The Race Report

The days before the race didnt start in the best possible way…

Thursday we headed down south to Algarve to meet up with the national team friday morning. During the afternoon i started to feel a bit sick, my stomach wasnt quite ok. I knew i was nervous, but this was something different.

During the trip we had to stop at a gas station and i had to vomit. I thought it would pass, but it just got worse and worse. At the time we arrived to Algarve i was feeling quite sick and scared. how on earth was i going to do my first international race when i was sick two days before the race? The night between thursday and friday was a nightmare. I didnt sleep anything and i kept on vomiting all night. The doubts started to appear in my head, would i be able to race Saturday afternoon, would my body manage the though course…I was angry, sad, furious and scared at the same time.

I dont know how i managed to get out of bed friday morning, but i did. I got myself to the official race hotel where we would get installed for the weekend. At 10am we had the official bike workout on the race course with the national team and all other athletes from different nations. We would do 3 laps, 6.6km each. After one lap i was dead. My mouth was dry and i had no energy what so ever.

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After the bike we had an open water swim session. It felt good to swim a bit and feel the fresh water from the sea….

Before lunch all athletes were present at the press conference. As i had not been eating almost anything i was feeling weaker and weaker. I just wanted to escape to my room and rest.

During the afternoon i managed to get some rest. But i can tell you that i was not confident about my race that would take place saturday afternoon. The federation doctor passed my room various times to check on me and he did all he could to prepare me for Saturdays challenge.

Towards the evening, after the race briefing i started to feel better and i actually managed to sleep between Friday and Saturday.

Saturday morning, the day of the race…

I was feeling much better. Andre went for a short run with me and Liliana. As our race was at 2pm, it was important to stimulate our bodies early in the morning. After a run and shower we had a big breakfast. Well, at least i tried to eat as much as possible. I knew i had lost lots of energy and i had to refill as much as possible.

It seemed like the time passed so fast. All of a sudden it was time to go down with our bikes and get our body marking. I was nr 42 on the start list. My arms and legs were marked. After the body marking we put our bikes and running shoes in the transition park and it was time to warm-up in the water.

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I was pretty nervous at this time.

at 1:30pm we were called to leave the water and it was time for the athlete presentation. Wow, what a feeling! When i heard my name…” Nr 42 from Portugal,  Katarina Larsson…i got goose pimples all over the body. I felt so proud.

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I ran down and took my starting position.

Athletes on your marks…go… and of we went into the sea to swim the 1500m. The sea was choppy and i couldnt see the buoys. It was terrible actually. I tried to follow some feet, but my strategy wasnt the best. I had good contact with the second pack during the first lap, but lost a lot on the second. My swim wasnt good, actually quite bad.

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I left the water knowing that i was behind. I entered T1, took of my suit, grabbed my bike…It was time to hammer that bike like there was no tomorrow.

Thats what i did. Myself and a Spanish girl worked very well on the bike. We caught a girl from Estonia when it was missing 2 laps and the three of us did the same bike split as the group ahead of us and they were 15 girls.

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I was a bit worried that i would be very tired on the run after the hard bike, but my legs were ok. During the first lap i felt a bit dizzy and my stomach was hurting, but luckily i felt better lap after lap. The crowed that surrounded the run course were amazing. They were supporting all the Portuguese athletes and gave us extra strength. Its an amazing feeling to represent a national team and to race “at home”…

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I did a last effort and sprinted towards the finish line…i had done it! my first international race, representing the Portuguese national team. What a feeling…

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I finished 28th out of 46 girls that started and 3rd Portuguese. Im very happy with this result as the objective i had was simply to finish and enjoy the race. It was not easy, i was not 100%, but i loved it and ill remember it forever…

Unfortunately my team mate and friend Liliana didn’t finish as she fell on the bike. However im sure that she will get more opportunities.

 

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