A Failed Race; Fambridge Triathlon

Failure. This months post is all about it.

What a terrible feeling. Running a long (or trying to) and not quite feeling the ground beneath me, not quite able to focus on the runners in front of me. Are they runners or are they white rabbits I’m trying to chase down? Someone passed me and commented about the day – I’ve no ideas what they said or what I said in return. I’m usually very upbeat during a race.

‘I’m sure I should be further along than I am’ I remember thinking and looking for somewhere to drink, lakes and rivers and wide-open expanses of water come into my head - I definitely need a drink.

I made it to the first drinks stop and laid on the floor in the shade. I ate someone’s banana and drank some coke. I still didn’t feel right so a Marshall took me in his car to the start of the race and to seek first aid. Driving along in the car felt like flying along the road. Uhoh.

Medics did the normal test and told me I was dehydrated. I pulled out of the race with a second ‘DNF’ for this route. What a disaster. After a few tears, hugs, and a McDonalds strawberry milkshake from my fiancée I was ok but I felt pretty low.


Crashing out of a half ironman after running just 1 mile of the run route was a pretty rubbish way to spend my Sunday afternoon a few weekends ago, but there are worse things that may have happened. As we collected my belongings from the Transition area we saw another competitor being stretchered away. I think it was just too hot and my body was under prepared for it. Today was not going to be my day, and thankfully a few friends supported me by reminding me that tomorrow is another day, and that you will come back stronger and more prepared. Even writing this blog I do still feel like a failure!

The invaluable lesson is knowing when to stop, I didn’t want to stop but I felt things were slipping away from me trying to run. To retire from the race and call it a day was a low point but imagined how I’d been if I had tried to carry on – I’d be on a stretcher too I reckon! One of the most annoying aspects was that I managed a really good swim (with jelly fish to contend with, without being able to draft and against the tide may I add!) a decent bike section of the race and I just fell to pieces on the last part.


I recently listened to a very inspiring Ted Talk (Diana Nyad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx8uYIfUvh4) about not giving up. This inspiring lady managed an epic open water swim from Cuba to Florida after 4 attempts. This gave me some perspective on racing a half ironman and so I need to pick myself up, brush myself off and start again.

I think feeling of self destruction runs true in a lot of people, and we forget to see the good in things when failures occur. There is a lesson here about understanding when to say enough is enough, and respecting our limitations physically, emotionally and mentally. It's been hot out there in the UK this last month and I have heard reports from friends and patients about not being able to cope for training let alone racing in this weather!

Back to the training plans, back to the basic foundations of my training; good nutrition, hydration, sleep and consistent training. Looking after myself and appreciating where my flaws are in order to try and progress them as I can.