The first Olympic distance triathlon in almost four years, and it was fair to say I was feeling a little apprehensive. Why did I do it? Why not 🙂
The main goal for this race was to see if I could hold the new run form I have been practicing when fatigued.
The front of the men’s in the wave in front were passing is on their return downstream just as we were preparing to start. It was a bit of a busy washing machine, so a bit of a sprint was needed. It was also quite hard work and stayed very crowded till way way pat the return. At least two people stopped bolt upright in front or nearby and started breast stroking before we had completed the 350m to the turn. I got back level with the start line just as the next wave was starting. 700m ish in 10 minutes, this swim must have been going well!
I stayed centre of the river on the way down through the meandering bends to the exit point, to make the most of the flow. It seemed quite a distance when I looked at it from the bank stretched out in a line but it felt great as I was doing it. I looked at my watch as I exited and was utterly astounded to see it read 21 minutes!
When we drove this course it seemed like MILES AND MILES!! Very scenic, but by NO means flat, and quite a lot of country lanes and villages. In fact you cycle to Wales and back!
The course was deceptive. Although there were some straights, it was windy, there were cheeky inclines and sharp hills too. That meant I ended up playing cat and mouse for the entire course with a girl in pink. On the flats, away I went, on the hills, back she came! I was very conscious fuelling would be very important at this distance and I had a plan. But the Guu chomps were WAY too sticky to get out and eaten. Just as well I also had three gels and a drink. I don’t think I took the second one quite early enough, it was the dip in speed and increase of fatigue that reminded me! SiS smart gels are great though, I felt like Popeye within ten minutes!
There was a great view of the Welsh hills on the way out that to be honest, I didn’t notice when cycling, only when driving the route the day before! The sign telling me I was passing 20km only reminded me that this was an Olympic distance, and I had exactly that to go again before I could stop cycling! It’s crazy because I cycle way further in training! Boredom was a serious factor though and I had to make sure I remained focussed on the task at hand. There’s something to be said for sprint racing, each section over quickly even though it hurts a lot! It’s a very different race focus for Olympic distance racing.
|the run course… erm… yes, quite!|
The run course was 2 laps of 5k. When i walked it the day before, it seemed easy to segment it into bits, the meadow, the college lap, the park lap. We didn’t walk it all so some parts came as a not so pleasant surprise! I was very conscious of the fact that by the time I hit the run I was working way over the usual time my race takes. I had no idea how this part would go. My main aim was to hold the new run posture I had been working on, and that was the sole focus.
The meadow – flat and gravel paths, not a problem.
The college – a flight of steps and a wickedly steep hill! The only consolation – a water station at the top!!
The clever race organisers had timing mats positioned half way round each of the three sections – to make sure no one took any short cuts! Then all that all over again! Inclines felt like mountains the second time round! I had to work hard to concentrate on posture. I didn’t manage it consistently all the time but for sure it was better than usual by far.
I discovered that: