event: Warwickshire Triathlon
distance: Supersprint (200m,23k,2.5k)
position overall: 1/84
allow me to preamble (and apologise for a long race report! i promise it's vaguely interesting!)
while my major race achievement this year was undertaking my first Olympic distance tri, the goal has always been to place at the Warwickshire tri. I knew that by doing the supersprint distance that I’d have a chance, not at first; but at second or third.
something went right, so here’s how the day panned out;
i arrived early, to watch the boy sprinters hit the pool. I was supporting two mates, Craig (who did a smashing job on first tri!!) and Will (who is officially to blame for getting me into this business). Admittingly i was slightly distracted by the visual onslaught of fit boy triathletes. Always a pleasant aside to the actual race itself.
not long after my training peeps arrived on the scene and we spent our usual ‘far too long’ faffing around with our gear and rubbishing each other with good natured overly competitive talk. here’s a picture of us looking friendly, but secretly planning overtakes and tri related ambushes (L to R, deniz, me, paul, lisa)
the swim (200m pool)
predicted time: 3.30
actual time: 3.40
previous time: 3.45
i wasn’t too worried about the swim. i knew that my generic time was going to be good enough for a place, and the key were in the legs to follow. so i hit the pool, and kept a pretty consistent speed without going totally nuts. i tried a new technique too! as it’s a pool swim we needed to change lanes, and previously at this event i’d hit the end of the pool, then duck under, then take off. but watching the boys in the morning had introduced a faster means of moving across; where you hit the end, then push off, changing lanes underwater. it looked rather impressive and a *lot* quicker, so of course i had to give it a go. it worked pretty well, except i spent a long time underwater, which i wasn’t used to, and my breathing did suffer. but i wasn’t worried about it, and ended up with a (husband timed swim) of 3.29 which is a good time for me. so, out of the pool, and into T1.
i have a new t1 top tip kids, and it worked a treat this time so allow me to divulge. once you’ve racked your bike, go and stand at the entry you’ll be arriving from the swim and look at your position from this angle; then find your marker to make you remember. i used to find my marker based on where my bike was actually racked; but this isn’t the perspective which will help you find your stuff because you’re already there (cough, cough). or maybe i was the only other person not doing this right (very possible).
so t1 was pretty smooth. no major issues, grabbed bike, HR not through the roof from swim, feeling good + off i went.
bike (23 kms and T1)
predicted time: 49 minutes
actual time: 48 minutes
last event time: 51 minutes
i knew the bike was important to getting a place, so my plan was to ride hard. my running is still rubbish enough to put me at the back of the field, but my cycling can (and does!) pull me back into contention. so needless to say there was no singing (or thought of song) for the duration!
the bad news was that nobody on the cycle overtook me, so i had no pace maker. this was what drove my time down last time i did the event, so i was a little concerned i wasn’t going to be able to push myself alone, just by overtaking others.
fortunately my lovely first time tri-ing friend Lisa had started six minutes before me; so i knew that if i managed to catch her then i was in good form. she was my benchmark. i had already told her of my plan, and had even revealed the sound effect i would make if i did pass her, and it went like PPPpppCHHHhhEEEeeWWWW *someone whizzing past*
Lisa was wearing black, this i knew. but this was all i knew. so every woman i approached wearing black became a potential Lisa. I’d get close, ready to make my little sound, then get close and realise, nope, no Lisa.
At one very terrible moment which i’d like to scratch from my memory but am strangely recording here; i came up behind a woman who i was convinced was Lisa. during the passing moment i turned my head and had half spoken my “PpppCCHHhhhEEEE--” when i discovered from the look of horror on her face, that it was not Lisa. Oh the shame. What must she have thought!!!
Finally, though, as we hit a hill on a dual carriage way, I found her. And this time, playing it safe from the previous tragedy, I held my tongue with the sound effects. After this, knowing I was up a good six minutes, I felt like the place was within my reach. Yipppeee!
So finally I hit the home stretch, changed gear and started spinning, trying to ready myself for the run ahead. I suspected with this cycle time, i wasn’t going to need to go nuts on the run to hit my ideal time, but i still wanted that PB.
another disaster! the only thing indicating my space was a little towel and it had blown away! eeek! So i racked my bike randomly and took off! (note: leave my bag next time)
Run (2.5k and T2)
estimated time: 13.30
actual time: 14.11
last event time: 14.30
i wish i could write good things. i wish i could say that all those hard runs i did paid off. the hills, the humidity, the sprints, the pushing myself through all that damn pain... nothing. well, 20 seconds... basically nothing.
i’ve made a realisation, with gritted teeth. i’ve worked so hard at running faster, and despite my stats i’m sure i’ve picked up a bit of speed. however, i’ve not practiced bricks. really, at all.
so, what’s happening? i cycle hard, get off my bike in pain, and end up running at my ye olde slow comfortable pace because i’m in pain, or fighting a calf seizure or something. sure i might be running faster independently, but that’s no use in this game. i need to combine the two! how i’ve managed to miss this from my training is quite ridiculous, but here i am, with a measly twenty second gain. rubbish.
but you know what, it didn’t matter! my cycle time was enough to carry me through the lame run (thank you cycle time!) I finished to a brilliant crowd support (thanks so much; Mum, Dad, Ant, Ray, Wendy, Richard, Will). I had a good feeling at this point because nobody had overtaken me throughout the whole race, and i’d hit my goal time; yipppeee!
we made our into the ceremony space, where triathletes were gathered, hoping for good news. training peeps paul + deniz were also finger crossing for a place.
paul’s place was announced; he came second! massive congratulations!!
then the women were announced. third place went to... second place went to... i knew getting first wasn’t likely, but then second place had got 1.09 and i’m sure i was faster than that... and then, first place to mmmeeeeeeee!
i was soooo excited i did a little a dance. maybe i did two or three even! i was grinning so much i thought my cheeks might fall off. brilliant! super! yippppeee!
after all the training + hard work, it’s so brilliant to have an actual reward at the end. sure, it’s only a supersprint, but that wasn’t making me grin any less!
(and also a big shoutout to Lisa’s super first tri placing of 24th, and Deniz’s crazy good position of 8th; exceptional job and an excellent grounding to the forthcoming winter training)
ok, so a final thought of the day (jerry springer style). sometimes training can feel never ending, and a bit pointless. but now i’ve realised i can actually achieve the goals i’m placing for myself. and it doesn’t get much better than that :)