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Wednesday 23 November 2022

Last Night I dreamed I went to Austria Again

Last night I dreamed I went to Austria again. It seemed to me that I was running down the corridors leading to the gates at the airport. The corridors were grey and anonymous, tiled floors. I couldn't remember which gate I was trying to get to or the time of the flight. As I ran, I was dropping my triathlon kit and I was going to be late. I'd not make it. I ran and ran, my heart beating fast and tears filling my eyes.

I'm stealing a passage from Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, but the dreams were real. Running through airports always late, forgetting a crucial bit of kit … and I'd wake. And realise that the race was already done. I had nothing to worry about.

A few years ago, I'd been lucky enough to race middle distance triathlon in GB kit. It had been such an honour but the pressure – which I had put on myself, rather than from anyone else – was immense. I hadn't worn the kit before the event, because rather than being proud of qualifying, I was worried that my team mates or fellow competitors would see me as a show-off or someone who thought she was better than she was. It was silly, I'd earned my place, after all. But it was how I felt. 

SO proud of being able to wear this kit

The race had been ok. I had been insanely stressed about it all, but I was lucky enough to have Paul and Dana take me under their wings. They had raced in GB kit many times before and were seasoned pros at this. They knew so much more than me and helped me so much, from navigating the hire car from along the roads from Munich to Walchsee to getting the bike rebuilt and getting it racked in the right place. Things hadn't gone quite to plan … dropped drinks bottles, snot rockets on me from fellow competitors to corpses in the Air BnB beds (Race report here) but I survived, stayed on the bike and made it home again (to a vandalised car but that's another story). 

However, as you might have guessed it didn't all end there. For at least a couple of months after getting back, every week or so I'd leap out of bed in the middle of the night and start collecting my tri kit, convinced I'd overslept for the race. I'd even got as far as grabbing my bike one night before I woke up properly and realised I was at home, it was a Tuesday night and I was wheeling my bike through the house to a race that was weeks ago! 

Check out those trusty ASICS GT2000s

Luckily it stopped after a few months, but it wasn't a nice feeling while it lasted. Don't get me wrong, being able to go back to bed again after realising there wasn't a race to go to that I was horribly late for, was lovely. But the panic and the beating heart was awful. I think it was just the pressure I'd put myself under as I was desperate not to 'show up' my team colours. As it was, the race was fairly eventful and not in a terribly good way, but it was a good learning experience and only my 2nd middle distance triathlon. So there had been a lot to learn and a lot of mistakes to be made.

Eyes on the Prize!

I've had a lot of big races since then. Multiple middle distance triathlons and even a couple of long distance ironman triathlons, but luckily I've never had the stress dreams come back. And I don't miss them.

Have you ever had anything like this? How did you manage it?

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