I started this year just being chuffed to have qualified for the European Championships, determined to do myself proud. So from January I trained my arse off (literally, someone pointed out), and amazed myself with an overall first in Trowbridge’s Big T Standard Tri in early May (my first ever triathlon win), and then winning my age group at the European Championships later that month. This was shaping up to be an awesome year!
I’d only started to get some good race results in 2014, so this was my first triathlon for Team GB. I had travelled to Rimini, Italy, alone, for a recce and relaxation week, but met up with two seasoned GB triathletes in the evenings for dinner. They gave me two bits of information that changed my outlook on the whole race. And probably influenced my result. Firstly, that the top three GB finishers in each age group would automatically qualify for the subsequent European Championships. And secondly, that the competition, and their previous form, could be easily perused online. Cue Project Qualify-For-Next-Year.
So: I qualified to represent Team GB in the European Championships for middle distance triathlon (half ironman) in Rimini, Italy in 2015!!! What?!!! Not me surely – the kid who would have got 10/10 for effort at school but never quite made the netball or hockey teams, and was only ever involved in sports day because no-one else could be persuaded to run the 1500 m?