Fighting Back: Race Report

July 11, 2019

Fighting Back: Race Report

 

Canadian Champs/CAMTRI Continental cup

I am currently sitting in Vancouver Airport waiting for my flight home to Montreal – been up since 4am and been waiting 14hours to get a flight back so I thought I would write a little race report.

So earlier this year I was forced to make the very tough decision whether I wanted to race for GB or for Canada. I had about one week to make my decision and geez that was a stressful and tough week as no one could make this decision for me. The easy option- stay with GB… But nah life’s not about taking the easy road is it! There were many reasons I wanted to race for Canada but I’ll spare you the details. Early May I became part of Triathlon Canada and Triathlon Quebec, which meant that I had the opportunity to race Canadian Champs which doubled up as a CAMTRI American Cup race in Kelowna this past weekend.

 

I know your all wondering what on earth is CAMTRI? CAMTRI is the American equivalent of European Cup races which are known as continental cup races. However, CAMTRIs are a little bit different as most of them are junior, U23 and senior altogether, which means I am racing people 10-20years older than me and many are pro athletes, who race in World Cups and, at times, in the top level World Triathlon Series.  As a first-year junior, it’s an amazing opportunity to even get a start at a CAMTRI race (if you have a look at the start lists I am about the only 2003 on it).

My ‘goal’ for this year is to get used to a new higher level of races and to really challenge myself, last year was amazing- I achieved 2 titles that I am so proud of but I wouldn’t be satisfied just repeating the same races as I did last year. But this means I need to manage expectations, not just of others but of myself. The people closest to me know very well that I have extremely high expectations for myself and a lot of the time it’s very hard to manage - but it’s part of what drives me as an athlete. That said, I didn’t have much expectations going into Kelowna, which was a first :-).

So, my weekend of racing consisted of a Semi-final which was a super sprint and Finals on Sunday, which was a Sprint distance race. Top 14 in each semi went on to race in the A final and the rest raced in a B final.

Saturday Semi-final  

I was kind of nervous for Saturday, even though I had no expectations it was more just the fear of the unknown. With the people closest to me we have a little mantra going which is “race like Isla” and that’s exactly what I did. Even though I felt horrible in warmup, once I get on a start line I have this inner abilty to completely "switch off", get extremely focused and let my body do the work.

And in my semi, I completely surprised myself.

Here’s a little write up from Triathlon Canada about my semi:

A pint-sized Canadian teenager stole the show in the final women’s heat. Montreal’s Isla Britton ripped through the 300-metre swim in Lake Okanagan, and never looked back. The 16-year-old dropped the field on the run course, winning the heat by four seconds with a time of 26:00.

“It is hard to know where you are in the swim, but I stood up out of the water and I was surprised that I was at the front,” said Britton, who now lives in Scotland. “I got onto the bike and worked with some of the bigger girls in the pack, and took the lead on the corners. When I got onto the run, I was going fast, but I didn’t feel like I was working too hard so it was surprisingly a really good result for me.”

My win in my semi meant I was in the A final, which is incredible for many reasons but one of them being I was the youngest girl in the A final and I was ranked Number 2 for the final.

Sunday- A final

Sunday’s final was always going to be a big challenge- This was only my second sprint distance race and my first time racing consecutive days.

Swim

The swim- ahahahahahaahaahaha – if I don’t laugh I would cry. After having a very good start, 300m into the 750m swim some girl swam over me and elbowed me in the back of the head causing me to stop swimming as I was so dizzy but then continued to swim- but talk about kicking someone when their down… literally! Someone kicked me in the ribs resulting in me having two very sore and slightly bruised ribs. But “race like Isla”, of course I kept going. I was 45 seconds down out the swim (can we all do a prayer to the racing gods to let me actually have a good swim for once!!). In training I have the times to keep up with the leading pack but something always happens in a race. Gotta find a solution to this!

Bike

Got onto the bike and got into a group. Somehow I had a fast T1 but I felt a bit dizzy on the bike. The course was completely different to the day before, it was virtually flat out and back X2 so played into the hands of the big girls. I  knew I needed to be in breathing distance to the lead pack on the swim to have any chance at being in the lead bike pack. I was lucky to get into the chasing pack but oh boy did that group try my patience -  dysfunctional was about the only word to describe it. We got into something which faintly resembled a group but we lost a whole chunk of time to the lead pack but after a very long 31mins we were about 8 athletes going into T2 together, there were about 13 in the lead group coming off the bike but about 2min ahead. I had a blistering T2 and it was Run time.

Run

The run was 3 laps of a park and the first lap of the run felt like 5km, by the start of the 2nd lap I kicked away from the group that were with me off the bike. As I was running past one of the Triathlon Quebec coaches he shouted to tell me I was in 3rd junior position. I thought I miss heard him but I continued to run hard then I think one of the Quebec boys told me I was 3rd junior too. I just ran it in but geez it was a hard run.

Sunday, because of the swim- wasn’t the result I think my form from Saturday reflected but to finish 3rd junior in Canada in my first year of the four-year category was insane and to finish 15th overall in my first elite CAMTRI race is something I am pretty proud of. I am racing another CAMTRI race this coming weekend, against many more international athletes and the following week I am going to Edmonton, Canada to race in the National Relay Championships. It's going to be such a great experience.

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Isla is an ambassador for everactiv, a 2x British Age Group Triathlon Champion, Multiple National Scottish Triathlon Champion, Multiple Provincial Quebec Triathlon Champion and now Bronze medalist at Junior Canadian Championships. She's been participating in triahtlon since she was 8, lives in Scotland and competes for Canada. You can follow her progress on instagram: islabritton




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