Hello triathlon buddies, Sunday was my last triathlon of the season ! While many were battling it out at IM 70.3 Lanzarote or Challenge Barcelona this weekend, I headed to Bedford, UK for a fun but competitive race. It was organized by Galeforce events and was the final race in a 3 race series http://www.galeforce-events.com/triathlon-events/bedford-sprint-triathlon-series/. Kudos to them for a well organised event that also included Junior Aquathon races.
Now in terms of my overall training plan, this wasn’t included. You know how I mentioned about having key races to show progress in my last blog ? Yeah well I’m not perfect and when a group of friends sign up for something, hey what the heck ! I had moved some things around during the week and completed a long run and medium ride, so didn’t feel quite as guilty.
Over the last couple of months the races I have done have meant a very acceptable early morning alarm call – but when mine went off at 4.45am (yes I had forgotten there are two 4.45’s in a day !) it was a nasty shock. It was cold and dark outside, my bed was warm and cosy, what was I thinking ? There was a second, just a second when I had that thought ‘just stay here’ but off I went, helped in the knowledge that the swim was not in a cold lake, rather a heated swimming pool 🙂
The race was a sprint distance : 400m pool swim, 24km bike, 5km run and I hadn’t really thought about a goal but knew something around 1.35 – 1.40 would make sense with my training and recent races.
The journey and transition set up was uneventful and soon the race-day butterflies had arrived in my tummy : it was time to go ! I took my gel and headed to the swim start – 12 lengths (6 laps) of a 25m pool, starting in order of your predicted time. Swimming pools are always full of noise and have an echo, right ? You could hear this constant nervous chatter as it seemed like a lot of new-comers had chosen this as their first race. As well as the nervous chatter, there was a lot of hot air……….. wow it was warm in there, compared to the chilly air outside.
Honestly I was disappointed with my swim. It felt like swimming through treacle, although I held my space and achieved roughly my estimated time. Of course at the time it was the fault of everything else except me : the drag of my ‘tri-suit’, it was a ‘slow’ pool, the woman who decided to swim sideways into me from the next lane, but my technique left a lot to be desired and feedback confirmed what I knew – time to get back in the pool and work on those arms ! I have become a ‘one speed’ swimmer and need to crack on with some fast 100s to give some pace options………… a ‘swim-tervention’ has been called for !!
I went into transition and immediately put on a cycling jersey – a few extra minutes in T1 would keep the cold at bay for the next 60 mins or so. Taking my new road bike out of transition, I heard a voice say ‘ride like the wind’ and turned to confirm that was my intention 🙂
The bike course was 24km on some good roads with only a couple of hills and tight turns. The main goal for me was to feel the difference with a carbon fibre frame and proper bike fit as well as seeing what this would do to my mph and legs for the run. After the treacle of the swim, the ride was such fun – catching some those that had swum earlier and having competitive tussles with a couple of guys. I always learn something when riding and this was no exception – firstly I can be braver on a downhill (previous feedback has been that I descend like a girl !!), secondly being softer on your pedal strokes keeps your legs fresher and cornering is even easier when you have handlebars that are fitted to your frame (that’s the topic of a blog to come !!). My average speed was 16.5mph, 1.5 mph quicker than a normal ride, so first mission was achieved – I guess I would soon find out if the second was achieved !
The ‘bike in’ and dis-mount line was a big topic at the race briefing as this has caused a ‘few mishaps’ over the years – its a different exit on the roundabout to the ‘bike out’. I had been told some of the ‘mishap’ stories so was determined to follow the signs and listen to the marshalls ! T2 was uneventful and although I couldn’t feel my frozen feet, was quickly in my running shoes and on the course.
The course was pretty flat and 2.5 loops of a park, and with the sunshine and supporters it was a fun 5km. Over the last month or so I have started to understand how to get my legs moving after the bike : short quick strides, almost on my toes and then settling into a good stride and pace, once areas of my body have come back to life ! Really happy with my run at 26.18, as it was quicker than some of my previous 5km races, and only one minute slower than my current PB……….. rumour was that it was a slightly shorter 5km than normal, but shhhh, I’m not telling !
Total time : 1.35.35. Within target, missions accomplished and 8th in my age group. Smiles all round 🙂 🙂
Sat basking in the Sunday afternoon sunshine, I started to reflect on the last year. On this day in 2012 I had achieved a podium place in a sprint race in the Athena division (USAT have a few ‘weight’ divisions, as well as age groups for us slightly heavier age group girls. Personally I like to think of it as big-boned !). Much has changed in my life in so many ways, but in my ‘triathlon’ life its all been for the better with more confidence in the 3 disciplines, but one thing hasn’t changed – I am still addicted to this crazy sport and long may that continue.
Many more adventures to come but time to sign off today. Watch this space for my next blog on Race day photos : love ’em or hate ’em, buy ’em or delete the email, they tell us a lot !!
Catherine, Age Group girl