Week 18 – Wilmslow Triathlon
Week 18 Totals:
Totals So Far:
Well it is certainly nice to be back racing! It’s the reason why I do this, and nothing can match the thrill of waiting to be set loose on a course, but I shall come to the race later. As a week, it certainly wasn’t the best week for training. I was still mentally exhausted, and have been fighting a bit of an illness all week, which has annoyingly involved waking up a lot in the middle of the night drenched due to night sweats. Thankfully however, this seems to be clearing up. To top it all off, I someone managed to go out nearly every night this week (including the night before!) and have my shin splints return.
I started off the week with my usual 3k swim, with a 200-300-400-500 cycle as my main set, but felt terrible throughout the entire thing. My goggles (which were my new back up pair I was testing) were leaking, my arms felt dead and I never found a good rhythm. Being race week, I did no weights sessions, but it also meant I didn’t do my usual long stretch after each session. Added on top of this with going out a lot, my recovery really took a hit this week. I wasn’t eating properly, I was sleeping enough, and I wasn’t resting enough. And it showed. I began to get really exhausted, and then on Friday, my shin splints returned because my calfs were too tired and tight. It was utter agony and left me fearing the worst for Sunday. All the sessions I had that week hadn’t felt good, and the best session I had was the 2 hours I did on the bike on Sunday, having just got home from the race! However, on saturday I had a good hour of really easy riding on the bike, just going to watch the Two Cities Boat Race (which Manchester won!), barely getting my heart rate into Z1. I had a good sleep on friday night, and then despite having the end of year rowing ball on saturday night and getting into bed at about half 3, woke on Sunday morning (well got up, I was awake pretty much half an hour as always happens the night before a race) and it was time to race.
I had a quite big breakfast of white jam rolls (I never have white bread any more, but I didn’t want any slow release carbs 2 hours before a race!) and packed the car. Arriving, I set up everything in transition just as I had visualised the night before. Again, my preperation was poor so I didn’t have time for a warm up ride, but jog round the transition area to mentally prepare myself and see how my shins were, they seemed ok. Then it was time to go to the start. I had my SiS smart gel to give myself a bit of a boost before going into the pool. After the briefing, we were allowed a couple of lengths warm up and then it was time to go. I set off quickly, and soon caught the person who was off 10s ahead of me. Passing him I began to settle into a high rhythm and it felt good. It didn’t feel fast but felt sustainable for around my 1.9k pace. I was out of the pool in roughly the middle of the pack, and I nearly did a double take seeing 6:25 on my watch! I certainly wasn’t expecting that! I ran into transition, and after fumbling about with my race belt, was soon out, and pleased with a quick transition after lots of practising leading up to it. On to the bike, I sat behind a few people while I got my feet in my shoes, had a quick drink, and then began to put the hammer down. Looking at my bike computer, I soon noticed my cadence wasn’t working, great! I must have knocked it when I was cleaning it the night before, more bad preperation! However, I had speed and distance, and within the first couple of k I had caught everyone in my wave and was holding about 38kph for the flats. I had a guy overtake me on a downhill, but I soon caught him on the flat, and then as we hit the first short climb I dropped him and never saw him again. So, with the previous pack 10 minutes ahead, it looked like it was to be a lonely bike ride. I just concentrated on keeping a good rhythm and kept checking round to keep pushing myself to make sure no one caught me. My heart rate was staying high, and with no cadence I only had speed to gearing to see how I was doing. I had to rely on feel and it was probably good training. Despite my HR being high, I knew I could keep at it, so I pushed a big gear and continued to fly down the course. I average 35kph for the entire ride, including the long transition runs so am very happy with that! I was first off the bike in my wave, and had another quick transition to lead out of T2, when I finally saw the others start to come in. However, it was the run that I was let down on. I managed to settle into a good pace, but couldn’t push it as I could feel my shins start to tighten up, and I was just hoping that I could finish without them crippling me. Within about 2k I had been caught and now it was just a case of hanging on to whatever time I had built upto on the bike. My run pace was good, but more what I will be running for my IM, rather than 7k. After about 20 mins my shins started to loosen up, so I began to pick up the pace a bit, until I knew I was near the finish where I gave it everything. Unfortunately, due to more bad preperation, I thought the finish was about 500m later than I thought, so didn’t get to push it as hard as I could, but my run time was 27:15 for the 6.7k including T2 so not too unhappy! I finished in a total time of 1:16:02, which put me 4th in my age group and 27th overall with the 18th fastest bike split! Makes me wonder how quick I could have gone if my Zipps had arrived on time! All in all, I was very pleased with the result. With the nice wheels and better shins, I might have been able to take a few minutes off, and only 3 and a half minutes would have put me in the top 10, but it was a good practice race. Now I have a week off all aerobic work to recover from the race, (which is good because even with my post race massage, my legs were dead on the climbs on my evening ride!) and then a 2 week build up to my half Ironman before I taper down in week 21 for that! Bring it on!