I am currently writing my blog from Cardiff, but not Cardiff in Wales, I am staying at a place north of San Diego called Cardiff by the Sea! I have based myself here to train for the next World Triathlon Series race in San Diego.

The first race of the year in Sydney went well and I came away with 2nd position! It's the best start to a season I have ever had, it is a relief to have the first race of the season done. I always get nervous for the first race, it seems so unknown, after winter training for 6 months your never quite sure of your form or never quite ready for the pain of racing. I knew winter training had gone well so it was good to deliver the results of a hard winter.

Sydney is one of the best locations in the world to have a race, we start the swim right next to the Opera house and we cycle and run in the amazing Botanical Gardens. I had a good swim coming out second but the group was trailing the Japanese girl, Adachi, by about 45 seconds. I transitioned as fast as possible and got out quick, a pack formed on the first lap as we caught Adachi, we were about thirty seconds up on the chase pack. Unfortunately we were reeled in after about 5 laps. It was quite a tight course in places with some technical sections so remaining at the front of the group was important. After crashing in Sydney last year I made sure I stayed in a good position. The hardest part is being at the front coming into 2nd transition, everyone wants to be at the front and you have to be aggressive to get up there and hold position, I did ok as I was near the front but still gave myself a bit of work to do on the first kilometre of the run to catch up. After a lap of the run a group of about 7 of us had formed, I wasn't feeling great and just ran to the pace of whoever was leading, mostly Erin Densham from Australia. As the run went on the group was getting smaller and smaller and by the last lap we were down to three of us, myself, Erin and Kiwi Andrea Hewitt. I felt Andrea get dropped off the back of us with about a kilometre to go, Erin was running really consistently and I lost contact with her with about 600m to go. I then felt my right quad starting to cramp. I had a few really bad cramps when we first arrived in Australia which I couldn't continue running on, so for the last 400m or so of the race I was worried the cramp was going to get really bad, I also know Andrea was a super strong finisher so I was running down to the finish hobbling a bit, constantly worrying Andrea would surge past me! Luckily she didn't and I was 2nd. It is a great start for me and there are still a few things to improve on over the next few races. As we raced so early, after drug testing (blood and urine) I was able to watch the men's race, get some treatment form our physio Vicky, who sorted out my crampy quad, thanks Vicky! I then had an easy day in Sydney with Marc and some friends before flying over to San Diego.

Training so far in Cardiff by the sea has gone great! The training environment is good with some nice off road running and good bike groups. I now have just under two weeks to the next race. I am looking forward to it. It hasn't been all work out here though, Marc is a big Bruce Springsteen fan and we managed to get last minute tickets to his concert in LA. The concert was next to the Olympic stadium from the LA Olympics, which was an amazing building. It was a great night and concert! A nice change from the usual Swim Bike Run.

helen-april-2012  Helen x