Season 2 in Triathlon and a few new challenges

After my first season in triathlon and realising that by the end of the last race of the season that I actually was starting to enjoy the multi sport stuff, it was time to pan season 2, which for me is a season of improving and trying a few different race formats and distances to find my direction.
With that in mind I did a couple of duathlon which I really enjoyed…..very tough though and so easy to overlook that first run.
I revisited a couple of running races from the previous season with an age group second place at a 10k race and my 5k time had been steadily falling over the winter season due in part to the Saturday morning run sessions organised by Absolute.
My season started in earnest with a 10 day training camp with Absolute Tri in Mallorca, which was an game changer in relation to my cycling with distances and climbs completed that I would have dreamed of attempting before. This has given me a confidence boost and changed the way I cycle.
After returning from Majorca I took a fair few seconds off my 5k PB, bringing me well under 23 minutes for the first time.
So a big tick for the bike and a big tick for the run….what about the other bit?
After saying that I had no desire to ever go OWS I went and won a wetsuit..just my luck! With no more excuses for not trying the open water swimming, I took the plunge (😀) on Boxing Day and have been slowly getting my head round the swimming with monsters in open water. I am a more confident swimmer for it and the recent changes to my swimming patterns are seeing some big forward steps being taken with my swim. With the “joined up coaching” approach of having both David and Jimmy hitting the same focus points on the swim coaching really working for me and a discussion on my swimming “prowess” with Steve, I might yet start to relax and enjoy the swim leg.
This weekend saw a number of athletes from absolute tri scatter far and wide throughout the country for racing this weekend in the incredible heat, I stuck closer to home with Woodhall sprint.

Having heard that Mike McCabe had put 8:00 down for his swim, I was feeling brace when I also put down 08:00 and not the usual 11:00. When the reach times came through, we couldn’t have planned it better, with Mike and I taking up the middle two lanes of the pool on the same wave.
It was much calmer and less busy swimming with the 8 minute guys and even though I struggled a bit (the pool is well known for being choppy, due to the high sides and rope separating the lanes, I didn’t do horrendously badly with an 11:20 and 561 out of 724
T1 was over in a blur (1:12) and I was off on the bike hunting down Mike. I don’t know why I always expect the bike to be easy….it never is. I managed an average speed PB at 29.3kmh and made up 229 places on the flattish course in the 34 degree heat, overtaking everyone from my start wave.

With a 49 second T2 and a good dismount I was back out on the course for a tough 5k. Soon finding my rhythm, but not much speed I headed out onto the course and was surprised to see a lot of people run walking, but then again it was quite hot. Halfway round and started to chip away at the people in front. At the halfway point I had my favourite experience in triathlon ever….3 families were out on the road with hosepipes and were showering down the runners as they came past, the water was very cold, but oh so good….my pacing was flat at 5:00/k. But the heat was taking its toll and I was finding it hard to push till I got on the main road and realised that I had a km to go, so zipped up my tri suit and smartened my stride up and picked the pace up pushing hard coming over the line in 23:52 having made up another 58 places to finish 274 out of 725, well inside my goal of a halfway finish with an overall time of 1:26:22 taking 8 minutes of my first attempt last year .

Yes I would have liked to have been closer to 1:20:00, but that is something to work to next year. To achieve that I need to address my work life balance, as working a 12 hour day before a race is never going to get me the times that I am looking for.

Up next a journey into the unknown with a jump in distance to my first Olympic distance!

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