Disclaimer: This contains repeated information from my previous blog post but is written for the benefit of my Triclub and more of a report than a blog post..
Sunday 5:45 alarm goes off, worked out this is too early. Snooze to 6:30am and then realise I should get my butt in gear.
Quick bowl of Kelloggs Start and I jump (wrestle could also be used) into my Trisuit which as it happens will be the first time in the new one! They always say, you have to try out your suit before you race in it. These people also say you have to do some run training before you race too.. who these people are I have no idea but I haven’t followed either of these people’s advice.
So underprepared I headed to Fife. I queried whether or not I was in Scotland as the weather was fair and warm with NO WIND. I decided that I was as I arrived into Loch Gelly – they only have Lochs in Scotland you see! 🙂
I was the only member representing GRC Tri today, others according to our president a la facebook, had other plans or were too much of a whoose! (I may have made that last bit up). So there I was, all alone, arriving into the country park. I managed to park well and this at first sight seemed to be a well organised event.
After parking and registering getting my number drawn onto my body with more than usually permanent ink (it is still on 30hrs later – and yes I have washed several times!) I went back to my car to get the bike (it’s first outing at a race) (by the way I like to use brackets) I went and set up my transition.
Transition was busy, I was a little late. I managed to rack the bike and set myself up – Cycle shoes, helmet, race belt, run shoes, sunglasses, socks (if needed) Water – to wash the sand off feet (if needed).
I also had my wetsuit out and my swim goggles and two hats. This caught the eye of another guy who asked if two hats were necessary. I tried to explain no, but the one they give you is pretty thin so he panicked and went to get another hat!
This is also about the time I realised I was a bit screwed as I had nowhere to stow my car key. No support crew either to hold it, hmm! A quick dash back to the car to stow my bag and then dash back into transition before it closed to stow my key in my bike bag! Phew crisis over. It’s funny how the small things make you panic – or it could just be me.
My strategy for this race was to just finish it in one piece, no more injured than I currently was. As most know, since last September I’d been out with an ITB issue on my left knee and since April I’ve been nursing an overuse injury on the right knee. Doomed I am! I had been managing the pain on my cycles but the run training was not present apart from Aqua Jogging.. which doesn’t count! With the above in mind, I was to take it easy on the ride and the run with the swim being the only part I could actually put my foot down – as it were. Although, in Ironman training, I shouldn’t be training hard nor pushing myself to any limit – yeah right?
This was also to be my first mass start. I had been to Lochore last Wednesday so I could get a feel for the water – which I will recommend to anyone to get some pre-race jitters out the way.
I was apprehensive over the mass start as I have heard so many tall tales over the pulling, drowning, kicking and slapping done in this part of the race that I didn’t know what to expect.
9:10 came, the start of the seniors, the women and whoever else had started 10mins away and the splashes and yellow hats were moving slowly in the distance. I’d just come out from having a ‘warm up’ in the water. Warm up – or rather cool down as the sun was beating down warming me up like a microwave inside my wetsuit. This cool down was great as I had got over the initial feeling of hitting the water.
Horn blows, everyone starts running, little did I know but even though I thought I was near the back of the start line, actually people had crept behind me and I saw myself near the front! DOH! The strategy of staying back and wide went straight out the water because of that! (pardon the rubbish pun).
I found myself doing water polo technique for about a min while I got my own bit of the water, I didn’t get punched or kicked as much as I thought I would, but I think I did kick a few people – oops sorry!
I managed to get myself into a rhythm. One two three, breath (right), one two three, breath (left) SIGHT! and repeat. This worked well and I managed to draught a few people. The bouy turns were interesting as people fought for position.
I started passing yellow hats, these were the women (and whoever else) and eventually I was nearing the beach. How would my run out work? THis was my first experience of this. I hadn’t even practiced. Such a newbie!
Anyway up I popped and started to leap over the water like a gazelle – or rather ungracefully skip over the water like a fanny. I exited and then I remembered I should be stripping. Fumbling for the velcro and zip pull I managed to losen my wetsuit DOH! I have my garmin watch on and it wont let me out of my wetsuit arm!
At this point I was delirious. I get a bit dizzy and out of it when I exit from OW swimming, nevermind a race and running at the same time. So I decided to help my get out of this wetsuit I was going to have to sit on the floor. This is totally reflected in my 2min transition time.
Out of transition – again I really need to work on this – though it is less important for Ironman. I don’t know how to run out barefoot and slip into shoes while mounting the bike. I instead, put shoes on in transition and then mounted my bike like a granny would on her great big basketed bike. Less of grannies – more about triathlon bike leg…
The only part of the bike leg I was familar with was the access road and the bit at the end of the bike that you drive through lochgelly to get to the park. This turned out to be a mistake.. Always reccie the route so you know the hills, twists, potholes etc.
Even though I was wearing the garmin I didn’t really check it out throughout the ride. I seemed to be doing OK, I was getting taken by TT bikes and their riders, but I was taking out the women (not literally).
The road surface was manky and there was even chips on the Leven road! Not the edible kind but the really small stone kind.
The main road to Cowdenbeath though was fun, a bit down hill and nice n smooth. Again, no idea how fast I was going but it seemed OK and what is more, the knee was not grumbling! I did think this could have been due to race adrenaline but then again it could be OK? Yeah?
Cycling through Lochgelly I noted the DANGER sign and applied my brakes, oops I forgot to put the brake callipers back together on my front tyre when I reattached after transporting.. Braking was difficult because of this. Luckily the back brake was OK and I was able to slow down instead of careering into the high school.
Again, dismounting is was as graceful as mounting. I felt good at this point, not out of breath and ready to run.
Opting for socks as I didn’t want the grit in my cylcing shoes to plague me on the run (yes I forgot to splash the water Tina told me to use to wash off the sand) It took me a while to get out of this transition as well as attempting to tie my laces three times – failing each time.
Out on the run, it was HOT! Boy was I glad to be in a tri suit! Feeling awesome I was running well, despite not having ran for ages. Turn around point, water station – NO thanks I shouted to the lady offering me a cup of water! (such an impractical water carrying device for someone who is running) – anyway 3km in I was gasping.. I should have taken some water! Stich ensued, grr! run through it. 4km in, Left ITB was getting achy! DOH! I thought I was rid of that injury – why is my right knee not hurting I thought? Not wanting to tempt fate but also at this point I glanced at my watch 1:18! I upped the pace, forgot about the ITB (Sorry Tina) and then ran on to the finish line.
Crossing the finish line – no bananas left but there was ample water and also free P20 sunlotion to be had if you filled in a survey. Which I did while I was cooling down in the sun.
Feeling good I left on a high knowing that I put in my best effort even if I did take my time on the bike and the run – or so I thought!
750 Swim: 13:26
24km Bike: 44:13
5km Run: 21:13
All in all 1:22:41 and placing 127th in total!
I’m fairly happy with that. No PB on the run but the bike was speedy for me. Plus the swim was good for me too.
Actually thinking about the run – I should be really pleased with that time due to the amount of training I didn’t put in! 🙂
What have I learnt?
Practice transition for sprints
Get a bigger wetsuit for next time
Risking wearing a new trisuit could pay of – and it did – no chaffing BONUS!
Talk to randoms – it helps you calm down – even if you do make them worry in doing so!
Listen to Tina (about water and everything else)
Just because you rest – doesn’t mean the injury will heal
Just because you rest – doesn’t mean your performance will suffer either
Just because you rest – you will get fatter (wetsuit issue)