I had a race plan that had been agreed with Julie It was simple race plan; steady first loop in the swim and then a harder second loop. No panic attack ….. nice and simple, about 42 mins (hoping for 38). Perfect T1 then on to a steady bike governed by HR. Stay at 143 apart from on the hills where I would max out at 158 – there are only four hills per loop, eight hills in total. Plan was for a 2:55 bike… hoping for a 2:50. Perfect T2, followed by a steady run, again governed by HR – max 148 for the run, without any walking, running through each feed station. Hoping for a 2:15. That was the plan…… nutrition was all worked out (a gel every 20min on the bike, with one bottle of water with four gels in it and two bottles of water consumed on the bike – one water, high five and gel at every feed station on the run).
Woke at 04:15 after a decent nights sleep. Breakfast at 04:30 was an overnight porridge mix with honey and dried fruit. Having already racked my bike the night before I changed into tri suit and went took all my nutrition and bits down to transition. Tyres pumped up, transition sorted (just helmet, number belt, bike shoes, bike top and trainers in transition) I went back to the car and relaxed, before getting my wetsuit on about 06:15 and walking down to the start for my 06:45 wave. I drank half a bottle of water and had one gel about 30 mins before the start.
One of the first in the water I swam away from the start a couple of times to get used to it. As soon as the hooter went, I started with a steady front crawl, over to the left. Sighting was difficult and I decided to follow the feet in front of me. I felt the normal, inevitable panic attack start to come on…. Its an adrenaline thing. I wanted to stop a couple of times but just swam through it. I felt the adrenaline flush through my body from my head all the way down through my feet. Weird feeling but happy and pleased I managed to swim on. Sighting continued to be a problem for the second loop and although I was unhappy with my time of 42:34 min I later found out that I had swum nearly 200m extra.. which actually puts me back at my target pace of 2min per 100 metres.
T1 was exactly as planned… perfect and steady, no problems at all. My Garmin time shows a longer T1 than it actually was – it was 02:15 as per the race results.
I had planned to hit 143 on the bike and maintain that as a HR apart from the hills… but I felt really strong on the bike and was comfortable operating at a higher heart rate. Mt average was 147 with a peak of 162… maybe it was because it was a race? Maybe it was because my body can sustain a higher heart rate that I have been training at? I thinks it’s the latter as my recovery has been good. The first loop was great, with the hills proving to be easy and the flats and down hills being very fast. I got caught up in traffic a few times and this held me up. The second loop was pretty much the same.. a bit slower because of more traffic. Nutrition worked like a dream. I ate and drank to plan. A gel every 20 mins, two bottles of water and one high five water mix. My time was 2:46….. very happy and I believe I could have gone five mins quicker had I wanted to hurt myself a bit more. I also think that on the right bike (TT not Road) I could go sub 2:30 on the Vit course.
T2 was exactly as planned.
Determined not to walk at all on the run my plan was to go off steady and to have a negative split. I felt so good coming off the bike that I set off a bit too fast, with a 28 min first 5K (!). My HR was way over the 148 that I had planned but again, I felt really good and was working on RPE. A with the bike, I think I can operate at a higher HR. The first out and back (10.5K) was quick for me and I did feel that I could have gone faster but held back. The second out loop was very hard. Mentally it’s the toughest loop as you know that you are running away from the finish line. I was having a drink of high five and water at every feed station and had run through each one so far. I stopped at the first feed station on the second out loop to use the loo. It was hard to then get back into running but I managed it. I then ran all the way to the final turn point where I walked through the feed station, collected myself and headed for home. Twice on the run people tried to run with me… I really don’t like it! They wanted to chat and I didn’t.. all I wanted to do was get my head down and keep running. The last 5K was great and I picked the pace up to finish with a 2:13. I could have kept running.
Official Timings from Pacesetter Events
Swim – 42:43 (includes the run into T1)
T1 – 2:15
Bike – 2:45:40
T2 – 2:09
Run – 2:13:15
Overall – 5:46:02
My previous time from 2013 for the same course was 7:28… bit of an improvement!!!
What did I learn?
- Relaxation is key to swim success
- Sighting is an issue – need to fix
- There is the potential to operate at a higher HR on both the bike and the run
- Don’t go out so fast off the bike. Although you feel good hold it back a little
- I have a sub 5:30 in me if I can improve my run!!!!