so I can say I TRIed
so I can say I TRIed

Race Report: Lakeside Sprint Triathlon

charlieeliseby charlieeliseJun 20th 2012
I've been a bit quiet lately. I haven't fallen off the treadmill but it has been a bit of a squeeze time wise hence the lack of time for writing. Before I knew it I was a week out from Lakeside and running about worrying about all sorts of things:

1. I'm an awful cyclist and I won't make it. This was brought on by a hilly training session where I cycled like a granny. On the day I overtook a shed load of people.

2. My wetsuit doesn't fit properly. It was a bit loose at the wrists during the Great London. Cue hysterical threats of taking scissors to the thing. In the end I just pulled it up a bit more. It was fine.

3. My running isn't as good as it could be and my knee might hurt. So I went out for an 8km run to prove a point, or something, on Wednesday. Did intervals. My hamstrings hurt like hell after. And on the day I finally broke the 30 minute mark for my 5km in a race. Hapus!

Obviously this kind of stuff is never going to go away. I'm a worrier anyway but pre race nerves make me worse. Did a good session in the pool on Thursday and rested Friday. I made some adjustments and removed everything I could from Hecate on Saturday (oh, and messed up the screw threads in my water bottle holder. Had to be sawed off. That took a bit of time) then took her out for a 10km test ride in a new tri suit I bought in a sale. I really like it, it's a 2XU suit in black and is much more supportive than my other one on the old quads. I know you shouldn't race in new kit but I washed it and tested it (ok, and I wore it around the house) and it was so comfy I decided to go with it. I didn't regret it.

Forecast was bad. Rain and wind. But the Saturday turned out quite warm. I went up to Camden to see a friend and ate pasta and potatoes. Came home and ate more pasta. Low fat, high carbs. Packed my box. Set my alarm for 4.50am.

As I had wished for, the day dawned bright and sunny. Crammed into the car, Hecate taking all the space in the back; fortunately Lakeside is only half an hour drive away. Registration opened at 6am and by the time I got over there was a huge queue in the Vue Cinema reception. Went to the loo (no queue, phew) and went to transition. Took me a while to realise it was numbered so you couldn't pick your spot. So I met my fellow two age group competitiors, but I wasn't certain which side of me they were. I mean 29 and 31 look pretty similar... Spent an AGE getting into my wetsuit. Determined to pull the arms up as far as possible, I adjusted and baby oiled and lubed and adjusted some more.
Race Report: Lakeside Sprint Triathlon
That was me getting the wetsuit ON.

I was surprisingly keen to get back into Alexandra Lake. I've decided it must be haunted as there is a deathly chill in that water even if it warmer than it was last time (10 degrees!). Once the wave before my (pink!) wave had gone I was straight in. I flushed my suit, had a swim about, generally made a nuisance of myself and got a good position near the front.
Race Report: Lakeside Sprint Triathlon
This is my gameface. I look just like my mum.

We got delayed very slightly. I was sculling at the front, kicking my legs gently behind me to keep people out of my way. Then we were off. I felt the familiar surge as people thrashed around me. I kicked hard and pulled with my arms. With each stroke I felt myself propelled along with the others. About 50m in I felt it go as their early enthusiasm died. I got into my stride and kept an eye on the pink heads in the lead. Catching one girl, I checked out her suit underwater. TriathElite. That's a pricey suit, I thought. She must be alright. I drafted off her for a few metres but it wasn't long before I overtook her.
Race Report: Lakeside Sprint Triathlon
That, by the way was me warming up. I don't look like that in the water when I'm doing front crawl.

Then I was alone. Again. Trusting myself to swim straight I settled into my pace. I sighted every so often, keeping one eye on the buoys and the other on the other heads in front. Suddenly, there were two in sight. Glancing back on a breath I saw the main pack, way back. Was I third? I was confused and convinced there were more. There were. Two ladies were turbo-charged, or something, and had paddled out of sight. I paddled myself. Keep going, I thought. See if you can catch those girls in front. I was slowly gaining on them.
Race Report: Lakeside Sprint Triathlon
Before the thrashing started....

I almost caught them. On the last two turns I was neck and neck with one girl. Given a longer distance I'm naturally convinced I'd have caught them! I was literally plucked out of the water by a volunteer, 5th, just behind the other two. 14.07. I got my wetsuit down to my waist with no problem. On the run to T1 I felt very disorientated actually. The whole 'being upright thing' after being face down in the water is quite odd!
Race Report: Lakeside Sprint Triathlon
I took way too long in transition. I got the suit off, standing on my towel. Slipped off my tag to make it easier and velcroed it back on again. Socks, gloves, (could I lose those next time?) shoes. Crammed down an energy gel, glug of Powerade. Elected to leave the bottles in transition. I was unlikely to drink on the way. Then jogged in my SPDs what felt like a mile to the bike mount.
Race Report: Lakeside Sprint Triathlon
I'm there somewhere!

Getting on carefully rather than risking the bucking bronco effect I've seen in the past, I was overtaken a lot at the beginning, but as I settled into my pedal stroke I caught them. And some more. A GB age grouper overtook me on his second lap, and I saw a couple of good girls on carbon TTs zoom past. I'm not saying Hecate is slow, it's just I'm not good enough to overtake them yet. But I enjoyed overtaking the boys and I saw a couple of guys having a right old chat all the way round... hope they enjoyed being lapped by me! I do not consider myself a strong cyclist, but this is the second triathlon I have done and the second time I've overtaken a lot of people.

Had a muppet moment as I started my second lap. Got confused by the 'straight on' sign, and tried going off early at the wrong junction. Fool. Turned around and got back on track. Caught those behind me who had been more sensible. My chief age group rival I'd already passed on the first descent but she was chasing me. Not confident in my run, I knew I had to stay ahead of her. I didn't realise how close she was, and I had no idea what her run was like. I could bet, though, that it was better than mine. My toes were a bit tingly. Tried to spread my toes and grip the shoe, and tried to relax into the pedal stroke.

The wind on the bike was fierce. However I pushed through and almost made my average goal of 30km/hr. The bike took me 42.02. I came in 7th apparently.

T2. Racked Hecate, shoes off, trainers on, helmet off. Glugged Powerade. And set off to run. Or at least, try... Felt a bit tight but tried to relax. I always take a while to warm to it, so I told myself to relax. Keep the feet moving. Trust that they will come round. So I did. For four long laps. I was overtaken a lot, but towards the end started to pick a few people off. They had a good system of collecting bands - once you have four you can turn into the end to finish. I say good because everyone knows I cannot count when I race. Not above three anyway.
Race Report: Lakeside Sprint Triathlon
I went through a lot of arguments in my head and tried to quiet the negative voice. I'd done well so far, we know the run is the hardest bit. Suck it up already. Then my right shoulder started hurting. Right inside the joint everytime I moved it. Tried to loosen it. I've had it before in training, I blame it on tension. I am usually good at checking my posture and making myself relax but during a race tension can creep in. I hoped it would go. And it did eventually. Thankfully, the lower gut stitch I've struggled with on previous races did not appear. Slight side stitches, but I pushed down on my diaphragm. I knew I could and would run through it. I was counting the amount of times I would pass points. A lone guy had finished and was cheering on people individually. I thanked him on my last lap, he was very encouraging. Once I knew I would finish I tired to push it.

I'd already been overtaken by my age group rival. She was too far gone for me to catch, but in the end was only a minute ahead. And suddenly, I too was at the end. Sprint finish if you can! Photographs. Tag reading. T shirt and medal. Relief. High Five. Another queue. And a little print out of my results to show my split and final time: 1 hour 29 minutes 36 seconds. Second in my rather small age group. 12th woman to finish. 149th including the boys and teams. For me, about the same time as I did last year, but a significantly longer event. A personal best.

The GOOD stuff:
1. Run was 12% faster on 11 months ago. Under half an hour for the first time. 28.54. Room for improvement though, I know. But the 10km/hr has been a truly hard nut for me to crack. So I want to feel good about it.
2. Cycle was surprisingly good. I was clipped in for the first time! The distance didn't bother me, at all.
3. Feeling confident for next month. Before Lakeside I was doubting my stamnia.
4. No GI distress. I shunned caffeine and was sparing with sugar. I think previously I have overloaded with sugar and caffeine. The gut cannot cope!
5. Next day and after: Felt absolutely fine. No pain, no DOMs, no niggles. Nothing! But lots of energy.

Improvements for next month:
1. I should have taken another gel before the run I think. Didn't bonk but should have really I feel. Will have to work out a decent feeding strategy for next month.
2. Run requires a lot of work. I did ok, but lost my places on the run in particular.
3. Tranistion is way too slow. Enough faffing already.

I'd like to put in a faster swim. 14.07 is a bit slower than my usual 'pace'. I don't know if it included gangway running. It may have done. My vanity would like to see my win a swim one day. My head says I should concentrate on the run, where I am losing out by 10 minutes which I cannot make up on the swim, even if I was a serious swimmer.

Plan is: work on the run for Bristol then seriously get on the cycling for London having put in some work for the run already. Continue my swimming, and bring it all together. We are on track, although maybe not as far ahead as I'd like. However that's mostly because of the knee - staying injury free is more important than being ahead of schedule on training!
sarahleonardby member: sarahleonard, Jun 20th 2012 19:03
Good work Charlieelise and a great race report!
Bishmanby member: Bishman, Jun 20th 2012 21:21
Very interesting to read about a completely different race on the same course - and great pictures too!
charlieeliseby blog author: charlieelise, Jun 21st 2012 11:23
Thanks Sarah and Bishman! Looking forward to hearing your take on it.
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