Lisa Fenton, GBR

2012 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon

Coach’s Remarks: Great race report here from Lisa!! Newbies take note here as Lisa had a bad day in Sri Lanka and came back 2 weeks later and smashed it in ADIT. She looked awesome all day and just shows how easy it is to have a bad day and think all is lost and then come back and show what fitness you really do have. Abu Dhabi proved that as Lisa was light years faster then previous events at this distance. Well done Lisa, see, the hard work finally paid off….now Roth 🙂 Enjoy the read team.

Note from Lisa: I’m not usually one for laying out my emotional ups and downs on paper (and I’m really not sure anyone would want to read about them!) – however here it all is, the good the bad and the downright ugly – a tale of two races (see also Sri Lanka 70.3 race report). Onwards and upwards – March madness has definitely begun.

Abu Dhabi International Triathlon


After SL I decided I had to do something about my attitude and negativity. So, I spent a week in the pool working on technique, speed and generally making inroads in improving so as to build confidence. I did a 12k road race with the running club which I actually enjoyed, thus I knew I could still run! I listened to some motivational tips online and downloaded a ‘calming’ hypnotherapy session to aid in relieving pressure. By the time we turned up in AD I felt OK. I was still nervous but I told myself it’s only a training day, no pressure, just go and enjoy. The race organisation was super, registration smooth and bikes and transition bags were packed and ready to go no problem. I did my 15’s swim (first time in a wet suit for months!) spending some time checking out best things to sight and ran my 15 with Simone which was fun (and chatty!) Started getting a bit nervous the evening before the race however just stayed in the room with pasta and a glass of red wine (for calming purposes only..!) and had an early night.

Race Day
Met up with all the team and it was a great buzz – all the usual banter and joking. I put all my drinks & gels on the bike, checked the wheels, added the final bits to my transition bags, went to the beach, realised I’d forgotten my pre-race gel, raced back to transition bag, grabbed gel, trotted back to beach realising I was actually giggling to myself. Kept repeating my positive mantra and when they delayed the start times by 30mins I didn’t even flinch – no worries, I was enjoying the pre-race banter! The pros went off, (wow, so fast) then the long course lunatics. There were already a lot of people in the water however I stayed calm as the white and green caps went off. Finally they called for the red caps, we entered the pen, bit of a warm up in the sea, final good lucks and hugs then the horn blew and we were off.

For the first time ever I felt comfortable, strong and calm in the water. The wet suit removed all buoyancy issues, I could just concentrate on every stroke and making it count. I did that all the way to the first buoy, sighting not too badly, sat on a mans hip for a time (my first experience of proper swim drafting!) till I bumped into him (poor directional swimming from me) and he popped his head up. I apologised and decided to stay away from him from now on, so got ahead and round the first buoy. Couldn’t see the second buoy so just followed all the swim caps! Everyone was quite spread out so I used the buildings to sight and finally glimpsed the buoy – wooohooo, still feeling good and moving OK in the water. Got round that nice and smoothly and was on the home stretch AND PASSING PEOPLE!!! ….jeez, I thought, was I actually enjoying this swim? As I reached the final orange buoy I caught up with someone to my left…ok, I thought, final bit of mental push – just pretend its Ahmed and get past him hee hee…so, I pushed a little bit and edged past….and then saw the race number on the cap and realised it WAS Ahmed…. I couldn’t believe it. Desperately hoped he didn’t realise it was me as I reckon he would have drowned me… pushed on towards the arch and the next minute my feet touched the ground and I was out! Woohoo – my first enjoyable swim and new 1.5k PB (by nearly 5mins)!

Trotted into transition, got my wet suit off, bike gear on and made my way out to the bike. Quick shout to Simona and Ahmed who were both heading to their bikes and I was off….on a very long trot to the mount line…longest transition ever! Finally got to the mount line to meet Coach and National screaming their heads off – I was buzzing! On the bike and off I went. Knowing it wouldn’t be long before S and A caught up with me I just got myself settled and into the ride. Cripes, not only were there giant cats eyes all over the road (my nemesis since Phuket) but I also had to contend with really big white round bumpy things too!
Some weaving and winding was required but I was happy to lose a few seconds to stay upright on the bike. Just chilled out and kept pedalling. Had a really good ride all the way to Yas island – weather was cool, not too breezy and everyone was really friendly as they passed or as I passed them. Yas was fun, it’s mad being able to speed around an F1 circuit on a bicycle ha ha ha…

Coming back I found harder – just had to keep pushing all the way into town, speed dropped off a bit but I kept an eye on my heart rate and kept the legs spinning. Got back to the bridge and after that it was much easier to speed along the Corniche to the turn point – knowing I only had to go back over the bridge for the second loop was a big plus so I pushed it hard – I wanted to break 3.30 on the bike so was really pleased I made 3.22. Still felt really good as I made my way along the last 2k and into transition. All gels taken with precision timing, water imbibed, salt tabs swallowed, all boxes ticked. Time to run.

Finding a spot to dump the bike was interesting – I had to slide a couple along to make space on my rack, then into the tent. HR spiked as I had a bit of a panic about the run – I was actually really nervous! Kept repeating my mantra, took a couple of deep breaths and then out. I spent the first 2k telling myself I was OK, I was running and just to enjoy. Had decided not to look at my splits so as not to panic, just to run comfortably. By the time I hit the bridge I was into a nice stride and passing lots of people. Was great being able to see the pros as they ran the half, wow, these guys and girls can move! Took water, sponges and a mouthful of coke at every station and just used other runners as markers to motivate me to push on. Turning at the flagpole I just picked it up a little bit as I felt good – in hindsight I could probably have pushed more – I just didn’t want to bonk or something equally silly so erred on the side of caution and continued my trotting along. Past the Hiltonia the run was nicely shaded and finally I was back on the Corniche… which seemed to go on for ever! Every time I thought I was turning into the finish I wasn’t. Nearly lost it at that point but had a few harsh words with myself and just kept going. Finally I heard the loudspeaker and saw the final turn. Off I went onto the matting, along the final bit and through the finish line – job done!

What a day. The support from the sidelines was fantastic ; the team were great support when I saw them at various points during the race and all in all I had a really good time. It just goes to show how much your head really does play a massive part in this sport (in my opinion). I learned a huge lesson in SL; taking that with me to ADIT and spending some time getting mentally prepared made all the difference to my race. I think I may actually be looking forward to the next one!