This is my ‘B’ race for the year, the ‘A’ race being the ‘Outlaw’ Ironman in July. My race performance would give an indication of current fitness and highlight areas that are strong/weak. The race also gives me a chance to play around with nutrition.
4hrs 39mins 37secs
Position overall 6th out of 112 starters (5thpercentile)
Age group 1st (40-45)
Swim 29:22 (8th)
Bike 2:34:11 (6th)
Run 1:29:51 (9th)
Transitions 6:11 mins total (3 ½ slower than the fastest)
The previous day saw 30mph winds with 50mph gusts, race day was slightly better at 25m winds and 38mpg gusts! Air temp was reasonable and the ground was dry – just a few spots of rain.
I was up at 5:00 fed and stretched then had a warm up 2 mile cycle to race HQ, where I met Charlie and we registered and racked. I have to say the reg/rack/briefing was one of the simplest I have experienced and the porta loo's were straight off a movie set!
The apparent water temperature was 16 degrees (it didn’t feel it). The water was murky but tasted fine. The course was a letter ‘M’ written from right to left and quite easy to navigate. The high wind made the water surface a bit choppy but not too bad. I got to the front of the pack in the water and we were off without even a countdown. There was little battering at the start and I was able to get clear(ish) water after the first couple of 100m’s. I had several goggle issues but was able to sort it out losing only a few seconds. I then swam side by side with one swimmer for 1/3 of the course before having clean water for the remainder. The ‘M’ shape of the course made for easy sighting of other swimmers as you passed each buoy. The swimmers ahead of me were pretty evenly strung out. I spotted Faye and the kids on the shore and even managed a wave, before exiting in 8th position.
I knew T1 would be slow as I wanted to put on a long sleeve jersey and rain jacket along with gloves, socks and my cycle shoes prior to exiting. A barefoot exit was not possible due to the sharp stoney run out.
I had previously cycled the route on my road bike on a much calmer day. Today, with the westerly gales, I knew some sections would be fast and some painfully slow but I was banking on a fully aero set up (helmet & disc wheel) saving a few minutes. The ride went to plan and I was able to fuel easily. There were some hairy moments passing gaps in the hedges where the wind would push the bike right over but it was manageable (certainly better than the test ride I carried out a day before).
I would have hoped to have been about 3 mins quicker but the hard pushes through the windy miles (and there were a lot of them) took their toll on the average pace. Interestingly my average pace was exactly the same as Ironman Sweden which was obviously twice the distance but probably less windy.
Not a lot to do here other than undress a little and put the running shoes on.
Run 1:29:51 (PB)
On the run exit, Faye told me I was in 6thplace overall and Elliot acted as a pace maker for the first hundred meters (I couldn’t catch him!). The course is flat, relatively sheltered and shaped like a lolly pop. A run out, a loop and then a run back. You only see slower runners for the last two miles. I started out fast and slowed to a 7:00 pace by the half way point and was overtaken by two runners. I gradually picked up the pace for the second half and was able to overtake one runner putting me 7th. With a couple of miles to go, I was closed in on one of runners that had previously over taken me and chat with him for a bit before taking a chance and sprinting for the line with a 6:26 last mile. I finished 6th. Faye and the kids were in the finishing chute ‘screaming’ thinking the runner behind who I had just dropped was gaining on me. After grabbing my medal, I ran a further 100m to ensure the ‘full’ half marathon was ran, knowing a PB was in the bag.
The good and the bad
Wheel choice (Aero set up was on the limit but faster)
Solid ride, despite v-strong winds
Nutrition was perfect for the HIM distance
Half marathon PB! Maybe a fast start, slower middle and fast finish suits me?
Goggles leaked (possible impact at start)
Pushed harder that should have for a ‘B’ race (sore calves and knees)