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With less than a week to go before the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, which, this year, are being held in the picturesque Cote d’Azur city of Nice, we caught up with our community, and The Running Bee Foundation Ambassador, Rhianna Parkinson, to see how she is getting on with her final stages of preparation.
Wow this Summer is flying… After qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in January earlier this year, it’s been my main and ultimate focus for so long, and now it seems to have come round super quick. So, aside from deliberating between taking a road or time trial bike to Nice, what else have I been up to…
Now that my fitness is making steadier improvements, I’ve been looking at where I’m able to make up “easy” time. I completely overhauled my nutrition plan at the start of the year (sadly the Percy Pigs have been ditched) and, for the first time, practiced it relentlessly all year. I’ve learnt what isotonic really means and why I’ve been feeling ill, at the end of races, in the past! Secondly, I spent an entire morning practicing transitions and finally mastered the art of flying mounts and dismounts. It’s pretty crazy, as to take 30 seconds off your swim time, or your 5km run time, it can take weeks to months of training, but in one morning I took my transition time from a couple of minutes, to just over a minute. I won’t lie, you do look a bit daft cycling round an empty tennis court on a cold Saturday morning, jumping on and off your bike with your cycling gear and spinning round in circles, but everything I practiced, I’ve made use of all season… and what a season it’s been so far!
With three 2nd places in Sprint triathlons, and one 4th and two 5th places, in my age group, at middle distance events (including my World Championship qualification on the blistering fast course at Ironman 70.3 Dubai – a definite PB attempt course for my 2020 season) 2019 had already been by far the most successful year in my triathlon journey. Then, last weekend, at the West Lancashire Summer Triathlon (where I came second by an agonising 6 seconds, at the Spring edition of the event, in April), I took my first top spot. I was elated! The win I had been working so hard for, for so long, and not only that, but I was over 6 minutes ahead of second place. It just goes to show how hard work and dedication can really pay off in the long run, and most importantly of all to NEVER GIVE UP!
In July, myself and my partner also had an epic week at Club La Santa, where you won’t find a finer coffee than at El Lago! Aside from sipping coffee, we had a killer week of half marathons, triathlons, duathlons, aquathlons and even hanging upside down in aerial relaxation! This was brilliant race practice and experience, and the wide variety of activities available also gave us the opportunity to relax, have fun, and unwind. To top it all off, we smashed some long rides, with hard climbs and, of course in Lanzarote, wind resistance! And these tough rides were great simulation for the “grind” of the hills that await me in Nice.
My ‘A’ race for the season, the Ironman 70.3 World Championships Nice, is in just over a week. This will be a much different style race to the sort I’m used to, with the long, gruelling climb of the Col de Vence – you know it’s serious when the Pro’s are practicing the course every other weekend! Personally, I think, I’m more suited towards the flatter “TT Style” courses, but I’m not phased by any challenge and I’m making sure I’m preparing for the climb, by putting in lots of big gear sessions in training and picking the hillier routes for my long training rides. On the day, what will be will be, and I am sure it will be a great day!
I count my lucky stars every day to have the opportunity to compete at World Championship level, which wouldn’t be possible without the incredible help and support of The Running Bee Foundation and Sports Tours International; so I am very much looking forward to joining in with the City Of Preston 10 km race when we get home in September. This was a running highlight for me last year with a beautiful, but challenging course, and one of the friendliest, most supportive crowds I’ve ever experienced. It is definitely not a race to miss!
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