Challenge Roth 2023 – Jennie Pennington:July 11th, 2023 by admin
This journey started way back in October 2022. Hot back off honeymoon determined to start hard work.
I looked at all my areas of development and where I needed to make gains. One key area was my running. Whilst this was in no way “poor” for me to succeed with the goal going sub 12 I needed to work on my strength and speed.
We had a long chat about goals I needed to achieve along the way to make me gain confidence and be able to execute a strong marathon pace when needed at the back end of Roth. The aim was a 5km PB and a ½ marathon PB. We worked hard on my endurance and maintaining pace and building pace. Both these sub gaols were achieved.
I continued to work hard on my running mixing HR runs with intervals making sure I stayed injury free yet continued to grown in strength. These were helped with my strength sets at the gym.
I then executed a PB in an Olympic race as a season opener running my best times, whilst knee deep in training for Roth.
Before we knew it the B race rolled in, and I was lining up at Outlaw 70.3 Nottingham. This was where we practiced training, things like HR zones, and nutrition strategies. When I first signed with Paul, he asked what my dream goal would be. My response was “I would love one day to get on the AG podium at Outlaw” it’s where I started my 70.3 journey, and I was in awe of those ppl achieving these great times and levels. Fast forward to me this season having a strong race coming in at 5:08:32 and getting 2nd place!!! I was overjoyed. Blown away by what I had achieved I never thought it was possible for me to achieve what I did while the goal was sub 12 for Roth. I cried when Dave told me I was just so happy. It meant so much.
Quick re-focus and staying on task with the journey towards Roth. We continued to build volume. There were dark days especially as the build was reaching maximum capacity the 17 hours training weeks were tough, it was a juggling act of working full time, household chores, briefly seeing family and friends, eating and sleeping.
The relief I felt to finally hit taper was such a joy, but the taper crazies quickly creep in, you doubt yourself, you feel lazy, you question everything. I knew deep down I couldn’t have given my sub 12 challenge anymore. I had trained so hard.
Before I knew it was time to start packing the car and head off to Germany!
The anxiety and the level of pressure I had out on myself were at times overwhelming! I don’t mind admitting there were a few tears shed at various times when the enormity of what I was about to just got to me.
I went through a wave of emotions leading into the race. I think the biggest anxiety came from when we drove part of the bike course. The climbs and the switch backs that I needed to descend sent me spiralling into worry mode. I gave myself a talking too, spoke to Dave, frantically texted my brother and also reached out to Paul all said the same message in a variety of ways, “you need to believe, you can do this”.
I calmed down got on with the matter in hand and soaked up the incredible atmosphere.
Roth is a huge event the biggest I have ever done but yet it also has this amazing energy and vibe that is magical and breath taking.
It was also a joy to be part Dave journey and his goals, bouncing around thoughts between each other and suffering together. Amazing to have my tri club around me all different abilities and levels supporting and being so proud of each other, watching each of their races unfold.
As we stood before the race start the nerves again kicked in, I needed a moment to compose myself, the music and the starting cannons were fast adding to my nerves. I was almost heading to the swim start, I hugged Emma (a newbie full distance who had been smashing her training and was like an excitable puppy), then turned to hug Ali (another of my Tri girls ready to kick some Roth butt) she turned to me hugged me and said “believe in your training, you can do this” (Thank you!) those words bounced around my head in my dark moments. I could believe in my training I had banked those hours and miles I knew I had trained hard.
I exited the swim down on time on what I thought I was going to swim by about 5 mins, I didn’t panic I just got out my wet suit, did my T1 business and cracked on. Only rookie mistake I made running with my bikes shoes all the way to the mount line before stopping and putting them whilst holding my bike with one hand! Face palm moment right there!!
The bike was enjoyable I knew what I needed to do and executed this well. It was a busy course and you needed power surges to move around and out of peoples draft zones or run the risk of being penalised or DQ’d. The climbs I stayed calm I needed to spin the legs out to the top not to burn matches we was playing the long game, a hero on the hills wasn’t in the plan! I hit the switch back descent I surprised myself, is stayed calm and just did what I needed to do.
The most magical moment was climbing Sollar Hill. That was breath-taking, I had goosebumps and felt a wave of emotions hit me as all these people are screaming at you to keep going, I felt like a pro cyclist!
Before I knew it, I was heading towards T2 run time was about to commence. It was like running in a furnace the heat level had increased. I stuck to the HR plan I knew what I needed to be doing. In my head at this time, I was only focusing on the job in hand I was yet to work out how much I as ahead of my sub 12 time goal. I needed to focus on my run cadence, my fuel and water intake and my HR.
Whilst running I was desperate for shade. I wanted the trees and shaded areas to come so badly, the heat was bouncing back from the whit gravel on the floor. In settled in running behind a German guy, focusing on his cadence and feet hitting the floor it was rhythmical and kept my mind focused. This and the focused of having a gel at regular mile markers.
I just kept running and running, I looked at my time at ½ way knowing if I could hold on I would get my time goal. I wouldn’t quit. The hills towards the end came and went I was still running I could actually do this! Then the last 3kms came, people in the village were screaming and shouting. I can remember looking at my watch feeling disorientated. I stopped thinking how much further (even though I could see on my watch less than a mile) I didn’t trust my surroundings, what people were saying, or my watch! I started desperately wanting to see the stadium, finally I turned the corner and there was that green carpet. I was home, I could almost stop!
I then heard Dave yelling “Go Penno, yessssss you have done it” still didn’t register my time that much.
I went under the finish line! I HAD DONE IT…….SUB 12…..11:17:08….although it wasn’t until after Dave confirmed this with me as I was telling people 11:21!
I had finally achieved it the sub 12 goal was achieved! What a hard fought race! I had done it!
Official results top 10 female in my age category (out of 75…in case you thought there was only 10!)
I am still in slight shock.
I can qualify for the GB age group team both World and Europeans.
So my message to all of you…..never give up, work hard towards those goals, if you don’t do it first time just keep moving forwards you will be able to get there and achieve your dreams!
I can’t thank everyone around me enough for all their hard work and belief in me!
I can’t thank Paul Hart enough for his meticulous number and data obsession, finally getting me to believe in myself and achieving my goals. I am truly at a loss for words! DREAM CAME TRUE