So triathlon number two done and dusted on the road to Ironman 2011 - slightly longer than my previous one and I much preferred it!
It wasn't as busy as I had expected (about 90 competitors odd I think) but it was a good standard with lots of hugely expensive carbon kit on show!
Thankfully this was a proper 25m pool unlike the crappy 14m dirty thing at the last tri! It was lovely to swim in, perfectly clear, temp was fine for 400m, although it was deeper than I expected - 3.5m at the deep end - which was cool! Only problem was you had to exit from the deep end, wouldnt be a problem except the pool side was raised about 12 inches - so with no push off the floor you had to drag yourself most ungracefully up over the side! No worries but think some will have struggled! I managed to come first in my wave - I felt really strong and was well out in front and enjoying it - my technique was good and I was pretty much the only one tumble turning apparently - shame it all only lasted 6mins 30 seconds! On the 12 length of 16 my left goggle filled with water which was a pain but I left it and just carried on for the remaining 100m! This was good for 12th place in the overall swim - some people managed a minute quicker than me - which is incredibly fast! I can't imagine where I could save that much time over 400m - maybe I will find out one day!
Target of winning my wave - Acheived!
I'm so crap at transistion - its almost funny - I had a lead of at least 10-15 seconds coming out the pool but that was reversed coming out of transistion - I sat down, put on my socks and shoes, whacked on my helmet, glasses and then fumbled with my belt - eventually got out level with the third guy out the swim! Compared to the guy in 2nd, who had his shoes on his bike and just disappeared! I should practice them but I'll have plenty of time during Forestman so I am not that bothered!
Out on the bike and I dropped back a bit from the guy I was with out of T1 to avoid drafting, out and across the road and I was on the stretch to Bulford Camp - all the info pre-race and said it could be anywhere from 13-16 miles - not a big deal but would have been nice to know!
The roads were smooth and wide and the weather was perfect - I steadied myself behind the guy in front (about 10 metres behind) and tried to drop my HR, however with this was a hilly route - constantly up and down - mostly on tri bars which was fine but there was never enough flat to get the HR settled! Anyway I caught and overtook the guy in front and then he took me back a mile or so later just as the drafting-checker went by the split second he pulled in front of me - I was worried they may think I was drafting but nothing heard as yet...........
We traded places with each other and caught up the other guy and the three of us made it to the far end of the course - at this point two of the others from our wave went past all three of us!
Continuing trading places I decided I couldn't make the passes stick so I settled in behind the rest and decided to try and maintain a solid pace and even have a sip or two of water to T2 - I was pretty pleased with my 21mph average (garmin shows 20.5 as it includes transistion) though I realised there are some fast guys out there...pleased me and the Bianchi could mix it with Cervelo's and Quintana Roo's of this world! Perhaps I could have pushed a bit harder and caught up with the faster boys but the splits only show 30 seconds to a minute faster overall so perhaps I did okay!
One thing I must learn is not too talk to my fellow competitors as I go past....must focus on racing!
Garmin - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/41717868
Target of maintaining at least a 20 mph average - acheived! 20th fastest split
This was odd, I came in to T2 and the guy who had zoomed out of T1 was sat there doing his shoelaces up - why would you go to the lengths of sorting your T1 and attaching your shoes to your bike etc and then not buy elastic laces??
Anyway I hooked up the bike, whipped off the shoes & helmet, slid on my trainers and then stood there for about 2-3 seconds wondering what I was missing - it seemed so quick - soon pulled myself together and scooted out of transistion - 3rd in my wave! I know individual waves aren't relevant overall but to me its the only way to gauge how I am doing at any given time!
Now with my knee problems the furthest I have run in nearly three months is 4 miles last week so I had no idea what to expect! I ran the first quarter mile really quite fast at about 6 minutes a mile - partly because I had the other guy in my wave right behind me - this shook him off and I overtook someone else then slowed myself down! One thing that was noticeable was that my legs felt pretty good coming straight off the bike - I have done very little brick training so I was surprised - whether it was because the last mile of the bike was downhill or the fast early part of the run shook them in to life I don't know but it was a good feeling!
Early on, the run took a sharp left turn up a long hill, I settled in to a steady rhythm and tried to slow myself down! I overtook someone on top of the hill from an earlier wave and at the same time was overtaken by a lady from an earlier wave! I also tucked in to a GU gel that I was kindly given by Chris (@chrismrussell on twitter) - wasn't sure if I would need it but I am glad I did - the mint chocolaty boost was great and made me feel good, regardless of whether I needed the calories or not!
The next section was downhill and then flat so I settled in to a good rhythm here - eventually catching someone else and passing them - a water station about 2.5 miles in was nice to refresh with and then there was a loooooooooong up hill on gravel whic gave the legs a bit of a burn - I was quite surprised at my pace (about 8 min/mile) at this point as I was expecting to be a lot slower with my lack of running! My knee was niggling slightly up the hill but it wasn't bad so I forgot about it and pushed on!
Down the otherside of the hill and into the finish I had no-one behind me and couldn't see the lady in front so I pushed it for the last 800 or so metres to the finish! I averaged 7.54 min/miles which I am happy with - I am capable of much quicker so am just content to have managed that!
Garmin - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/41717876
Target - to complete the run in one piece - Acheived! 40th fastest split
So I finished in 1.23.56 and 26th place - good for 4th in my age group! I had hoped for top 25 so I can't complain, I know that I could knock off an easy 3-4 minutes on the run which would have given me a great result!
Sprints are fun but they are expensive at £35 for 1.5 hours! So I'd like to do more but its not going to happen - need to decide what to do next - my heart is set on One Last Tri (HIM) - but it all depends on how my running progresses over the next month! I would be near the bottom of those finishers but it would be an amazing experience in the build up to next year, regardless of the finish!
Oh well best get some more training in!!