World Championship Qualifier Triathlon 5th June 2011
Swim: 1500m, 23min 01sec
T1: 0min 41sec
Bike: 59min 12sec
T2: 0min 34sec
Run: 34min 56sec
Overall: 1hr 58min 28sec
Position: 1stin age group, 1stoverall
This was the first race of the year which I have eased off on the training in the lead up. I had an easy seven days taper to the event. Not sure if it was linked to this but I started feeling nervous much earlier than normal… by about Wednesday. Probably a mix of that plus possibility of qualifying for Beijing and also first standard distance race of the year. I kept telling myself I had done the training so I should be fine. As I prepared my kit on Saturday in bright hot sunshine and blustery wind, I was fearful of the weather, however I awoke to damp and overcast on race day. The race was a very civilised 11am start but annoyingly registration closed at 9am so another early start and then more hanging around getting more nervous before the start. I used the time to run through the transitions and I cycled the last mile of the bike course (note uselessness of the transition focus later!)
I was in the second swim wave at 11.05am and I started much harder at the start of the swim than normal. Not sure of my first 400m but felt knackered and settled back into a steadier rhythm. Wearing the Snugg wetsuit for the first time felt great, esp after practicing in the lido in one a bit too big, this felt much better, and much warmer. The lake had zero visibility and I was struggling to pick up any feet to follow but felt I was going ok. The rest of the swim was pretty uneventful other than I was mildly frustrated that for the middle 800m or so I seemed to keep drifting to the right. It felt like I was zig sagging, how much had I lost? Direction got better for the last 400m as I found someone to follow. Worried about the extra distance covered I was staggered and delighted to see 23min on my watch was I ran to T1. Fantastic a PB by circa 2mins.
Confident from my fastest T1 split at Crystal Palace I felt swift again even with the extra job of taking off the wetsuit. Hopping onto the pedals went well, great off I go….but then I looked down and saw my number belt neatly hanging on the front of my aero bars! The next minute must have been hilarious to watch as I made the bizarre choice to wrestle the belt over my helmet and climb into the belt like a T-shirt. Ah, large pointy helmet, problem, I had to stretch the belt over the back before it slapped me back just below the neck. Great I had got there, now need to catch up the lost time and I started pedalling hard. Annoyingly after about 5 mins I realised in the earlier commotion I had not done my shoe straps up tight enough and redid these. However I felt I was moving well and catching people. The course I felt suited me with a few hills (as I understood the run would be later). Usefully all competitors in my age group had a letter â€œHâ€ inked onto their legs so I sheepishly admit I spent a chunk of the race checking out men’s legs as I approached them! As the bike progressed the H’s dried up and I later discovered I passed the last one with about 5km to go. The organisers helpfully put kilometre markers for the last 10km and the time went swiftly as I kept recalculating the maths to check I could break the one hour. A bike PB by about 3-4 minutes.
I finished the bike feeling strong and ready for the run, into T2, oops racked my bike the wrong way and saw my shoes were on the other side of the racking bar, bit of limbo dancing then out onto the run. Great, didn’t feel ill like a couple of weeks ago, the extra hour since breakfast seemed to do the trick. I was feeling good and genuinely excited as I ran â€“ I worked out a 37min would give me a sub 2hr, no not possible surely…. Realistically it was a hilly run I, I thought even if it does not happen, race wise the hills I was happy with. Due to the out and back of a Y shaped course, I spotted the leaders of the earlier wave at 5km coming the other way, 17mins, great I was going well. I saw the leaders again at 8km and I thought I was catching them. The last km was downhill and I pushed hard to the finish, brilliant feeling! A run PB in a triathlon by circa 30 seconds
In summary, first Olympic distance of the year, a PB by 9 minutes, qualification for the World Championships and a prize of a Giant mountain bike1. I couldn’t believe it, I had won the whole race including the youngsters and by a whole minute…With my bag of sweets it was a happy drive home.
Next up is WindsorTriathlon next Sunday…..though I am going to train hard this week and treat it was a training race (day off Monday though!).