The Beaver Triathlon
Right, first things first. 5 hours 15, 3rd in my age group, first ever half!
Overall, I’m really pleased with my result. The bike was 10k short, but word on the street from those with GPS is that the run was around 23k, so it evens out pretty well, especially with the massive run from the lake to T1.
In the swim, I put myself close to the front, but to one side and it worked out well. Once the horn went, I got sucked in the fights of the pack, and then things settled down. Annoyingly, I found myself without a pack to sit in, so ended up doing the first lap and the V swimming next to another guy, who seemed to just swim until he hit something/someone, and then point himself in the right direction and start swimming off on a tangent again! At the beginning of the swim, I felt stiff and tired, and I was swimming straight, but once I was settled in, I found a good rhythm, and my swimming felt a lot better. Dare I say it, I even felt like I was swimming well! Once onto the final lap, I turned the corner just as another wave was setting off, so ended up getting caught up in that. Thankfully once that had settled down, I found a nice pack to sit in. On the straight to the exit, I annoyingly found myself on the wrong side of the pack, so spent the next few hundred metres, trying to weave in and out so I could get to the exit! Once exiting, I looked at my watch and saw a good 32.30, so was pleased with that! Swimming is finally getting there, though I do need more OW practise.
The long run upto transition, gave me plenty of time to get my wetsuit down to my waist, and even allowed to take my watch off so I could get my wetsuit off my arm! All the way up to T1 I was umming and erring about what to wear on the bike, and in the end opted for just arm warmers. Should probably have gone for the jersey as I did get a bit cold. Anyway, onto the bike, and into the rain. On the bike, once we were over the hill out of transition, I was flying with the wind behind me and downhill. The legs felt great, and I had a guy over take me but kept him in sight, and ended up having to slow down to stay out of the draft. I thought about over taking him, but decided at least for the first lap, that it would be a good idea to keep me at a sustainable pace. As soon as we hit the hill, I managed to fly past him, and the rest of the tt bike with the compact on. Annoyingly, about 30k into the bike, my calves which had been cramping constantly in the swim, decided that my right hamstring was tight as well and I got the same pain behind my knee as my Ironman last year, when my tendon/hamstring decided to tear. However, it didn’t come on as bad, and as long as I didn’t push it too hard, I was find. Bad news, my bike split wasn’t going to be as good. Good news, I was forced to ride within my limits (especially helpful without a HR monitor). By the end of the ride, I felt great still, and reckon I could have easily held that pace again. Bodes well for the IM, and my 6 hours split aim. The only problem I had was my stomach, I wasn’t drinking enough, but managing to eat, I was just massively bloated! Looking at my splits, my swim and run were pretty much the same in terms of ranking, but my bike was massively down. So whilst my endurance is in pretty good shape, I need to do lots of speed work, I only got overtaken by 4 P4s! Really wish I could afford a tri bike…
Once off the bike, I had an average transition again, then had a quick toilet stop by some bushes, which involved taking fuel belt off, taking tri suit down, then doing it all back up again! May stick to the 2 piece for my IM. Anyway, quickly started running again, and I felt great! Then, the hills hit. They hurt! Going up those hills, and then back down, really knackered my legs, and my calves are ruined today! I kept up my drinking and gels, and just felt better and better, and this is where I made up for a lot of the time I lost on the bike, and what I’m most pleased with given the small amount of running I’ve done lately. I was also getting quicker and quicker each lap, and despite another toilet stop on lap 3, it was my quickest by 5 minutes. At the halfway point of the lap, I reckoned if I lopped 3/4 minutes off the 2 previous ones, I would be on for breaking 5hr15, so upped the pace again. Then the final hill was a massive drag up, but I pushed on, despite the slow pace. At the top, I turned around, and just opened up going full gas for the finish, coming in at 5hr15 and 5 seconds! Not annoyed, given main aim was to go sub 6, and its all for the big picture! Puts me in good stead for sub 12, and maybe sub 11. The swim I could easily have doubled, the bike I reckon I would have faded towards the end, but mostly been ok, and the run I felt fine and really comfortable on, ignoring my final wind up.
So all in all, a good race, and one I’m really pleased with! As I expected, my endurance is pretty good, and the 70 hours I’ve put in over the last 4 weeks have really paid off. I just need to do lots of speed work, and more of what I am doing to get used to racing for that long. Loving the half distance though, long enough to feel like a decent distance, but not too long to ruin me for a long time. Rest day today to recover, then it is back into training and I soon start my final build. 25 hour weeks here we come!