We had a really great weekend at 70.3 IM Staffs. Weather could have been better but I don’t think it impacted me to any great extent but would have been better for friends and family. On the whole though a really great event – in some ways slicker than other events I’ve done, certainly more “pizzazz” and excitement around the whole experience, and very well supported in terms of spectators (despite the weather) which made a massive difference on the run.
Swim was fine/comfortable but I did do this distance a couple of minutes faster in 2014 at HP Lake but I was very happy with how it went on Sunday. Very pleased with bike ride – again did this distance around 15 minutes faster in 2015 but weather was much better then and also Sunday was a very rolling course and compared to my first experience with it, I am very pleased with the result. Looking at splits, avg speed looks to reduce by around 4 Km/h in the final 20k but that was when the course was at its most undulating. Avg speed for fist 70k was though 30km/h (18.7mph) which again is pretty good considering rolling nature. Run was the best I’ve had in a 70.3 – 5 mins faster than I’ve done before. Was pretty strong for the first lap of 5 miles or so but it got harder after that. Walked the feed stations as usual and several times outside of those, particularly on the hill out of one village which was a challenge. Always got back running relatively easily though and when I was running I was doing a good pace.
Overall I was very happy throughout. I did have a lowish point (cold & wet) halfway through the bike but I came out of that quickly and around 40 miles knew that the remainder wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Was happy all the way around the run as I started well and it always felt manageable thereafter. Nutrition and hydration went well and to plan – at no point did I feel as though I ran out of energy. Whilst not my fastest, probably my best in terms of comfort, enjoyment and personal satisfaction.
Would I do the event again? Not personally no, as like my 2014 Outlaw Half I’m very happy with outcome and wouldn’t want to chase a better result. Would I recommend that others did it then certainly yes. A great course and the pizzazz around the brand is very motivating. It has its downsides – the preparatory logistics in the run up to race day are challenging (speak to Nathan) and I certainly made the right decision in splitting that over Friday and Saturday and so as a result Nic and I had a relatively easy/restful Saturday. I also made the right decision in biking the course beforehand as that definitely helped me on the day. My only complaint about the event is the post race logistics of getting food/drink, race t-shirt, and dry clothes bag which was very slow purely down to lack of staff on the ground but hearing what happened at Leeds at the weekend it pales in to insignificance.
I purposefully didn’t set myself any goals for Sunday other than finishing but if asked, would have admitted to secretly wanting to crack 2 hours for the run which I’ve never done before in a Triathlon, and also getting under 6 hours (which I honestly thought was unlikely due to challenging bike). On the basis I achieved both of these, and with a smile, I don’t think I could ask for any more.