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  • Writer's picturehannahangell

Champions are made when no one is watching

So it’s spring already! March has arrived; it’s nice to see it a bit lighter in the morning after swimming and getting dark a little later. It was a pretty wet and miserable February with all the flooding and what felt like constant rain. It’s a luxury to get a long ride in with the sun shining and remaining dry! I’m very much looking forward to heading to Portugal in April for a week of warmer weather. I’ve been meaning to write a blog for quite some time, so hopefully this won’t go on too long!

February started with the South East Regional Masters swim meet at the K2 in Crawley, I swam a 50m and 100m free on the Saturday which I was disappointed with. It’s pretty tiring sitting poolside for most of the day so I started the Sunday off with a beautiful long run in the morning to get me going before a decent 800 free in the afternoon.

The following weekend was the Chichester 10k, I had been in two minds as to whether to enter this race as it meant missing the last of the Chiltern XC League. But I realised the main thing stopping me from entering was I didn’t think I was capable of running a time I would be pleased with! So after some persuasion from my boyfriend I got on and entered. Chichester is known for being a fast course and therefore attracts some top runners (Charlotte Perdue) going after good prize money. Marco Pasolini was given the job of making sure I got to the start line as I had barely run all week due to a calf niggle; I managed to get through the race ‘relatively’ pain free! I was really pleased with the race and finished in a pb time as 6th fastest lady, but in 7th position – lesson learnt: start closer to the front as gun position/time is just as important as the chip time! I really enjoyed this race and will definitely be back next year, hopefully it’ll be a bit warmer and without gale-force winds!

Continuing with training and the usual highs and lows that it brings I slotted the Hyde Park Relays into a busy week – this is a race that Oxford Brookes send a team too and it was great to meet up again with the old, current and new OBRAC members. I posted the second fastest female split of the day and our BOARS team consisting of Karen and myself running two legs each finished 8th and 2nd non-student team – not a bad effort! It was great to be back in Hyde Park and lesson number two learnt: don’t race in racing flats that you haven’t worn for 4 months, if you want to be able to walk the week after! Big mistake!

I finished off the month of February with my penultimate cross country race of the season. My cousin’s wedding up in Leek the day before may not have been the best preparation but we had a lovely afternoon and evening. I got up early to get a quick swim in at a pool in Newcastle-under-Lyne before heading to Nottingham for the English National Cross Country Championships. The course looked fairly flat with only really two hills and some very muddy patches. There were over 700 ladies in the Senior Women’s race and as always with cross country it was who can hang in there the longest! I lost a handful of positions on the second and final lap as I tired so didn’t finish as strongly as I had hoped. I finished in 36th position which I was still happy with as was aiming for the top 50! I first did this race in 2006 where I was 130th in the U17 race!

March started off with a new pb by 31 seconds at the Black Park Parkrun, the following 200m and 50m free at the Bracknell masters swim meet were less successful – I think I’ll stick to swim training, open water races and triathlon for the rest of the year! It was great to get out on my TT bike the following day for the 10mile TT at Maidenhead for the first of the West London Combine TT Series. This was my first ever TT and I guess you could say I enjoyed (?!) it as I’m doing a 25mile next weekend. It’s good training for the legs I have to keep telling myself! I also managed a quick visit to the Triathlon Show at Sandown Park, it was good to see a few familiar faces and some great new products.

Last weekend saw the final and biggest cross country race of the season racing for Hertfordshire at the UK Inter Counties Cross Country Championships (incorporating the final of the British Cross Challenge and the World Trials) in Birmingham. I was extremely pleased with this race as I finished 28th overall and first for Hertfordshire; I had been hoping to sneak into the top 100! Our Hertfordshire team finished 12th and hopefully you’ll be able to spot some of us in our bright orange vests in the highlights programme on Sky Sports 2 on Saturday (15th March). Time to put the spikes away now…once they’ve been cleaned!

My first big race of the season is the British Elite Duathlon Champs at the end of the month – I cannot think of a more delightful way to spend my birthday than by doing a Duathlon…a race without swimming…what am I thinking?! Anyway it will be a good early season race to see how I am doing. In the meantime lots more training (and less racing) to be cracking on with, its great to have Richard and Jas back for some company on the track, in the pool and on the road!

Until next time,

Hannah x

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