By Emma Pallant, September 20, 2016
From a year ago, being so close to taking the tape in my first 70.3 in Brazil, its been a far from smooth, far from boring but properly rewarding, journey to finally get there! Since my last blog the flight certainly hasn’t been direct from Barcelona to Weymouth, strap in for another long haul….
Budapest was the first of three 70.3’s in between and a race report that I don’t really want to write about but the less said the less changed and I should probably defend my decision not to shake the winner, Lisa Huethalers, hand who I placed second to. Its not that I don’t believe in forgiveness but because I question the sincerity of regret from convicted drug cheats when they return to competition.
Lisa has made statements about how sorry she is for having taken drugs, even though her history of cheating and multiple ways of doing it may suggest otherwise, I still think she should be forgiven if truly sorry. But no truly sorry athlete would continue to line up against honest athletes. Once you take drugs you have decided to have an unfair advantage so if truly sorry then although the rules allow you to you wouldn’t want to line up against clean athletes. Instead do the sport for the love of the sport. To want to win that much that you put your long term health knowlingly at risk is not a mentality that should be encouraged back into competitive sport. For the good of the reformed athlete, the sport and other athletes this poor decision can be used proactively to better the sport and prevent others from doing the same. Only drug cheats understand how drug cheats are thinking and so are in the position to help turn around the sport and reform other unclean athletes. It isn’t healthy to let them back into competition their motives are all wrong and instead you would be helping them, the sport, and clean athletes by encouraging them to train for the love of training and keeping the body healthy rather than the will to win at all costs. It would also be a far stronger deterrent.
Other than this we had a great trip, were put up by one of my more than generous athletes in great accommodation and celebrated Alice Hectors birthday post-race after a bonding in numptiness when finding ourselves on the wrong side of the central reservation and having to climb with our bikes back across, thankfully a moment not captured by photographic genius Dazballs!
Two weeks later it was on to Wiesbaden for the European Champs and time to see how I stood in a stacked field. Expecting to get my ass well and truly kicked on the bike I was super happy to place 6th, having gone into 2016 not knowing whether or not I could line up in the Olympic trials the focus was unclear, this winter will be different but I was stoked with the difference between the competitiveness of my bike in this race compared to Mallorca, word on the street, trust Michelle Dillon, she knows best! Muv managed to make it out to this one and as ever her support is second to none, dropping us off at the swim, tearing around the bike course to get snaps from the car and then in her hurry to make it to yell myself and Stu on the run managed to forget where she abandoned the car, Wiesbaden is a rather large city! Myself and Stu’s new found love of magic must be infectious as this wasn’t her only disappearing act of the trip. The second was less successful when she attempted to smuggle jam back through Frankfurt airport, definitely needs to graft a few more weeks before we let her into the magic tri-angle.
Another two weekends down and another trip for a European Half Ironman, this time to the beautiful Austrian paradillyic place of Zell Am See. But even paradise can sting you in the bum as me and Stu found out when taking a bite from the apple, being tempted by the lakes deep blue lure for our pre-race swim sessions. I was not in a good place on that run and safe to say it was more than a beer shower I needed crossing the finish line!! But I made it and sneaked a third on the podium despite a horrific run, again my bike showing improvement.
Its trips like these that open your eyes to really appreciate your support team and I couldn’t be happier to see Stu standing on that second step on the podium! Not many guys would give you their goggles on the swim start when yours are unseeable through, not many would put up with your nervous strops when their pre-race too, not many would post-race force feed you pizza when smell like poo and not many would pretend to be entertained on the trip over by my new version of guess who. I will be the first to admit I hate to taper but Stu’s got some great distraction methods, from forgetting to bring clothes (I prefer mens top shopping to pants), to finding intriguing, non-bloody, non-sad, non-scary films to getting me into magic, we never get bored on these trips and although they probably wish for it sometimes I never let life alone for Mish and Stu.
Behind the scenes there is a lot they put up with and even more that they do for me. Some things more of my own doing like my recent mid Richmond Park bike session collision with a car (thankfully getting away with a bit of swelling and bruising) however my A and E trip a few weeks ago was a bit less avoidable when a wasp (mid run this time) goes for a ride in my mouth, stings the ulva (dangley thing on the back of your throat, every days a school day) which fast increased in size. Then just to prove my attraction to wasps we were out riding the following week and I get stung on my forehead, ending up with an eye shrek would shrivel at the sight of! But they can always cheer me up, we always laugh about it in the end and there have been some truly great times over the past few months that we were able to celebrate properly in the sunny coastal location of Weymouth. The win meant a lot, but for Mish, Stus family and my family and a big Team Dillon representative to be there and to share the podium with Stu too, meant even more. As Jonny and Alistair beautifully demonstrated, racing is about getting to that line knowing you have no more left to give and as you cross its not just you, its about all those people that carried you through.
Its easy to get into the race season mode, the training mode and drop the balance of life but Mish and Stu and the amazing team and people that im surrounded by keep me balanced. From the karoke night in Weymouth, to a beaut of a wedding in Canary Wharf (and Chris you still owe me a hoppit off!) ive let my hair down a couple of times in the past week and couldn’t have had a better time seeing all my amazing family this weekend to celebrate my cousins marriage and my rock solid grandparents 60 year marriage. Their support is unconditional and love for each other is truly inspirational, something I can only aspire to when I find my own knight in shining lycra.
Now we are mid way through our 2016 season I want to say thankyou to everyone who have supported me so far, sorry for the weekend hours you’ve spent watching the ironman tracker (and even sorrier for when I take up full distance!)
Thank you Bikeboxonline for getting my bike to these races, well my housemates bike, thankyou so much Jamie for loaning me his TT! Thankyou New Balance for providing my running needs and of course the most important Team Dillon for being such a warm, fun community that love triathlon!! Thankyou to all my amazing athletes for inspiring me every day with their achievements from not being able to run 5km in march to running 10miles this month and the crazy cat that rode 1000 miles in 10days! It really is an honour to be involved and a part of such a range of peoples colourful lives whose strong goals have them living life to the full, I look forward to celebrating with you all in December! Until then keep doing what your doing and BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE! x x
Mid Season Summary Report
Runing with my mouth closed
Swiming with my mouth closed
Bikeing with my eyes open!
Karooke backing dancer moves post half ironman
Mens clothes shopping