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Tales of an endurance athlete
Duathlete at heart, but will do aything running/cycling/swimming/multisport related. Within reason of course:-)

Thats a bit better... happier days:-)

tiggaby tiggaJun 29th 2010
It took me a while to get over the disappointing race at Bala, more mentally than physically. I so badly wanted a decent showing there and it went spectacularly wrong, and I wasn't expecting all three disciplines to be a shocker... it did knock the wind out of my training sails a bit.
Back on the training horse so to speak and was down in the New Forest 'racing' the Boskman, dodging horses and cows and sheep and pigs squirrels birds... the list of animals Richard mentioned in the briefing seemed endless! He did however, forget to mention the HUGE flies, as big as birds I tell you!
This was a training race for me, no ease down for it, just another hard session at the end of tough volume week in preparation for Ironman Switzerland four weeks later. In fact I was out riding the full 120km on the Saturday at a healthy pace to make sure I started a bit tired. The plan was to ride steady and even splits riding to HR of around 135-140. This is the first ever race I've done using a HRM, just to control my 'enthusiasm' at the beginning.
I was pretty dead on my feet some Saturday night a day of driving down, caught in a traffic jam on the M3 and mad rush to get bike out the car ride the 'training' ride before registration closed at 2pm, straight into the race briefing whilst eating the left over pizza I'd purposely over ordered from the night before. Then a quick bike wheel change, so I had to swap cassettes to the race wheel and set the gears and rack my bike in T1 which was 10km away from T2/Finish. By the time I got to Nick's place (my bed for the night) I was shattered and still had to sort out race kit and nutrition for the next morning... race start was 5:45am! I was 30min drive away, and even then it was a bus trip from the finish to the start of the swim. All that... meant I was up at 2:45am, officially the earliest I have ever got up for a race, in 25 years of racing!

We were greeted with thick fog at the lake, leaving us with 3 shorter laps instead of 2 longer laps to complete. If I don't have something to look up and sight during a swim I do not swim in a straight line. Uh oh... well, at least it wasn't freezing water. A delayed start for the main event the Forestman (an Iron distance tri) meant a delayed start to our race too. I settled into a nice rythym in the swim and although I went off course a few times I was pleased with my effort and after a slowish transition I got going on the bike, the focus of the weekend. Last weekend I'd done a big run weekend which ended with a 30km 1000m altitude gain off road race the day after a 5hr30min brick, a race I ran in 2hr4min and placed 6th. The aim this race was to ride at IM pace on tired legs and run at IM pace on the hilly 20km run. I expected it to be hard work, it much hillier than my Ironman course and this was a big volume week. I settled quickly on the bike, was good at eating my jelly babies (Basset's of course), taking my fluid/electrolyte mix and along the way I passed those fish like athletes that swim faster than me. Half way around lap one it was quite peaceful out there but almost perfect conditions. The only thing to keep my concentration levels up was the HR and keeping it at 135. Lap two was even quieter although i did pass a few guys early on in lap two. Nearing the end of the bike I saw in the distance what looked like the only two athletes I knew were ahead of me. Small dots they were, but encouraging non the less! The final 10km into Sandy Balls (don't laugh... thats where race HQ was!) was quick and those dots were suddenly a little bigger and only 45secs in front of me! Whoooaaaa there I'd suddenly brought myself right into the race for a win.
I left T2 and was exactly 2mins down... yes another faffing transition, but I needed water and made sure I got it before I left. The sun was now out in full force and I was expecting a hot run.
Again I settled down into a great rythym... not over doing things and waiting for the hills to come - and that, they did! Damn it was hot out there... I focussed on shorter strides quick turn over and if that got me closer to the leader so be it. At the first urn around I was 1min down, and by 12km I'd overtaken and was now leading. Dave Woodgate is a great athlete, so he did exactly as I expected and latched onto me and we ran together pretty much the rest of the way. OK... we also walked up the hills, but he agreed... that the walk thing was a good idea:-)
The final 2km stretch was on the road and slightly downhill to Sandy Balls. I decided to back off the pace and let Dave take the pace to get a better idea of how strong he was looking... I hate to say it, he was looking good! I was feeling the effects of bike the day before. 1km to go and I pushed the pace on a bit thinking surely I can wind things up and he'll eventually tail off? Nope... and with 300m to go Usain Bolt, errrr, I mean Dave Woodgate, flew by and I was left for dust! Simply no ping in the legs for a sprint like that.
5hr26min of racing and 7 secs separated us. I sat under the Gazebo at the food table near the finish line and just ate... I did not move until my team mate Stew Smith finished in 3rd place 35mins later!! Closely followed by the other youngster in our club Carlton in only his second triathlon. Team Feat scooped a few podium spots with Ivan taking 2nd in the V40 and Jacks taking the ladies V40 top spot and Dave Ransom followed closely to take the super duper uber vet prize! Smiles all round for Team Feat at the Boskman Triathlon 2010!
All in all a great weekend of training, an amazing race organised by Richard and Jo (an addition to their race calender this year which I hope stays!) and set in some quite spectacular training/racing coutryside you could hope to be racing in.

I made my way to the Team Feat aid station on the run course to help out and cheer for those poor souls who were still out completing the marathon of the Forestman in that heat. It really was quite a day, and seeing these guys in their own battle with the course, the elements and their bodies and still a huge smile on their faces, just reminded exactly why I do what I do!

Next on my 'to do' list is Ironman Switzerland 25th July... More positive I am now and definitely ready for my own battle with the sub 9 hour barrier!

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