The Beaver (Belvoir) middle distance race
The beaver is a middle distance race I’ve heard a lot about over the last couple of years and it’s always gets a good report so I decided to enter this year as an early season warm up race. Friday afternoon we drove to Belvoir castle to check in to the hotel we had booked. We went over the race site and I was instantly taken by how relaxed the whole event seemed. I took a look at the lake, which is rumored to be the muddiest swim you will ever do in a race but it looked beautiful. I didn’t have a plan in mind for this race other than to get around it comfortably and hope my knee wouldn’t play up on me being as this would be the longest run I had done since I started rehab for a knee issue 3 months ago.
Race morning was soon here and I had my usual race breakfast of ambrosia cream rice, a very strong coffee and a bottle of RaceRx, we headed over to rack my bike and get ready to race. Again, the atmosphere at this race was so relaxed and friendly, it was a really nice vibe. At the race briefing the guy said if anyone gets into trouble in the swim, we normally recommend turning on to your back and raising one arm, however, in this lake we recommend you stand up and walk to the edge, haha, it really is a shallow lake then!
For the swim I was in the second wave and I positioned myself right at the front as usual, I somehow managed to get off on the gun much better than the previous week when I seemed to be overtaken in milli-seconds by loads of athletes. The swim was fairly uneventful, a 2 lap course, was pretty slow and steady, I went hard for the first 500m or so to stay near the front then relaxed into a comfortable stroke for the rest of the 1.9km.
Out of the swim I was really happy, and started on the long run up the hill to transition – it’s half a km up the hill so the swim times reflect this as the timing mat is part way up the hill (Swim 34:56). Into T1 (1:42) and I grabbed my helmet and ran of with my bike to do a speedy mount over the mount line, unfortunately I couldn’t get my freezing feet into the shoes on the bike and no matter how many times I tride they would go in so I had to stop, get of my bike, take the shoes of the pedals and out them them on then ride off – I felt a right idiot but needs must!
The bike course is lovely, mostly flat with a long steady climb about half way around, would have been a fast course if it wasn’t for the 20mph winds with 30mph gusts. First lap I barely used the aero position as was trying to get a sense of how far over the road I would getting blown about, turned out not to be so bad as the wind was more head on, so whilst it made for a hard bike, it felt safer than side on gusts blowing you over so for the 2nd and 3rd laps I maintained a proper aero position for most of the course. It has to be said I was pleased to get off the bike (2:45), T 2 was smoother and I was out on the run course (2:03).
The run course is 4 laps and I knew what to expect as mark had run it the day before as training so he told me it was basically one long hill up then a turnaround and one long hill down X 4 laps!
First lap I went really slow and steady and drank a bottle of ATF whilst letting my HR come right down, 2lap I turned up the pace a little and kept it pretty constant for the 3rd lap although my mind was playing games with me and I was having so of those dark thoughts you get on the long run legs of races, lap 4 came around and I thought ok, one more lap, let’s smash this. My knee was feeling good, I had some energy left and I thought lets just go for it, I managed to pass a lot of people on this lap and was really pushing the whole way around. Just coming into the finish arena I sensed another woman behind me so went for a sprint over the finish – which hurt – a lot, but as it happens she looked about my age so I please I pushed that final 100m stretch. (1:50.)
My initial reaction to the race was that my times were poor. Although I didn’t know what the course was really like or what was classed as a good or bad time, I hade guessed that because of the much shorter bike course than Majorca I would have been on for a 5:00- 5:05 race. I went to the timing tent to see what my splits are as was pretty disappointed looking at my bike and run, but then I saw a number 2 – I asked the guy, ‘what’s that then?’ and he said, ‘you got second place in your AG’! I didn’t believe him and muttered something about thinking I’d been crap, to which he replied, ‘oh well if you were crap, everyone else was more crap’, that really made me smile and made me realize you can’t judge or try and guess your race time, it is what it is on the day and there are so many factors that change even the same course one year to the next. So whilst I still don’t think it was a great performance, overall I’m happy with my day – 2 early season races now under my belt and a nice trophy to show for it!
Thanks as always goes out to our squad sponsors; Triathlon Zone of St Albans, MPG, Bowller and HKR Architects.
Having had a disheartening end to my 2014 race season with a DNF at ETU long distance championships I was keen to get my first race of 2015 completed without any drama. My winter training has been quite different to the previous couple of years seeing me having more rest & increased focused training whilst reducing overall training load. As always, I put my faith in coach Musty, but being me, I was always thinking in the back of my mind, am I doing enough.
So on Saturday morning I went for my first OWS of the season and it was freezing, I’ve gone soft over the winter it seems! Needless to say I wasn’t looking forward to my first ever river swim on Sunday morning. We got to the race venue in St. Neots at around 6:30am after a 4:30 rather unsocial alarm call, I was excited but not nervous at all.
I was in the second wave so got myself to the front line of my swim wave, treading water and waiting for the gun I was pleased to be right at the front – however the gun went off and in a milli-second I was already being overtaken by loads of athletes, I certainly need to work on my deep water swim start! The swim was fairly straight forward for once, no elbows to eyes or kicks in the head for a change, I knew it wasn’t a particularly good swim as my sighting and direction was well off, but I was pleased over all the with my first swim race of the year (15:01). T1 went amazingly well (1:05), and I was off on the bike – getting my feet into my shoes on the move was interesting as my feet were like ice blocks. Once into my shoes and pedalling properly I took the bike really steady and was hoping to push the run harder than I normally do. Coming into T2, again had problems with my shoes and frozen feet so my speedy dismount ended less speedy and more stop, get off and run! (0:45). Trainers on and off out on the run, coach Musty was at the start of the run course encouraging me so I had to push hard from the off so he didn’t think I was slacking, the first lap was like running on concrete feet but by the time I got on to the second lap I could feel my feet again and was getting into a good flow. The second lap hurt, I had a stitch in my side the whole way around but I continued to push as hard as I could and was very relieved to see to the 200m to go sign. I was aware of another female trying to overtake me so I gritted my teeth and pushed hard over the finish line – as my race picture shows, I call it my Quasimodo pout! My run was a surprising 20:10, a 5km PB for me by well over a minute so I was so really happy. Once over the finish line the stitch had me doubled over in pain, I couldn’t stand up straight – seriously, these sprint races hurt like hell, bring on the long stuff!
My overall time was 1:22:00, making me 9th in my AG. Because the field was so strong being the British Championships, I am over the moon with this, although I wasn’t at first, but looking at the stats and splits I can see how well I did now coming 9th of 29 in a field of people who race this distance all the time. I am really happy with this having never raced this distance before I cant call it a PB, but compared to the super-sprints I’ve done in previous years, this shows my winters training is definitely working In the way Musty has planned.
Bring on the Beaver (my next race this coming weekend!).
Thanks as always goes out to our squad sponsors; Triathlon Zone of St Albans, MPG, Bowller and HKR Architects.
It’s been a long time since i’ve written a blog being as autumn has been all about moving house and trying to rest. That, and I’ve basically been a right old lazy thing doing the bare minimum of base training and having a good old recharge in-between packing and unpacking boxes! After a very bitter/sweet 2014 i’m now getting rather excited and revved up for the coming 2015 season. I have all my races planned and have a completely new focus to training this year.
Last year for me, it was all about trying to get faster than my ironman debut year of 2013, and, if that was my only goal then I would say it was it was a pretty amazing year as I got significant PB’s at sprint, 70.3 and full ironman distance as well as 2 PB’s on 2 successive half marathons. However, I also wanted to put to bed some quibbles I had relating to health issues – and like lots of things in life, somethings have to get worse before they get better – and they certainly got worse last year! That said, i’ve had some really good advice and diagnoses this year and now I’m definitely on the up and looking forward to a year racing as the new healthier me!
I am very pleased and proud to be racing next year in a new triathlon squad. For the last 18 months I have been coached by Musty Salih who has taken me from a non-swimmer in 2011 to racing IM distance in 2013 and qualifying for the 2014 ETU Long distance championships. Musty’s coaching business, Strive4Fitness has launched a UK based triathlon squad for 2015 race season with athletes of all abilities racing from sprint to IM distance. Musty is a Professional Triathlon Coach with over 15 years experience; Level 3 qualified with the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS) along with a whole host of other personal training qualifications. As I’ve known and trained with Musty for several years now he knows exactly how my head is geared up and he can see what most athletes cant see in themselves – strengths and weaknesses that need addressing, focus and tweaking. He gives me the confidence to believe in myself and my abilities.
In 2015 I will continue to race on my Azione Falce TT bike which I absolutely love and am still very grateful for the support that Azione provide me with. RaceRx in California have also helped me greatly with my nutritional needs and will continue to support me and I’m very much looking forward to racing fuelled by their products for another year.
So what’s actually on the agenda then in my first year of racing with S4F triathlon squad?? Swim events, Half marathon & Marathon run races, Sprint distance, Olympic distance, Middle distance, and a full Ironman – so basically covering all bases! Throw in a couple of training camps in the Alps and the Welsh black mountains and it should be an action packed fun year.
If you are interested in joining a supportive, fully coached triathlon squad, contact Musty at coachmusty.com for more info.
Race Report (well 2 thirds of one)
Back in November last year it was pointed out to me that I qualified for the ETU Long distance championships with my Bolton IM result. I paid the £10 to pre-register for it in Feb time and had then decided not to bother paying for the race and doing it as it didn’t really bother me to do the GB AG-er thing. After my IM race in Austria was such a disaster I decided I didn’t want to wait until next year have another go at putting together a decent IM race so with not many weeks notice, I decided to give this a go.
The journey to Almere was very exciting having never done the Ferry thing before! Got to say, it is the best way to travel by far in my book if are are within 2-4 hours of a port – I will be doing this more often, so much more relaxed than the packing and travel for a flight.
Swim – 1:07 (12th female out the water)
Amazing! Started front row and commenced with the usual ‘punchup’ in the first 15mins resulting in having a fat lip and swollen face for the rest of the rest. A rather fetching purple chin on sunday morning as a result. Went a little off course and too wide at times as sighting was quite difficult as very overcast and not very light at 7am but kept very smooth all way around, I think what I lost in time from not drafting I gained back from having lots of open water with no battling or trying to dodge to move around people.
T1 – uneventful, took time to put a jersey on over my trisuit as having had a cold all week, didn’t want to get pneumonia on the bike as its wasn’t very warm in the morning.
Bike – 6:17 (9th Female off the bike)
Amazing again! The bike course at Almere is so pan flat the only ‘hills’ are a couple of bridges over roads. Quite a lot of sharp narrow turns on cycle paths mean you have to literally stop to corner a lot of the time as marshals chaperone you around in single file. Once out of Almere you hit the coast road and its around 70mins head down along a straight flat road with no turns – sounds fast?? Well take into account the incredibly strong head winds and its like cycling in a wind tunnel – far from fast! Many comments from people saying ‘give me hills over this any day’. It was pretty brutal – personally not my favourite type of course as there wasn’t much scenery on the long coast road so quite boring. That said, the second lap seemed easier as by then you knew how long that Headwind section was so you knew to just get your head down and grind into if for an hour or so. Back and shoulders were killing afterwards which I assume is from being literately in one position for 6hrs – because its so flat you don’t move around on the bike so much apart from the short part of each lap on cycle paths with the tight corners.
Run – Didn’t happen!
Very long story as to why I pulled out but suffice to say since my appalling day in Austria several health issues have reared their head and i’m being treated for 2 of them and still under investigations for another. Having been on antibiotics for the last week and also having a head cold all week its almost it a miracle I made it to the start line so getting a huge PB on my swim and having a very strong bike leg, I should really walk away from this race with some feeling of achievement. Next year, I will be a whole lot healthier and stronger.
I don’t want to sound like i’m simply making excuses, at the end of the day I pulled out – no two ways about it. Only I know how ‘I’ felt and only I know ‘MY’ reasons behind the decision, and at the end of the day it was MY race. I know there will be plenty of ‘HTFU’ comments, but sometimes the true way to ‘Man up’ is to admit defeat in a single race, knowing it is for the best in the long term.
Annoyingly – if i had got around a 4:10’ish marathon I would have got bronze medal for AG as my swim and bike had been strong. Oh well, there will be many more races to come.
Disappointed but not defeated – bring on 2015, MY DAY WILL COME!
Ponteland is quite local to my family home so decided to do this so my Mam could come see me race a short course – bit more interesting to watch than her getting drowned in Bolton for god knows how many hours last year at IMUK. Unfortunately – she did get soaked again as it was torrential rain until the run – again, rain seems to follow me on races! The race is for a local charity for a guy called Simon Bates who was training to do an IM but died before he did his first triathlon. The really touching thing is, all his family and friends were racing, his mum and dad even did a relay with his sister, his mum looked so determined in the swim bless her everyone was cheering for her to keep going. It was very emotional even for people like me that never knew Simon.
Really mixed turn out – i counted around 20 MTBS being racked and then about 40-50 bling bling TT bikes, then a mix of everything in between.
The pool swim had 6 people to a lane and it seems many people didn’t estimate their swim times very well as when i was swimming there a guy who was so fast he lapped me twice, and a guy who i lapped twice who was doing breast stroke – and then other speeds in between! The bike course was on open roads with several cross roads and T-junctions so a couple of times had to come to a full stop. The run, was 90% on grass (verges on side of main road) and due to the torrential rain all night and morning this was just a mud bath for me and the later runners who didn’t set of until around 11am – trust me to try my Zoots out on this day…..
Best of all though – it was a fun race, the muddy conditions made the run fun and i actually really enjoyed the bike even though it was raining – maybe because i knew it was only 20km…
1:12 – PB by 4 mins.
Position overall 43 of 266
Position female 5 of 99
Position 35-39 female 2 of 18
swim8:34 Pos. 18
t1 Transition 1(Time: 1:09) – Pos. 12
bike Bike(Time: 39:18) – Pos. 7
t2 Transition 2(Time: 1:02) – Pos. 44
run Run(Time: 22:44) – Pos. 6
IM Austria 2014 was originally meant to be my first attempt at full IM distance but being as I won a last minute entry to IM UK last year, I had already had my ‘practice race’. Now I knew I could get around one, so this year I had new ambitions of getting a fairly decent PB and a respectable time.
For the last year I have trained hard and been very focused with a massive amount of help from my Coach Musty Salih (https://twitter.com/smart_fit_uk). Not only have I put the hours in but more importantly I have trained Smart making every session count and have purpose. I have also been fortunate enough to have 12months illness free without even a cough or a snivel. Apart from a slight niggle with my glutes in early spring I haven’t been bothered by injuries this season. My race at Majorca proved that my nutrition strategy seems to be working to keep my GI issues at bay. On paper I am in the best health and shape physically and mentally that I have ever been in my life – so what could wrong you may ask? Well let me begin…….
Leading up to the race last week I was almost too chilled out. My friends mock me for being ‘OCD’ as I’m very organised and have everything sorted out way in advance, however for this race I didn’t even look at my nutrition and pacing plans properly until late saturday afternoon. I had a little bit of excitement but no nerves whatsoever until the morning of the event. Being on my own in Austria I almost felt that I was too relaxed and with hindsight I don’t necessarily think that is a good thing.
I arrived at transition to find my bike had been tampered with overnight and it took me 30mins to find and queue for the bike mech to fix it. The front brake cable had been loosened (the grub screw had been undone). I know for certain that the grub screw was tight when I racked up the night before as my brakes had just been adjusted on Saturday to make them more responsive, I then rode for 30mins also and it was fine. They even tested the brakes at check in and they would have definitely have noticed the brake lever going right back to bars had it have been loose then.
Having wasted 30mins sorted my bike out, I then raced over to the swim start and wanted to drop my personal needs bags drop off. However, in the rush, I didn’t realise the personal needs vans had already left the bike check in so I was frantically trying to find out how to get my bags onto the truck but no one seemed to be able to help me so I gave up and ditched the bags in the Irondome tent and realised I just wasn’t going to be able to use the contents. Oh well, not the end of the world, just one of those things I told myself.
In the tent getting ready for the swim I managed to drop an ear plug down the holes in the matting, at this point i thought ‘oh well these things come in 3’s so thats the last thing’. Brakes, ear plugs, bags – 3 little mishaps now time for a great race!
I started the swim on the front row, to the middle of the left hand beach. I got battered about a lot in the swim which doesn’t normally bother me, but I got a full on punch to the side of the face which wedged my goggle right into my socket which was very uncomfortable. Soon enough however that seemed to sort itself out and I managed to sit on peoples feet for most of the swim at a very comfortable pace. My pace didn’t seem fast but I wanted to stay on feet as much as possible and just waited for faster swimmers to pass so I could latch onto their feet, but there never seemed to be any faster swimmers to latch on to. I was fairly pleased with my drafting but felt like went way off course at one point. I need to learn not to concentrate so much on drafting that I forget about sighting and holding a better faster pace!
Bit disappointed with swim time but all in all it was a PB by 4mins and I had been advised not to exert too much energy on the swim, keep the energy for the bike and the run and just get comfortably through the swim.
1:14 30th in Cat (4min PB)
Following a transition training session the week before the race, I had decided to have my first go at a flying mount with shoes on the bike! This was also first time at running along with bike holding saddle and not the handle bars – sounds really silly but I was pleased with myself at the success of this transition I started the bike with a huge grin on my face. Being clumsy by nature there was a large possibility this could have pear shaped and left me flat on my face on the floor!
For some reason I couldn’t get anywhere near the pace I should have had on the bike. We all know what we are capable of and I felt the whole time that I wasn’t anywhere near where I should or wanted to be on the bike – either on the flats of the hills. I felt like I couldn’t reach my potential on the bike at all and I cant work out why – thats one for my coach to puzzle over.
At about 30-40 miles into the bike I had a searing sharp pain in my shoulder blade and twitched my shoulder and back a bit and it went, only to return an inch or so to the left, I tried to reach my back to work out what it was and then it struck again, and again, and then again – all in the same line a small distance apart each time. I felt something between my shoulders blades and managed to get rid of it – I’m guessing it was either a bee or a wasp and it had got stuck in the bottom of my plaited pony tail and kept me stinging me until i managed to reach it and swat it away. I had 4 lovely big red stings or bites on my back when I got home after the race!
Fuelling on the bike went well, I was drinking ATF and using my usual combination of peanut butter balls and shotbloks. In addition to ATF I also had 3 bottles water as I knew I now had no access to my special needs bags where I had my additional ATF. I started to feel dizzy and sick at around 80-90 miles, It was a bit worrying as I started to take it steadier on both the hills and the descents as a result. Given the fact I didn’t feel I needed to pee after drinking 5 litres of fluid does make me wonder if this is i sign I had lost too much salt in sweat and this is why I was feeling dizzy and sick. I had planned on taking salt stick tablets if i needed them but guess where they were – in my specials needs bag back in the Irondome!
6:02 27th in cat (45min PB)
Hit the dismount line at 6:01 by my watch (at only 119miles i wasn’t expecting the dismount line so quickly) and was gutted, if I had realised i was that close to sub 6 I would have pushed a bit harder, but again, I was ‘saving myself for a ‘great marathon’. Part 2 of my transition training paid off, a flawless flying dismount – I was buzzing after this and raring to go on the run, with the adrenalin now coursing through my veins! Lets smash this marathon I thought…
I really felt awful from the off! My plan is always to come out on the run very slowly, walking if need be and give myself 20mins to lower my HR and get a bottle of ATF into me to start the marathon well fuelled. As I got a couple mins in and my HR wasn’t coming down, I started to thinking myself, this is harder than it felt at IM UK last year. I hoped I would settle down and be ok after a short while and be able to start picking up the pace but in actual fact I got worse not better. I started taking salt stick tablets as soon as got them from my run bag but abut 20mins into the run I had to stop on hold onto a fence as I went so dizzy I simply couldn’t stand up. I started seeing shapes flash in front of my eyes and was worried the medics would come and pick me up so I pretended to be taking my shoes off to adjust my socks. At this point I contemplated bailing and getting the medics to take me back, then i thought about how much time and effort I had put in this year and I thought I must do this even If it takes me 5 or 6 hours to walk it. It was a really weird feeling, very woozy and dizzy and for a while after I started to run again and felt like i was in a bit of a dream – I actually cant remember the first time i did the long run out to the turnaround point and when I saw a friend coming the opposite way I was really confused as I didn’t understand how people were coming the other way as I hadn’t turned around at any point! I think the salt stick tablets start to work as for a while the sickness stopped and I was able to go to bout 9min mile pace and I worked out if I could average 10min miles pace i would come in at 11:45 which would have been not what I originally wanted but still a respectable time. This wasn’t to be though as at around 17miles I hit the wall for the second time and had to start holding onto to railings and fences again to hold myself up. At this point the stomach cramps started too to add insult to injury. The rest of the run was a case of run a bit, walk a bit and drink coke, run, toilet stop, jog, run, toilet stop, walk and drink coke etc….
4:49 30th in cat
I crossed the finish line and went straight to a quiet corner and sat down and had a little cry – actually it was full on blubbing! I was disappointed and felt like my body had cheated me. All the hours of training and hard work and on the day, my body wouldn’t do what I know it is capable of. I had feelings of disappointment, embarrassment, and delusion – to think I had dreamt of getting a Kona slot in the next 5 yrs or so and at that exact moment it felt like my dream had never been more unobtainable.
After my little ‘moment’ though, It suddenly dawned on me that only a few hours before I had actually contemplated quitting and my mind hadn’t let me. At that point I actually felt a sense of achievement – I had become an Ironman for the second time and I actually had got a PB of over 45mins. Despite feeling the worst I have felt in my life, despite wanting to quit, I had the mental strength to carry on and complete a marathon having already been racing for over 7hours…for that I am truly proud.
Despite my time not being anywhere near I had wanted of this race, I guess this really puts into perspective how hard it is going to be get a Kona slot. However, I’m not ready to give up yet, I’ve got the bit between my teeth and if anything this race has made me even more determined!
12:14:35 (45min PB over last year) 31st in AG
2 weekends ago was my first race of the 2014 season and also for my first race as part of team Raceforce.
The weekend before the race, my bike and bike kit was collected by Kate and Grant. I had arranged for collection to be from my friend Claire’s house as we had booked the service together and agreed to have one collection point. The bikes are mounted into a rack system in the van by the front forks meaning the only thing that needs doing to the bike is removal of the front wheel. As I had experienced some issues with the brakes and wheels compatibility which I wasn’t entirely certain had been resolved by my local bike shop, I was also taking a spare pair of wheels with me, which Kate kindly allowed as extra luggage without charging me. At the collection point I had a chat with Grant (the mechanic) and he agreed to look over the brakes / wheels as I was not happy with the setup since it has come back from its ‘service’ at the shop the day before. The gears also needed re-indexing as again my local bike shop didn’t seem to have done this properly even though it was one of the things I had booked it in for (I won’t be using them again it has to be said!).
So a full week before the race I had handed my bike and bike kit over and it was one less thing to worry about in the days before flying out to Majorca. This was a huge weight of my mind after the stress I had breaking down the rather complex front end of my TT bike for a flight to Lanza a couple months previously.
On the Tuesday before my race I got a text message from Grant telling me my bike was all sorted and the gears had been re-indexed and it was at their Villa in Alcudia ready and waiting. This put my mind at rest and meant I could concentrate on race prep, packing and the final weeks training.
I was very lucky to have two close friends racing this with me. Claire (also a member of Team Race force) and Anna are two of a group of close friends I have made from my local Triathlon club. We decided to make this race a bit of a girls holiday too as we were setting of on Thursday with return flights on the Monday. Unfortunately due to Claire’s son having an accident shortly before the holiday, she didn’t fly out with us as originally planed and had to join us on the Friday instead. Luckily though her little boy is well on the mend and she was still able to join us, her family had agreed she couldn’t miss out on this race so convinced her it was the right thing to come out and meet us, just a day later than originally planned.
When myself and Anna landed in Majorca, we were met by Louise and Kate’s dad, who were collecting Anna’s bike as part of the airport collect Raceforce service. They kindly gave us both a lift to the hotel before taking Anna’s bike back to base to be built. Once myself and Anna had unpacked and had a quick reccie of the area we went to register for the race and then made our way over to the Raceforce stand on the expo.
My bike was already for collection and Anna’s bike was just being finished off. We took all the bikes (including Claire’s) back to the hotel and then went back to meet Kate for a gentle little ride to test our bikes and have a little explore.
Needless to say, the lead up to race day went past in a blur…… race day itself was amazing and I have a separate blog on that. After the race, I went home to shower and eat then had a walk (more of a hobble) over the the expo with my bike and luggage to drop off with Kate and the Race force team. Thats was it – no more worries about bikes – we were free to party and celebrate, and party we did!!
The day after our flight home, the bikes were delivered back to us. The whole shipping concept to me is so much easier than worrying about the time / effort / and technical worries of dismantling, packing and re-building a bike when you only have a few days total in the country your racing in.
I am using the ams service again for IM Austria next month and cant wait to get back out there racing (and socialising) with Team Raceforce!!
Thanks to Kate and Grant and the rest of the Raceforce team.
So here we go! My first race report of the 2014 season. A race I have been really looking forward to but at the same time, a little surprised about how quickly it seemed to sneak up on me. It seems only weeks ago that I was winter training and races seemed to be months away but you know if it, your packing and heading of the the airport!
I was very lucky to have two close friends racing this with me. Claire and Anna are two of a group of close friends I have made from my local Triathlon club. We decided to make this race a bit of a girls holiday too as we were setting of on Thursday with return flights on the Monday. Unfortunately due to Claire’s son breaking his arm and needed an op, she didn’t make it out with us as originally planed and had to join us on the Friday instead. Luckily though her little boy is well on the mend and she was still able to join us, just a day alter than originally planned.
My aims for this race;
To practice my new nutrition strategy – following last years issues I have changed my pre race diet for the week leading up to the race to be wheat free and also changed my race nutrition to be wheat free and more natural. One key area of this has been using Advanced Tri Fuel for pre race drink, bike fluids and start of run leg fuel.
Secondary aim – I needed to feel like I paced my race correctly without blowing up and slowing down at any stage. My coach’s ideal for pacing is to see a very slightly increasing HR over the bike and run legs so that i’m pretty much cycling and running to achieve negative splits.
Third aim – to achieve a personal best after i was literally destroyed by first Half IM last year at Wimbleball.
Generally speaking – I loved this race!
The sea swim was fab. As my coach had advised, I decided to start very near the front, it’s a narrow start funnel only about 15 people wide so I was about 2nd row. I did get bashed about a bit and an elbow to one goggle eye but it didn’t displace them and I swam on through. I was very pleased with my sighting but couldn’t draft as much as I wanted to as some of the feet I tried to get on were drifting off course so I obviously didn’t want to be pulled in the wrong direction. I stayed very close to the buoys so maybe I needed to be a little further from them in order to catch onto some faster feet!!
Swim split – 32:15Over the moon with this!
T1 – 05:31.I missed my bike rack (school girl error) so lost time running on and down the crazily long transition area!
The bike leg was amazing, having spent a week cycling in Majorca this time last year I knew the kind of terrain to expect and was really looking forward to it. This race is the first time I’ve used my race bike properly and my god it felt fast! The bike course is amazing, a massive hill that lasts about 15km and some undulations but lots of long flat sections where I felt I was really tanking it along. There is an amazing long hair pin descent which I loved even though I’m rubbish at technical descents and lost a lot of time in that section. I also lost time trying to drink on the flats as i could reach my bottles whilst on climbs or fast descents so I think some form of speedfil bottle will be a valuable addition to my bike set up in time for my next IM. I finished the bike split feeling good and well fuelled after taking 3 full bottles of ATF, along with some non wheat based solid fuel.
Bike split – 03:03:00 Again, very happy with this split.
T2 – 02:35. I still haven’t learnt the trick of having shoes clipped into pedals and leaving them clipped in after dismount so this slowed me a little too but I’ll be working on this for my next race.
The run was also great. I started the race with a steady start which allowed me to get another bottle of ATF down me before I picked up the pace. The long out and back was a little boring at times but I had a plan and stuck to it which meant I knew I could ramp up the pace on the second and third and laps. At a point on the third lap when I was questioning if I could keep the pace up until the end, my friend Claire saw me and could see the pain I was in, she simply shouted ‘dig deep Allie’ and I knew I had to if I wanted to stay ahead of some people I had just passed on lap 2! I managed a good negative split with a very strong final 3miles so I was really pleased with how i pushed myself and keep the pace increasing up until i crossed the finish line.
Run split – 01:46
Overall, I’m over the moon, I didn’t have a time in mind for this race but simply wanted to feel like I had pushed hard and bettered my Wimbleball race of last year.
This race gave me a PB of nearly and hour and a half so I can’t complain about that. I know Wimbleball is a slower course but I’m set to return there next to settle some unfinished business after it destroyed me last year!!
Thanks to my friends mitten and Claire for being fab holiday / race buddies. It’s lovely to make more than just a race of a trip to somewhere as nice as Majorca.