1.9km Swim 90km Bike 21km Run - Temperature 77oF
Swim 29:56 - T1 01:10 - Bike 02:23:37 - T2 01:11 – Run 01:25:20 Total Time 4:21:14National Age Group Champion, 15th overall
The night before the race I got pre race butterflies (been a while) and realised I was more excited about the race than I had anticipated. Recent training and racing had gone well so maybe this was a chance to grab my first national title. The only question mark over my impending performance was whether the Edinburgh marathon was sufficiently out my legs. I had run 40 miles since then but each run had ended with sore calves so I was going to have to break a rule and run with calf guards to try and hold things together. Normally I shun them as counterproductive to the training effect of running and when racing unsportsman like as they hide your age group calf marking.
The old guys were lumped in with the ladies for the last swim wave so I was hoping for some fast feet to latch on to. A beach (?) start and quickly into the usual anaerobic churning as I looked around for the lead group, luckily finding three sets of feet side by side to give me a nice tow. It was a warm sunny day, perfect for racing apart from having to swim into the blinding rising sun on the return leg; I hung onto the feet and trusted they could see more than me!
Pleased to be out in under 30 mins and into T1, my eyes scanned the racking to see how many in my wave were off up the road ahead of me – it didn’t look like many. A smooth transition and onto the bike to start hoovering up the slower competitors from the previous waves. With light winds and a rolling/flat course there was going to be a lot of time tucked into the aero position, dodging pot holes and making sure I didn’t get passed by anyone. The whole ride was pretty uneventful with no real idea of position in the age group or overall, I just focussed on keeping an even power and moving through the field. The wave start makes the race effectively a solo time trial and I guess takes a little of the racing spirit away.
I entered T2 in good shape, glancing across the racks to count the bikes back……..zero in my row so I was probably in front but without a definite confirmation I couldn’t take that for granted. I set off and quickly locked into a good rhythm, not sure what pace this was as I don’t use a gps device and there were no distance markers on the course, it felt close to 4min ks though. I just controlled the pace and stayed comfortable, only pushing harder in the last 5k. I crossed the line in 4:21 and felt that should be good enough for the win but still wasn’t sure. You could get a print out of your splits but ultimately had to wait three hours for the awards ceremony before any idea of position…..quite a few didn’t bother to wait so the podiums were peppered with gaps, shame.
My first national middle distance title, very chuffed. Six weeks until IMUK and a shot at qualifying for Kona so it’s time to get my head down, rebuild my run endurance and nail a few harder miles on the bike….bring it on.