cold.

There wasn’t much time to hang around in transition due to the covid rules so it was full focus mode to get yourself ready and onto the start line for our 9.10am start.

Photo Credit @Thatcameraman

They had us set off 5sec apart and because I love racing & very used to chasing, I decided to start about 7th person from the front which then allowed me to chase the leaders down in the swim. I got to the front just after the turn and pushed on from there, I felt good in the swim although my goggles started to fog slightly coming into the finish due to the cold weather so it was hard to gauge where the exit was in the last few hundred metres. Once I hit the ground running I felt a bit light headed, I put this down to the cold water, but got to transition and sat myself down to ensure I didn’t fall over taking off my wetsuit. I was pleased with my swim, Ive been swimming really well in training recently and I felt like I got my taper right, so clocking the fastest time in my AG for the swim was a nice start to the race.

Onto the bike leg, usually in these World Championships qualifying races they are drafting, however due to Covid they changed it to non-drafting which I love and prefer, however I don’t currently own a TT bike and don’t have clip on TT bars on my road bike because of the carbon bars, so I knew I had to ride hard in my drops to keep the damage limitation as low as possible to my competitors who were riding TT bikes. I had my Garmin on my road bike to give me feedback & an idea of what pace I was riding. I felt strong on the bike and its nice when your legs turn up in a race, I pushed very hard and managed a solid bike split clocking the fastest in my AG, so again pleased with how the bike progressed.

Coming into T2 was where I lost time, transitions are always going to be the thing that lets me down not only do I lose time sitting down to put my shoes on due to my double spinal fusion, but this time I couldnt get my left running shoe on, the laces werent too tight, it was that my left foot seemed numb, I spent what felt like forever trying to get the shoe on, I calculated I probably lost about 25-30sec but thats racing for you. It happened to me at World Champs in 2019 as well, I think transitions can always be worked on 🙂

Going onto the run I knew this is where I was a bit nervous about my body holding up, I have been able to string together some decent runs leading up to this race but only for a few weeks, and Im still not 100% clear of injury. Ive had Gluteal and high hamstring tendonapathy now for the last two years on my left side, and its been a slow recovery & gradual process to get to this point where I am running again but still have discomfort and tightness in my glute, its a pain in the arse literally!!! LOL

Photo Credit @Thatcameraman

I can say I wasn’t happy with my run I was hoping to run a bit smoother and faster, but my rhythm just wasn’t there and perhaps coming off a hard swim and bike it was to be expected since we haven’t raced in a long time. Plus we are now 2 years older LOL turning 48yrs old tomorrow! 🙂 However I have been working extremely hard on my strength work and Im super excited for when I can be pain free again. I have a lot left in the tank to give on my run and cant wait to be back executing my best runs at my age. hopefully soon, fingers crossed!

Overall so pleased to be back racing again its been way too long, happy with the overall result taking the win in my age group and clocking 3rd fastest time overall out of all females and ages. (overall time 1.10.18). Thats what I love about our sport or any sport for that matter, we can continue to not only challenge ourselves but inspire each other to Be The Best We Can Be!!!! Have a fantastic season everyone, looking forward to seeing everyones smiling faces at the next one.

Thank you to my awesome friend Darren Wheeler @Thatcameraman for coming out the crack of dawn to take these photos and race me on his fast bike! 🙂

Thank you to my sponsors for their continued support!

Hokaoneone (The best shoes on the planet)

Precision hydration (The sweat experts, I couldn’t live without the stuff)

Sigma Sports (Best bike shop in the UK)

Powerbar (The taste of sport)

Team Dillon Coaching (World Class coaching for everyone no matter what level you race at)