I can hear you all shouting: "Keep it brief! Keep it brief!"
Yes, yes - alright already ;o)
Woke up Sunday morning strangely and unexpectedly really nervous! Texted Leanne (training bud) who was doing the race but starting earlier then me... it was ok I wasn't alone - she was nervous too... she questioned why do we do this to ourselves??!! A good question at 7am on a sunday morning!! Luckily the weather forecast was good, a bright morning but not too hot and not too windy. Excellent!
Anyhow, had some muesli, banana, water and packed my kit bag. Strange not putting the wetsuit in it! Kept on thinking it was too light!
Finally dragged my arse into my car about 8am (slightly later then I anticipated!) and set off for the short 30min journey to Newbury. Thankfully I have reccied out the location and bike route the day before - the map which was in the application form was not terribly helpful!! Still having been there the day before I got there straight off! Phew! Parked up, unloaded and had a brief hug, natter and good luck to Leanne who was 20mins away from starting and wanting to join the swim queue. I did the whole registration thing, even got marked up (first time this season!) and went to transition. Now this is the only real complaint I have about the whole event. Transition was too small (not enough width between bike racks) and the racks themselves were too low. My bike didn't slide underneath, both my handle bars and seat were slightly too high! So the only way to go in and out was to go in at an angle - not ideal - but not as bad as the guy racking two to my right who was so tall that his bike, although it went under, couldn't hang off anything as both his bars and seat were higher then the rack height!! DOH! I think he had to go to the end of the rack and lean his bike! Still I unpacked my kit, grabbed my camera and headed to the swim to get some piccies of Leanne... well that's what I intended until I realised my camera batteries were flat!!
Still I yelled some encouragement and after she exited the swim got changed into my trisuit, got more nervous and finally headed to the swim queue myself!
So an old (old) outdoor swimming pool 75 yards in length, one lap one side of the rope before passing under and another lap the other. Two people were starting every 30s, which led to a slightly choppy event! As usual I got chatting to people in the queue and found my starting partner. We'd both put in an ambitious 6min swim time, he reckoned he could do this if the adrenaline kicked in, so I told him I'd take a tow!! A bit cheeky I know! I wasn't sure how I was going to swim, I generally always hate my 400m warm-up when I do a swim session and I wasn't sure what I'd think of the 75yd pool.
Well we got in and got our 10s warning and we were off! We swam together for about the first 5 strokes, then I found myself edging ahead and then within 20 odd strokes I was ahead and feeling good. Loved the length of the pool - allowed me to get into a really good rhythm and I was at the end of the first length before I knew it. As I turned I saw ahead of me a girl who had started in the set before me (she had missed her start time so would have been slower), and midway down the length I caught her and sailed right on past. Finished the second length and duck dived under the rope. At this point I was still feeling pretty good but worried that I was about to blow up! Still got flapping down the next length back into a nice rhythm and before I knew it I was on the final turn for home. Another good lap and I was jubilant to see a water exit time of 06:05 - YIPPEEE! The split is more like 06:24 I think but that includes time out of pool and run toward transition where the timing mat was.
Very happy with the swim! To put this into context when I did a 300m time trial (training test) back in April my average for 300m was 06:54! So I've cut my time since April by nearly 50s - oh sweet joy!
To be honest this could have gone smoother, but what with the narrow lanes between racks and rack height problem I guess I'll just have to accept it. To hinder further there were guys either side of my bike getting themselves through T1 and I missed my spot (a first!). At least the transition length was really short! Not sure of my split but it'll be disappointing I think, although having said that I did get in and out whilst those two guys either side of me were phaffing about! So I'll have to wait for the times. Actually they may be posted by now so let me check.... Oh ok so it was better then I thought: 01:15!! I'll take that! Oh and swim split update 0:06:18 :o)
Well I didn't feel great on the bike. It started off straight out of transition and into a small but cheeky climb. How rude is that! Luckily I was already in my small ring at the front and before long I was in my smallest gear and out of the saddle! The course itself is undulating through some lovely countryside (if you get the chance to to take a quick look). Managed to avoid the stones on the roads and the odd pot hole so no flat drama's of the previous day! I don't think I did too well on the uphills, this has always been a weakness and something to work on during the winter. However I do think I got all the gear changing about right, got out of the saddle and powered up when I needed to and stayed in the saddle for the longer inclines. I must confess the bit I did enjoy was the final third which was mainly down hill and a great opportunity to get down on my aerobars and peddle like a lunatic! Brilliant fun! Only had two minor delays at roundabouts when cars decided to turn which I had to give way to - how inconsiderate! ;o) In summary I found the bike harder then usual but that would be down to the inclines!
Bike split, 22k: 0:46:34
F-A-S-T... although did leave my rack for 2 steps before I realised I hadn't grabbed my epipen from my bike.. went the 2 paces back and legged it!! T2 split: 0:00:56! Yep 56seconds... wheeez!
Started off feeling pretty darn good! Then I worked out this feeling of euphoria was probably down to my caffeine gel I had had about 15mins before on the bike!!! Passed a lady suffering from cramp and had my sights set on this guy who had come past me during one of the bike climbs - I could see him there in the distance and he looked like he was going slower then me - it's good to have a target! Caught him before the half way mark! Then the fast boys started coming past me. That was actually quite good really because it spurred me on a bit. The first part third of the run was a little country path, middle section was running alongisde the A34 - a really busy dual carriageway (not terribly inspiring!) and the final section down alongside the Kennet Canal, which was lovely! It was on the turn off the roadside onto the canal that I asked the marshall if we were half way - to which he said there was only 1.5k left. It was then that I realised that, unless I had supersonic jets in my trainers that the run was going to be well short of the 5k advertised. Still I wasn't really complaining. This was the first point during the race that I considered my end time - decided that sub 1hr 20 was doable, said hello to some people in a barge waiting at a lock and headed for home! 3mins later I got the worse stitch ever! Similar to Friday night but a lot worse! Grrrr! Determined not to stop I just tried blowing it out.... struggled for sometime until I saw a bridge up ahead and the sports centre just beyond! Yippee the end was in sight! The whole up and over a foot bridge right at the end was a bit rude though! Got a big yell from Leanne as I came down from the bridge and off I went for a lap of the sports field and the finish!
Run, not 5k but more like 4.2k: 0:23:14
Total Time: 01:18:20
15/44 in Female Open
Lots of smiles all around!
Leanne had an aim of doing the race sub 1hr 30 in 2008.. .well she was a year ahead of schedule and got in 1:28:45. The club did well too - with one of the guys winning the race in something silly like 57mins!!!
Will write some more about my tri thoughts in a later blog.... as for post race recovery Monday: No rest for the wicked, did a gym session last night: 20mins x-trainer for 4k and 30mins run/walk for 4.6k - no problems with the calf muscle either! Intended to go swimming yesterday morning or this morning but alas the duvet caught me both days and didn't let me get out of bed ;o)