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Ailbhe Carroll | Going Full Circle. The future is bright.

Hi All,

The last time I wrote I had just finished a block of 3 races back to back which all went pretty poorly. I had a decision to make that was a make or break so I took some time to think through where I was heading and made sure anyone I contacted for help was a wise decision.

I went through a pretty tough mental battle with having had a succession punches to the face that really tore me down. It’s a tough game this world of sport! But, its one we love. It’s one I love anyway and I am so glad I am lucky enough to be embarking on this journey, be it rough or smooth.

At the start of July, I joined forces with a new coaching team based in Ireland called HupHup. This team consists of Gavin Noble and Eanna McGrath. Gavin was Ireland’s first Olympian for triathlon in London and was a childhood hero of mine. He was the first person I wrote to when I was 16, and starting the triathlon journey. He took time out of his athlete lifestyle to email me back – and for that, I always had a huge respect for him. It’s a little weird now, how my childhood hero is now making my programme, but I have full trust in him to help me. Full circle. Eanna is a man of numbers and stats. Two things I am a big fan of. Together, their knowledge and experience are world class and something I am very lucky to be a part of.

We decided to keep me away from racing in order to make sure I had time to adapt to the new programme. It’s been over 7 weeks, but finally, this Saturday saw my return to the field at the Irish National Champs – a race I was super excited to challenge.

And well, the pictures say it all… What a race!

The women’s race today in DCT was set to be a cracker and in my opinion, it did not disappoint. We all know each other fairly well and we know where each other’s strengths and weaknesses lie. We had strong bikers, speedy runners, and all-round strong athletes across the board in the mix today. Carolyn was the running threat and we knew that going in. Orla and I tried all we could to break the group and keep it stochastic in nature in an effort to keep it from being a run race. Carolyn is a pocket rocket on the run and we didn’t want a run race to unfold!! Our efforts, of which there were many many many, came to no success and so, a run race it was! A group of 5 of us entered t2 together.

It went to form and Carolyn put in a fantastic run split to dance her way to the top.

The excitement the race had around it beforehand was still unfolding for the podium spots. The British girl Lucy Byram ran her way to second and then myself and Erin were in a battle for 3rd. We were together until 4km. A small gap opened up and Erin had a few meters of a gap on me. I closed it. This process then repeated itself another 2 times until the elastic went kaboom and I was unable to respond. Erin ran in for third and I finished with the chocolate medal!

My emotions coming over the line were of bitter disappointment but upon reflection, I’m quietly pleased. I had a solid day from start to finish. I gave what I had today, and today it wasn’t enough. That’s racing. Such an exciting thing!

As Lucy Byram is British and it was our national champs, I will get 3rd in the national champs race but obviously, I was 4th over the line. It was a super close battle with only 29 seconds separating 2nd and 4th.

It was absolutely class to be part of such a stacked Irish field. The tactics were on fire today, and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to race within such a dynamic race. The Irish super series is growing and with more international athletes getting stuck in, it really is turning the races into some exciting viewing.

A massive thank you to @huphup.ie, I’ve only been working with them for 7 weeks and I am so happy with the progress I have made in such a short time. I feel, for most, the season is drawing to a close, but I’m only starting to get going! It’s going to be a fun winter!!

A massive congrats also to Chris and Kieran on a cracking display of sass from the gun to the tape. A great day out for @huphup.ie athletes. The future is bright👌

Next for me is a French grand prix on Sept 22nd. My first GP of the season but the finale of the series. I am super excited to get going in this race so keep in touch for more race reports in 2 weeks time!

Ailbhe X