Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote 2017
Lori Westcott is a Team GB Age Group triathlete. She tells us about her experience at the iconic Ironman Lanzarote 70.3 race.
Qualifying For Worlds
When I fell off my bike in May and fractured my elbow, I thought my season was over. I was unable to compete in the two GB Age Group races I had qualified for and so my priority was to come back stronger for Lanzarote 70.3 in September. This was always my big race towards the back end of the season but it became more of a priority and my training became more focused for this race.
In my head the goal was to qualify for the World 70.3 Championships in South Africa the following year. However, realistically in my first triathlon season I knew this might be a big ask. The wind and humidity of Lanzarote was always going to make it tough and being a baby to the sport, with only one 70.3 behind me, maybe 2019 was a more realistic target. Head down train hard and see what happens. If you can convince your mind, stay strong and focused, you're half way there.
To ensure I left no stone unturned, I headed out to Club La Santa for two weeks the beginning of August for some focused training with no distractions, which gave me the chance to Reece the course (of which they changed a week before the race!) and become acclimatised to the lovely hills and cross winds!
I then headed back out to Lanzarote the week before the race (being a teacher the timing of this race worked perfectly) and stayed away from La Santa, so I could stay relaxed and focused. My friend Annaleece came with me for moral support. Little did she know she was in charge of bike and run splits (no pressure!). I am a super relaxed and a laid-back person, not a lot really phases me, however pre-race week, I was feeling sick with nerves and couldn't really stomach much food. I wanted to qualify so badly that this was taking over my thoughts all week leading up to the race (not ideal when tapering!). Regardless of the outcome of this race, I knew I had had a great first season, better than I could have ever expected but this somehow didn't seem to help the pre-race nerves.
2nd female age grouper out the water; 28.15, a great start (being from a swimming background it always helps me psychologically being out near the front of the swim pack), on to the bike and the first 30k out to the turn around point I felt good, the last 60k however was painful. I'd mucked about with my position too much on the TT and I was in all sorts of pain, I could barely stay in the bars for more than a few minutes. Those 60k were purely get the head down and push through it (think of the goal!). Being a rookie, I didn't fuel well either and I could sense the run was going to be a painful slog. It was a long 2 hours 59 minutes! In to T2 and Annaleece told me I was first in from my age group and I had 14 minutes on 2nd place.
The run was 3 laps, I didn't feel too bad for the first lap, however, the poor fuelling on the bike had left me with nothing more in the tank. The run was a long mental battle. Annaleece kept me updated with how far back 2nd place was and in the end I had 18 minutes to spare. A 1.53 run was not at all a true reflection of how well I had been training. However, 1st in my age group, 15th overall on a really tough course and qualification for the World 70.3 Championships! I had nailed the goal!
I was super happy with the outcome but slightly deflated that my bike and run wasn't a true reflection of where I was. Maybe I was being too hard on myself. I have this tendency to sometimes expect too much to soon. Writing this race report two months later has given me a bit of time to reflect on what I have achieved so early on in my short-lived triathlon career. It is amazing how much you learn in training and in every race. Triathlon is a tough sport but the body is capable of so much with the right head space and mindset.
Next up is Bahrain 70.3 in November, with the main goal to nail my race day nutrition... and then see what I am capable of.