Hereford triathlete Jemima Cooper continues her gruelling schedule of races and training and last week was in Ibiza competing for Team GB in the European Middle Distance Championships.
As her official eyewear sponsor, Jemima is keeping the team here at BBR Optometry’s St Owen Street practice in Hereford up-to-date.
We have supplied Jemima with a range of bespoke frames from TD Tom Davies that have been developed and tailored for her sporting needs, combined with Zeiss lens technology.
This ensures Jemima has the advantage of perfectly tailored eyewear for her cycling and running.
Here she tells us about her recent competitions and future plans:
“On the 27th October, I raced for Team GB in the European Middle Distance Championships 2018 in Ibiza, Spain- It truly was a day to remember!
“As the torrential rain poured, an incredible tropical thunderstorm raged, the roads turned into two feet deep rivers and there was debris everywhere.
“To say this was not the ideal race conditions would be an understatement! With 2 hours to go until the programmed start, the name of the game was keeping in focused and my fingers crossed hopping that things would be change!
“A delayed start after the storm drains had washed toxic debris into the sea and needing to wait for the flash flooding to subside, we were told there would be a race but it would be somewhat altered: Planned swim, a cautious half distance bike leg and the planned run.
“So many hopes and dreams for the 1,000 odd athletes awaiting their start, but It was clear the day would be won or lost depending on each athlete’s ability to keep their race head on. At 3pm the gun went and we were off. There was no looking back now.
“Running as a mass start of 200 odd athletes into the sea, we headed out 1km to an island which we circled before picking up the pace back home.
“This was my first sea swim, and I was scared to say the least in the built up, but in all honesty I loved this bit! I have make leaps and bounds in my swim over the last few months, and being one of the first females out of the water confirmed my progress.
"Now for the crazy bit- that bike! With flooding, deep puddles, an ice rink of a surface after the rainfall mixed with car grease, and to top it off a technical course littered with speed bumps! Head down, power on, plow though the wind, forget about the freezing rain- I had some work to be done!
“With a shorter bike of 45km (compared to the usual 90km for a middle distance) there was room to push harder than usual, but the conditions were really against us. But no time for the uncontrollable, I got my head down and turned into the second transition in a competitive position.
Time for the final stretch (and my very favourite discipline!) the half marathon. Here I knew I am strongest and I knew I was prepared to suffer. And suffer I did. The run course was were I left absolutely every ounce of grit and energy inside of me.
“Gaining time etc and reminding myself to keep ‘strong and relaxed’ I pushed and kept on pushing. It was with one very last blast of energy that I sprinted across the line and into the silver position!
“I was a mess of happiness, relief, pain, amassment and sheer joy! In tears I headed to my coach with the biggest smile you could imagine. I had one aim in this race: to give my all. And that is what I did. Through adversity and struggle I kept focused and did what I set out to do.
“In a time of 3hrs 37 mins and 46 seconds, I am ecstatic to say I am the European Middle Distance Championships 2018 Silver medalist and 7th female athlete overall.
“This season has been one massive learning curve, but a really exciting one where many lessons have been learnt and high bars set.
“Saturday saw my last major race of 2018 as I now head into off season. But as I reflect and revise the 5 major races of the summer with 2 golds, 2 Silvers and one World Championship Qualification and two European Champion Qualifications.
“I have dropped my 400 meter swim times by 45 seconds. I have nailed a half marathon PB by over 17minutes after 3 20+hour training weeks, I have increased my FTP by 22.5%. I have shown up every day and worked hard to get to make small steps in the right direction.
“Over the next four week I will be taking my season break and some much needed R+R! During this time I will be doing unstructured training, munching on a few naughty things and refreshing mentally and physically. This will help to guard against any niggles and get my head set in the best possible way to get me to track for the season ahead.
“It also gives me some ‘time out’ to try a few new sports: starting with bouldering and mountain biking this week!! This break is also a chance for my coach and I to start making plans. Over the winter months we know the target is still the bike strength and my swim, and there is a real opportunity for us to make the gains here.
“Gradually and carefully we will also being taking my training volumes up to help make me as competitive against the field as possible. I will continue to race a few events to keep me sharp, but these will be duathlon and cross-country focussed. I will let you know more as we go!
“At this point I want to say another huge thank you for your ongoing support. I truly couldn’t do it without my teams and supporters like BBR. Ibiza was my first international race and there will be plenty more to come next season.”