I had a great time today. It was very hard, but I loved it. Ok, I may not have loved it all while I was doing it but now, achy, laying on the sofa, I feel great.
Swim: I was disappointed with my swim. The start was where it went wrong. I started at the front and decided not to go as hard as normal to start with and got caught in the thick of things. The person to my left decided that they actually wanted to swim to my right so they sometimes swam into me. The guy on the right of me kept banging me in the head. He probably got me around ten times. Ten times. Some of those times I was trying to breath and I couldn’t. After a while, I got bored with this. I couldn’t breathe properly and I couldn’t swim away so I decided to stop swimming. After he got ahead, I watched his stroke and saw that his left arm swung all the way horizontally round. It wasn’t deliberate. I then got banged around a bit by the people who were either side of me and who were, before I stopped, behind me. As I hadn’t got my breath back, it effected me and I decided to stop again for a couple of seconds.
After that, I took it steady and got my breath back, gradually feeling better and better. Finding a draft proved difficult as most people were swimming my kind of speed. One guy with a red cap went by me on the second lap but he started going to the left. I followed him a bit before deciding to let him go.
I caught the last people in the second wave at corner three and after that it was an uneventful swim. Some drafting, swim around them, draft some more, swim around again.
Time: no idea, but I guess around 30 mins
T1: this went ok but was not too fast as I had to pack my stuff away in the bag. A huge amount of steam came off the wetsuit when I took it off. I have never seen that before. I had a problem in that I felt a bit giddy and at one stage nearly fell over backwards when I tried to stand up. It didn’t last long though.
Guessing about 3 mins.
Official time was 32:50 (8th percentile). The swim was short compared with last year: 36:16 (5th percentile)
Bike: I changed my plan from yesterday and decided to go harder than I would normally do and see what happened. So I did. I found it quite hard on the long bits where there was a strong headwind and my legs were really feeling it.
I felt fine on the main part of the course but quite cold going through the bits under the trees.
I stopped after 100m to check the brakes as I heard what sounded like rubbing, but it wasn’t
I was pleased that my power numbers were: AP= 201W and NP=209W. This is more than I have ever done in a half-ironman distance race (last year it was 195W/204W).
Total time: 2:58:29. I think this includes the run out of T1 (about 100m) and none of T2. 29th percentile (last year 29th percentile as well). My actual riding time is 4 mins 32s faster than last year.
T2: a bit slow as I was a bit all-over-the-place (and put on socks).
Run: The plan originally was not to walk but then I saw people walking up the 25% hill about a mile in. But I still decided to run. I ran about 2/3rds of it and then my two quad muscles closest to my knee (vastus medialis) started claiming. So I walked about for about 20 seconds and then carried on running.
At the half way point, I worked out I was on for a 1:51:30 time if the run was the full 21.1k. That was not to be. The second-half had some big, steep hills in. In ran up Sandy Gallops ok. I ran most of Heartbreak Ridge (again, I walked for about 20 seconds 2/3rds of the way up to ease the heart rate up a bit). The hill at the end before you got to the road was also walked (2x 20 seconds worth).
My pins and needles first got noticed 28:40 into the run. I had decided beforehand just to run through them. Most of the time it wasn’t a problem, I just couldn’t feel my feet too much. A couple of times I tripped or landed badly but it didn’t give me a huge amount of trouble. I did take the steeper downhills a bit easier as I was worried about tripping.
The first mile or so of the run, a few people were overtaking me. After that, I started over-taking people. From mile 10 or so, people again started overtaking me. I think my legs had run out of stamina! The last mile on the road, I held my own again. I worked incredibly hard, face contorted, concentrating, working, hard. Very hard. But my pace was no where near the effort I was putting in.
At the end, I got pipped of one place in a sprint finish. Oh well.
Not sure what my actual running time was but, including T2 it was 2:0:9. Slow. But the course was just over 22k, so a little long. If T2 was 3 mins and I allowed 5 mins for the extra length then 1:52 is not too bad bearing in mind the terrain.
That’s 27th percentile (last year 38th percentile – but I was getting over my torn calf muscle).
Overall, I did 5:31:29. That’s 21st percentile (same as last year). I was aiming for 5:30 so a little disappointed but I would have got there is the run was the right length
Tips for next time…
1. Going harder on the bike worked. Staying with people (legally) as they went by me worked. Perhaps I went a fraction too hard in the first hour but it worked.
2. Chill on the swim. Because I got hit a lot and couldn’t breath when I wanted to I got worried and stopped for a few seconds. Next time, I should have pushed the guy to the left of me out of the way or gone faster.
3. For a race like this one, I need a lot more leg strength on the run! I practice hills. But I don’t think I practice enough hills at the end of long runs at a hard enough pace. Most triathlons don’t have run legs like this though!