by TriHardAlanSep 3rd 2013
I will also start of by saying what a great event this is and well deserves its reputation as one of the country¬'s top races. Also had the privilege and pleasure of racing alongside many of my club mates from Thames Turbo who recorded some fantastic results and performances.
My build up to this was varied. Like a lot of Roth participants from the club I hadn¬'t done any distance at all since but have been biking well which has generated a string of PB¬'s and course records at short distances. The run was a concern as only had 2 runs of over 10 miles since Roth. Added to this was a hamstring problem which had prevented me training at all in the last few weeks but bizarrely had got better whilst completing 3 Sprints in 5 days! My original plan was to bike hard and just struggle through the run but on the morning decided to bike sensibly and then just simply run, not race, the run leg to ensure I enjoyed it, which I felt was more important at this stage of the season, given that my main races are all done and dusted.
When I arrived on the morning I had a puncture which was only a slow one and was grateful I spotted it before the start. Had to ask a fellow Turbo for some assistance to get the tyre of the rim as my hands were too cold from the morning chill (my old age will be spent knocking on my neighbors door asking them to open my Branston Pickle jar) and missed the briefing but figured I would cope.
The swim was awful. Didn¬'t feel I was swimming badly at the time and despite losing a little bit of time removing my timing chip at the end of the first lap when it was about to slip of and then putting it back on during the pointless land part at the end of lap 1, I¬'m at a loss to explain the poor performance. 43 minutes left me the 64th placed person from 99 in my AG, enough said on that.
After a rather pedestrian T1 and a poor mount which lost me a bit of time I set of on the bike. I felt good and confident and made a note not to push too hard on that first section. Once I was over the famous Rutland Ripple the fun began and that next section of road was just fabulous sitting at 26mph for most if it with no effort what so ever. Bit of a head wind on the way back but nothing drastic and caught behind a little traffic too as I approached the turn around and the thought going through my mind was ¬"great, I get to do that all over again¬". More of the same on the second lap which for me is probably the most enjoyable bike course in a UK race and the only people to pass me on the whole bike leg were the two lead females. I probably should have dipped under 2.30 but happy enough with 2.31.08 and in contrast to my swim the 10th fastest bike leg in AG.
Another slow Transition, this time due to missing the bike entry (1st of 2 things I missed from briefing) and having to get my socks from my bag as I had forgotten to take them out, and then of on to the run. Felt very comfortable as I trotted off and thought I was sticking to the running not racing plan but as is often the case pace can be deceptive of the bike. With no Garmin on the run I waited till 5k to do some calculations and 21 mins gone so far I was on for a sub 1.30 which is normally my yardstick for a good/bad run. Was I likely to hold that pace on such limited training? No. But, feeling good, as you always do at that point, I of course tried. After nearly missing the wristbands at the turnaround (2nd thing I missed from briefing) I carried on and only started to feel a bit of a fade on the 2nd lap when somebody I had passed earlier came back. By the time I was on the final 5k I was in a little trouble and at various points playing counting games, singing to myself and concentrating on form to try and keep it together. No sprint finish for me as I crossed the line in 1.32.23 for 4th quickest run and 12th place overall in AG and a total time of 4.51.
Somewhere, at some point, I must have pushed a bit harder than I had planned, or maybe the nutrition wasn¬'t quite right because as soon as I crossed the line I crashed and burned very quickly and felt quite ill. Had to sit down for a short while and took me a while longer to get some food down me. Hanging around for the medal ceremony ensured I was recovered enough to drive safely home.
I had discarded the thought of doing another Half this year but having not managed a sub 1.30 on the run I¬'m now wondering if I can get enough training in to make it realistic before the weather turns. Will ponder that for a bit¬...¬....
¬...¬.... In the meanwhile I have the small matter of the World Aquathon Championships at Hyde Park next Wednesday. Not the main event, my swimming is still a concern and I am lacking my usual run speed but in terms of finding some inspiration to dig a little deeper nothing quite matches having GBR printed on your Tri Suit. Can¬'t wait!
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