It’s been a while! All thoughts of having lots of free time during freshers week to write some blog posts, put my training plan together (finally!) never seemed to happen… so it is going to be a busy couple of weeks!
Anyhoo, Fleetwood Triathlon. Although I registered the day before and had everything packed and layed out before I went to bed, my preperation was not exactly what you would call good… A wek of going out, not sleeping much, eating junk food, drinking far too much, 2 training sessions and travelling all took their toll, and I spent the night before waking up every half hour having to have a drink as I had a thumping headache and a throat like sandpaper. When I finally did get up I wasn’t feeling too bad, legs were a little tired but felt ok. I was marshalling pool-side for the first hour before and then set up all my kit, but stupidly ran out of time for a warm up, and also a reluctance to walk out the main exits of transition in case I set my timing chip off! How much difference it would have made, I’m not sure, as we were stood around at the start for 20 minutes waiting to go off. I still think a short easy ride on my bike would have loosened my legs up, so next time this is something I will definitely have to do.
With so many people at different times in the swim, the wave implementation collapsed, and to be honest I think the way they did it was a lot better, otherwise there would have been a much longer wait. Basically we lined up, sort of in our waves and then every time a lane was empty, 3 of us would be taken to the lane and set off with 10 seconds gap. I however, somehow ended up in the next wave, so when trying to decide on our order of setting off, discovering the other 2 had a 6 min time and a 6.20, there was me with my 6.40! But we set off, and I felt pretty good. I think my 2 piece was certainly dragging me down, its not designed for a pool swim, its supposed to be worn underneath a wetsuit, and having to pause for 10s to let the first guy overtake, this would have slowed me down a bit but nothing majorly. I did discover that I was keeping up fine with the 6 min swimmer who had just overtaken me until we hit the turns. He tumbled turned, I did my basic turn and when I had pushed off again, he was gone. I need to sort my tumble turns out! I exited the swim at about 6.40, so bang on my estimated time, but I reckon without the pause, my old tri-suit and pushing a bit harder I could have gone under 6.20.
T1 was a bit slow as I struggled to get my helmet on, fiddling about with the straps, and decided to run up the hill after the mount line, though this was better than falling over as I tried to push off. I set off on the bike, and as soon as I allowed my HR to settle, we hit the turn. After the turn my legs were cooked! They felt sluggish and I was struggling to keep it above 30kph. I soon discovered this was due to a slightly ridiculous wind that seemed to be Kona-like in that at the turn around when you came back, you still seemed to have it. But in the opposite direction I was holding 43kph with the wind, so it wasn’t too bad. I still would have preferred no wind and a constant pace. I was being overtaken a few times, but everyone was in full aero get up, with aero helmets, tt bikes and disc wheels. In the end, my bike was just under 34 minutes. Not bad, though I know I can do 32 mins, and probably closer to 30 on race day without wind, illness and a hangover! However, looking at the results, only 1 person broke half an hour, and I wasn’t far off the majority of the people ahead of me, with a bike split of 17th overall.
T2 was a bit better than T1, though I still need to practise dismounting while on the move, it will save me valuable seconds. Once out on the run, I pushed hard, knowing from my testing (which I still need to write about!) that this is the best method for me. My HR was fairly high (I was averaging 179 throughout) and I carried on pushing. Once I had some feeling back in my legs, I concentrated on keeping a good posture and a quick cadence. My cadence was quick, but I wasn’t going far with each stride. Something to work on over the winter. Though I had only done 1 run in the week and a half before the race. I came in with a run time of 20:39, which to be honest I was surprised about. This put me mid 30s for my run split, which all things considering isnt too bad! Though I really need to be going around 19 mins for a solid performance. I crossed the finishing line with a time of 1:03:22, which looking at it now is agonisingly close to the hour, which I had not expected before! This was only 8 minutes off the winner, who I am sure was very quick. As it was, I was 15th overall, and 6th in the category of adult males! This was a surprise and I am very pleased with this. I know I couldnt have gone much quicker, and certainly not below the hour. I am never going to be right up there concentrating on Ironman distance races, but I should certainly being going under the hour and this would have put me top 10 overall. Thats a goal for next season then!
All in all though, a thoroughbly enjoyable race! And depending on logistics next year I would like to go back and break the hour!