Even the pros—Chrissie Wellington included—had to start somewhere. We polled some of the pros to get them to share some of the lessons they’ve learned (often the hard way). Learn from their mistakes so you don’t make the same ones.
This is what some people might call a ‘bad’ race, but I believe it was the springboard to bigger and better things, as your supposed ‘bad’ races are the ones where you learn the most and which are actually the best races for each athlete in enabling them to grow and develop. Like injuries, positive things can come out of misfortune. It just depends on your perspective. Anyway, I returned to the UK from living and working in Nepal in May 2006 and within a few weeks I found myself on the start line at the National Sprint Championships near Birmingham. I didn’t own a wetsuit so I borrowed one. It didn’t fit. I got in the 14-degree Celsius water. The gun went off. My wetsuit flooded. I couldn’t get my arms out of the water–let alone swim–and had to be rescued by a kayaker! Not the most auspicious start to an age group triathlon career! My next race was the Shropshire Olympic Distance triathlon, which went a darn sight better and I managed to qualify for the World Age Group Championships being held in Lausanne in September that year, and the rest, as they say, is history!