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I'll TRI my best in 2013
A blog about tri-ing hard and enjoying every minute.

Woodhall Spa Race Report

ClaireDby ClaireDJul 24th 2013
On 21st July I made a solo journey across to Lincolnshire to compete in the Woodhall Spa Triathlon - 400m swim, 24km bike, 5km run. I must say that although I value support, it was nice to travel on my own & prepare quietly with no distractions (i.e. my 4 year old). I was quite excited about this one as I had deliberately left a few weeks gap after my last tri so that I could get some decent training done + it was a 33m outdoor pool + a flattish bike & run course.

In the week leading up the event, I was lucky enough to get some really good help & advice from more experienced triathletes (ahem, ironmen) to help me prepare for the race. On the Monday at swim training, our swim coach decided to get in with us. On one of our sets he told me to draft him for 10 lengths. I was nearly sick afterwards but it made me realise that I haven't been pushing myself in the swim phase at all and could do a lot better. On the Thursday I spent an hour or so on Donington race track (Cycle in the Park event) whizzing round after another friend who is spectacular on a bike. On talking to him about my sprint event his very helpful advice was 'just cane it'. Hmmm.

Anyway, Sunday morning was a little cooler & more overcast than expected so perfect weather to race in. The pool looked quite cold (it wasn't) & the lanes were quite roomy. Despite having done a warm up (first time ever), my arms still felt quite tired & I was quite breathless. During training I am usually able to get into a rhythm pretty quickly but always in races, I get this lethargy. Not sure what to do to overcome it. I had a pretty clear swim, meaning that I didn't have to overtake or be overtaken and managed my fastest swim time this year with 8.45mins.

The bike course was brilliant, despite not being able to feel my legs for the first 25 minutes. It was mostly on quiet country roads so you weren't fighting with traffic, just the headwind! However after about half an hour, once I got the tailwind I was flying! The only downside was I didn't have time to enjoy the scenery. Sometimes on the bike I find it hard to keep focus but I had worked out beforehand (or rather, my husband did, maths isn't my strength) what speed I needed to do to get the time I wanted so I was able to concentrate on that. My bike time for 24km was 50.47 minutes which is near enough what I had planned for.

The run course was also good. I know it's a cliché but on Sunday, I got off the bike & hit the ground running. I kept a high cadence, strong core, eyes focused ahead & I just kept going. For once I felt really good. The course was initially on a quiet country road which ended up going through an estate & onto the main road into Woodhall Spa. I passed lots of people in the run phase & this boosted my confidence, especially at the end when it came down to a sprint finish between me & a guy I had overtaken with 500m to go. For the first time ever I ran under 24 minutes for a 5k so am chuffed to bits with that.

Lessons I have learned from this event are: that triathlon is mind over matter - you have to talk yourself through the painful bits to keep going, don't worry about the lack of feeling in your legs - it'll come good at some point on the bike, on the run, just fix your eyes straight ahead & keep going.

Once again OSB put on a great event - well supported, lots going on, helpful marshalls & volunteers & fab commentary. I would definitely do this event again as the atmosphere is brilliant. The venue itself is good with a campsite, café, childrens play area & good spectator views of the swim & transition area.
  1. http://www.donington-park.co.uk/events/run-cycle-evenings/
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