Friday, 15 October 2010

IMUK 70.3 20th June 2010

Overall: 194/1081
AG: 27/137

Swim: 28.38
T1: 05.21
Bike: 03:19.27
T2: 02.08
Run: 01:48.33

Total: 5:44.06

So the build up to this race - not ideal. I managed a cumulative total of 9 miles running since the end of february, all of which was the week preceeding the race. I only really decided to bring shoes to even attempt the run a couple of weeks before, not expecting ANYTHING from the run other than to try to run/walk to the finish.  Cycling had been better getting in a big block of hilly riding over the previous weeks. Coming into the race my swimming had also been going well and I felt very rested.

Myself Stephen T and Rob McL and Gordon all went to a nearby pub the night before for dinner - I had a steak and despite generally feeling like i had been eating ALL day - managed to cram it in. Definite calorie surplus going on! In fact that trend I think would appear to be true for the entire week. Oh well nothing wrong with racing heavy on an uber hilly course!?

We got to bed early, like 8.30 early. I struggled to sleep considering there was still bright sunshine outside, and I am no longer 7 years old not really needing to get to bed that early.  In fact the 7 year old children with the family in the tent nearby were actually still wide awake making loads of noise. As i laid there my mind began to wander - e.g. whether I was going to catch the vomiting bug that Stephen had been carrying all week as he lay passed out generally exhausted next to me.

I awoke at about 4.30ish and had a peanut butter and banana wholemeal bagel and 3 pots of rice pudding for breakfast. a can of red bull and half a bottle of lucozade, topped up with water to sip as i went over to transition to give the tyres a pump and get suited up. It was also FREEEEZING. the clear night had left a frost on the car and the shivering breakfast brought back memories of the shivering breakfast at IMUK in August.

Swim - Aim - go under 30 mins feeling comfortable. Strategy - Start wide, get my head down for 200m or so and go hard, then look for swimmers inside me to draft.

I got into the water early and headed to the right hand buoy of the deep water swim start. got right to the front a quick check of the predicted and past times of the swimmers around  me(correcting for bullsh1t) gave me a reasonable indicator i was in the right spot. This was my 5th tri and depite having raced both bigger and smaller tris I am yet to encounter ANY sort of problem of ANY kind on a swim with regard to a pile up, flailing arms legs, anything. I was actaully a little nervous on this one though as plenty of swimmers then began to line up the otherside of the buoy i thought was the outside of the swim start. I was now in the middle at the front. Hmmm.

The claxon went and we were off. I let the guy who had moved in ahead of me swim off and just followed him out for about 300m or so. I sighted to the first buoy turn and saw a gap of maybe 5 or 6m had opened up infront of him to another pack of swimmers. Feeling strong, and generally quite cocky about my recent swim form, I decided to try to bridge the gap. Which happened with a surprising lack of effort - queue head inflation adding extra valuable buoyancy. After the first turn, we then swam straight into the sunrise, I couldnt see anything (i dont think tinted goggles would have helped - maybe welders goggles??), so just follwoed some toes of the pack i was in .It was a GREAT feeling to be sitting happily on peoples toes and breezing past the odd couple. Some were a bit wayward in the pack and as people do they  were constantly adjusting their own courses ahead of me (probably to maintain the draft of those ahead of them who were manouevering likewise), so even if i was swimming in a straight line I often lost the draft. The best way to manage this is to adjust the stroke power and glide.  I definitely swim with a higher turnover/less effort in a draft than i do on my own.  So whenever i lost the draft  i just put down a little more power and lowered my stroke rate so i could resight and find some more toes. Whether its boring or not - the decreasing stroke count drills Paul regualrly works into Mon and Fri morning swim sets are great for building this sort of control.  I didnt really push on any of the swim except the very start and the end after the last buoy to the finish. I came out of the water in 28.38 and know i had more to give. dead chuffed.

Anyway, the last little push in had left me feeling a little dizzy exiting the water as I jogged up the steep exit ramp - at which point the Lordy foghorn caught me a bit by surprise...great support though. I wonder if he would have felt bad if id fallen over?

uneventful and leisurley transition I came out onto the bike ready to settle down for a bit of the old hills.

Bike - Aim - Hold back as much as possible for the run, whilst not grinding to a halt on the hills completely - spin the hills on the first lap - push a little more on the second.

Pretty much exactly what i did. I think i probably went a little too slow - but wouldnt have changed it since i have no idea how it would/could have affected my run. The Tour of Wessex and cycling in Switzerland def helped though, spent most of all the notable hills overtaking people. Still a lot of room for improvement though. Cycling is my focus for the next year at least!!

Only one event to mention - being on a long stretch of downhill a group of cheating drafting loooosers came from behind as I approached a small hill, i changed down to spin up it as opposed to hammering it in the big chainring to grind out over the top, which is what this group attempted. i was more or less over to the left of the road, yet of the group 1 moron came up the inside and didnt even announce he was doing so and gave me a firm barge as he sped past almost taking me off. complete twit.  It felt good to spin past him seated on the major climb of the lap as he was out of the saddle sweating and grunting making it look like an ascent on everest. what a loser.

Run - Aim - dont die. Strategy - run really slowly, walk the aid stations, and try to maintain as consistent and steady effort as i can. and generally pray that i dont undo 4 months of rehab in one fail swoop. If i do, hide in the foresst until i work out a good enough excuse/story to tell Kate as to how it happened.

Basically I just set out and tried to run steady and if i could manage it run a negative split.  I felt pretty good - I lie, i was loving it..Ive missed running SO much.  I went on RPE and HR and tried to maintain a hr of 155 (MAF) - but not higher than 160-165 on the hills.   However I seemed to have lost the cockiness of the swim. Despite everything going well I was honestly pretty anxious  the whole way round that this was a bad idea. It was a bit of a rollercoaster - emotional highs as i felt great about the run, then reality checks as i tried to maintain focus and keep it on the straight and narrow and not get injured!!  The course suited me down to the ground though. The ultras and trail marathons of the winter seemi like a distant memory but it would appear they have taught me something useful - how to run downhill and to an extent uphill - i cant honestly tell you how many people i overtook on the descents in particualr  but it was a lot. With constant encouragement on the run course from a well positioned lordy ( he was essentially standing in the middle of the field which the course runs around and across at various turnarounds just shouting his head off) I even heard him through the trees shouting encouragement to Gordon when i was still running alongside the lake.

It was glorious weather, and good to see others out on the run - there are several turnarounds on the 3 lap run and thats great for picking people off. I managed to pick it up slightly on the last lap but was definitely approaching fatigue by the end, feeling my form go slightly (which is what got me injured in the first place) I just about held it togehter for a sprint finish.

Great atmosphere, great course, and dont feel I could have raced any better considering my prep if I tried. Maybe could have gone harder on the bike, but I dont know how that would have affected my run, so wouldnt change that. Even left with a 38 second middle distance PB compared with Beaver (my first tri) from last year. So its good to see that I’m improving despite injury. But only just! ;-)

Well done again to Brett ’i’m clearly a bit of a legend at triathlon but you wouldnt know it’ Hedges for your AG win. inspiring.

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