I entered the standard distance Cotswold End of Season triathlon by Events Logic a few weeks ago. I hadn’t raced since Geneva (which seems like a lifetime ago in early July) and I wanted to put myself into a relaxed but competitive atmosphere ahead of my first 70.3 distance at the end of the month.
Training through August has gone really well. I’ve relished the challenge of turning all the Training Peaks sessions Blair has set to green (ie, they’re completed!). I’ve averaged around 15 hours a week with quality sessions across all 3 disciplines. Blair has set longer bike and run sessions in prep for the 70.3, which in their own right have been going strong. However, during the longer brick sessions I’ve struggled to find a decent run pace. It’s getting there, but peeling myself off of the tri bars after a couple of hours and trying to run tall and fluid is taking some learning!
Approaching the race I felt relaxed and strong in the knowledge that I’m in good shape. I did this race last year and it’s a cracker – friendly marshals, interesting bike route and tough run. I came 5th in 2014 so had my eyes on the podium. Fortunately, conditions were very similar to last year which would allow me to compare this years’ numbers to last. Last year I did:
Swim – 20:20
What a difference warming up in the water makes. Whenever I haven’t been able to do so, I’ve struggled for a few hundred meters. Today, however, we were given 5 minutes to acclimatise and I did a few 50m sprints to get the blood flowing.
As the horn sounded, I burned towards the first buoy feeling great. I positioned myself on the left so I could see everyone as I breathed to my right. I smiled as I dropped everyone early and had a gap by the first buoy of a few seconds. I settled into a comfortable rhythm and the gap began to stretch…so much so that it unnerved me a little. Had I missed a buoy?! Nope, I was just flowing nicely and loving it.
Sighting practice paid off as I swam nice and straight (first time for everything) from buoy to buoy and exited a good 30 seconds ahead of second place. Happy days. I felt ready to give it some beans on the bike.
Bike – 1:04.52
A motorbike led me on the bike for the first few miles – another novelty – while I found my rhythm. Once he’d peeled off, it was just me and the road basically time trialling the 2 lap 40km course. With a couple of dead stops, some awful road quality and a traffic pinch points, it wasn’t the fastest course but undulated nicely through the Cotswolds. Kerry had jumped in her van and leapfrogged to a few points around the course which provided great encouragement while I rode on my tod. I found my heart rate sit at an uncomfortably comfortable 160bpm and I tapped out the first lap no dramas.
Onto the second, my speed remained around 24mph, but my HR dropped about 10 beats. I wonder if that’s because I finally settled and I did question whether to push harder to raise it again or consolidate. I chose the latter and kept consistent through the 2nd 20km. It was a bit boring not having anyone to chase and was mentally harder being on my own, but it was thrilling to lead!
I took on 3 gels and a bottle of SIS before shifting to a higher cadence for the final few minutes to take the pressure off my legs and ready them for the run.
Run – 34:00
The run course is a lovely trail around the perimeter of the lake to be completed 6 times. It’s rutted, uneven and twisty, making it slow and impossible to see ahead or behind. James Coleman was behind me – he started in a later wave – and knowing what an uber biker and runner he is, I expected to see him motoring around but I didn’t (thankfully he isn’t a fish in the water yet!).
I didn’t have much in me by the finish and crossed the line fairly wiped, but delighted to lead all the way. I waited to watch the other waves come in, with a keen eye on James, but thankfully no one snuck under my time.
Total time: 2:01.02
My second win of the season – bosh. Delighted, particularly considering my time was over 5 minutes faster than last year and just 3 minutes off the course record…I’ll be back next year. Big thanks to Kerry for the support and Blair for the training…it’s all coming together nicely. Check out Blair’s new website.
A couple of easy days before one more week of training heading into the 70.3. Looking forward to it.