Jacqui has become a full time athlete this year. She spent the winter months in Australia to prepare herself for the fore coming season (it’s not a bad life having a continuous summer!). She recently returned to the UK and put her training into practice. This is her account of the journey so far, which includes a 1st place at both the Strathclyde European Cup and the Emergency Services Triathlon.
Strathclyde European Cup – 23rd May
“I’ve had a few up and downs since I’ve been back in the UK and I couldn’t make up my mind whether to be excited about racing; to see what improvements I have made; or to get really nervous and worry about not meeting my own and other people expectations. Well after this weekend I have exceeded my expectations and won my first major race. This wasn’t just any race but an ITU European Cup and the first round of the British elite super series.
‘Great Britain’s Jacqueline Slack became the 2010 GE Strathclyde Park ITU Triathlon European Cup Champion beating off strong competition from Alexandra Tondeur and Charlotte McShane.’
Like I said, I’ve had some ups and downs since returning home. Training hasn’t gone as well as I would have liked but I didn’t panic. My main focus was to be well rested and feeling eager to race come race day.
Mum had made all the travel and accommodation arrangements for Strathclyde whilst I was away, so I didn’t have to think about booking a hotel or getting to the race, which was great. We travelled up on Saturday, getting there just in the nick of time for the race briefing. I was feeling very relaxed and ready, I wanted to get stuck in and start the race. It’s the best feeling in the world, going into a race knowing you are as fit as you’ve ever been. I felt so much more confident and wanted to enjoy the whole experience. Towards the end of last year I wasn’t getting this feeling, but this year my attitude is completely different it’s a good feeling to enjoy the racing.
Onto the race the water temp was 17 degrees, a perfect temperature. I warmed up well and took a TORQ Strawberry Yoghurt gel just before we were called on to the pontoon. The whistle went and we were off. I had an awful start and at the first buoy was positioned around tenth. This wasn’t where I wanted to be! After the first lap I started to move up the field; those 6k swim sets started to pay off! I exited the water in 4th place and bombed it through transition out onto the bike.
Heather Jackson and I worked very hard on the bike to bridge the gap to the lead two girls and after 3 laps we caught them. Kirsty McWilliam, an awesome young athlete, dropped off the pace and it was left to Abbie Thorrington, Heather Jackson and I to increase our lead on the rest of the competitors. We were working well together, taking short turns at the front.
Going into the run our small group had around 90 seconds lead on the chase group and I moved to the front. It felt so hot running, someone said it was 35 degrees! However I continued to run strong, especially when there was a camera in my face, as I was the lead female!!! On the last lap (3.35k), I was still leading and feeling strong. The chasers weren’t gaining, it was then I thought ‘I’m going to win’. The last 400m was all downhill and a smile started to grow on my face. All that was going through my mind was what to do at the finish when I ran through the tape.
Coming into the finish I got ‘hi-fives’ from the supporters. The crowds were awesome, the sunshine makes all the difference bringing everyone out; I love racing in fount of big crowds. What an amazing start to my season.
When I crossed the finish line all I wanted to do was to hug my Mum and call Rob, but that didn’t happen. I was first stopped by Rob Walker who wanted an interview for channel 4; I think my interview skills will need some work, I’m dreading watching it on TV. I was then asked for another interview from British triathlon. I then came the millions of photos being taken by the media. Lastly I was then grabbed by anti doping who had to accompany me until I was ready to give a sample. It was so over whelming everyone wanted to congratulate me. Strangers wanted me to have pictures with their children!
We had the presentation and they played the British national anthem, what a great feeling to be at the top of the podium.
During the race I used 2 x torq gels and 750m of torq orange flavour energy drink. It really helped in the heat and prevented me getting a stitch; which I have had previously on the run sections of races. I finished the race with a TORQ chocolate orange recovery drink this will help with recovery ready for next weekend.
Please take look at the article on the BTF website: http://www.britishtriathlon.org/news/article.php?id=10672
I think I have just proven that you don’t have to be super talented; you just have to work hard and take every opportunity you can to achieve your goals.
1st Place at the Emergency Services Triathlon – 14th May
In the week before Jacqui’s break through race, she competed at the emergency services annual triathlon. This is her account of the race.
‘Jacqueline Slack supporting the Fire Service’
“As soon as I landed back home my arm was twisted by several friends and colleges to enter the National emergency services triathlon. I raced last year and helped the fire service bring home the team prize, we won against the police, Ambulance, Coast Guard and Mountain Rescue. It’s a great prize; £1000 got donated to the Firefighters charity, helping injured Firefighters or to help support families of Firefighters that have passed away, it’s an excellent support service for all involved.
Anyway, I raced alongside five others from Staffordshire everyone performed really well all beating their times from last year. I won the female race, I felt ok, but not brilliant. I’d done enough to comfortably win and make it a close call between the fire and the police. Unfortunately this year the police piped us to the post and took the team prize.
It was an excellent day at Holmes Pierpont water sports centre. The race was well organised by ‘xtra mile’ and ‘VUE’ the main sponsor for the event. Glenn Mullins and his sister always make the event enjoyable for everyone and the BBQ was fantastic. As usual, I’m glad my friends twisted my arm! During the race I used 750m of TORQ natural orange energy drink and finished the race with a TORQ chocolate orange recovery drink again.”
My next target race is the European Xterra Championships – Sardinia 30th May”
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