A lot can change in three years..
by leighschvartzApr 10th 2016
A preface to this blog, I'm being awfully generous and doing a 241 here - a quick recap and summary (as if we are entering the hotly anticipated new season of Game of Thrones..) and then the Thames Turbo Duathlon 2016 race report. If it's the latter you are interested in, skip down a few paragraphs ;-)
So today was a good day for me, the culmination of many years of hard work and training - my first podium finish at a multi-sport event (duathlon in this case, more on that later) and it brought me back here, where it all began. In 2013 when I first took up triathlon I set up this blog to record my training efforts, and fell out of the habit after only three posts.. boo.
A lot has changed in both life and sport in the last three years - new job, new house, new car - but notably a major mindset change when it came to triathlon. After muddling along for 2014 with a few good races (1st age category in London Duathlon was the one which spurred me on) and then a step up in training for 2015 where races improved again (a couple of top 10s here and there, and an improvement on my time at the London Duathlon), I decided over the winter in 2015 I really wanted to take things seriously.
Step up Justin Robbins, who I've mentioned on this blog before (weeman coaching), an age category TeamGB competitor & triathlon coach who I brought in to help me build a real winter training plan for the first time in my triathlon career. For the long dark winter months I stuck to the plan religiously, I've joined a new racing team (Team Swindon Cycles) and all of that brings me to today, my first podium position at what I've found to be my favourite multi-sport race, the duathlon.
Thames Turbo Duathlon 2016 Race Report
A late entry to my early season race calender, only hearing about it by chance when my new sports masseur Bernie (mind over massage) mentioned the local tri club and their race series. I signed up even though the race was only a week after Reading Half Marathon which has become a fixture for me for the last couple of years... and has always needed a full week to recover afterwards!
I think the absolute best thing about this race, was that it was at Kempton Park racecourse, so it was closed roads, good facilities, easy parking... oh, and 10 minutes from my house... so forget the stupid-o-clock start to get to registration! Turned up at the start, get set-up, racked up the bike, fiddled around with transition set-up and then it was time to go.
Run 1 - 4.5K (17.38)
The first run started well, my running is one discipline which has improved massively since I last wrote on this blog, I've managed to achieve my long-time goals of going sub 1hr30 in a Half Marathon (1:27:02) and sub 20min in a 5K (19:32) and I've raced enough now to know how to hold my own in a bunch start. I held with the front runners for the first mile or so but decided to ease off - I've burned out early before and know how much that hurts later on. I jostled for position a little towards the end but came into transition in 9th place, a quick transition (another thing I've learned a lot about in the last 3 years!) saw me pull out of transition on the bike in 8th.
Bike Leg - 20K (33:24)
The bike was always going to be the fun part for me, on an entirely flat course (albeit windy) I started making my way through the runners who were in the front group. The course was fast & flat but with multiple technical sections where riders had to cross matting over the muddy race-track, so taking these carefully and then getting back to speed quickly was important, as was ensuring your positioning was good going into the technical sections as overtaking wasn't allowed. The bike course was 9 laps in total, and by lap 3 I'd moved up to 4th place overall, and by the 5th lap I was into 2nd place. A smooth entry into transition (with shoes still on bike - magic!) meant I came out of T2 holding onto second spot.
Run 2 - 4.5K (18.06)
Trying my best to concentrate on my own race, I quickly got up to speed, with no visual on the runner currently leading the race, I assumed I was fighting for 2nd so tried (and failed) to not look behind me. I was on my own for the first run lap but coming in for the second lap the runner in third was right on my tail, he bounded past me with the speed to ensure I knew I wasn't going to stay with him even if I tried, and my goal for this season was a top 3 finish, so I let him go and concentrated on my maintaining my pace. I couldn't see anybody behind me, and given that I was over 2 minutes ahead of 4th I should have enjoyed the last mile or so coming in to take my first top 3 placement - but that's hindsight :-)
Overall a fantastic race for me, now I'm back to training before my first Sprint Triathlon of the year at Newmarket in May :-)