Sunday, 26 June 2016

Avenger 70.3 - first ever! 4th. Great day.

The day starts with an early wake up call, 4.15am! Not cool. I need to eat around 2.30-3 hours before the race starts, and I am due in the water for 7.30am so I have to eat around 4.30-5am, very early for most on a Sunday, but I have come to expect these things now in the world of multi-sport. Breakfast is done and time to get myself ready and load the car. Run through a quick check list; bike, helmet, wet suit, tri suit, cycle shoes, trainers, race belt, gels and drinks.

the startThe venue for the race is only a short drive away, so that is brill and allows me to arrive 90 mins before the race was due to start so I am calm and not nervous at all.

Warm up, race briefing about the course and away we go, first middle distance (70.3 or half iron, can take many a name):

  • 2,100m swim (slightly longer than the normal 1,900m)
  • 56 mile bike (90k)
  • 13.1 mile run (20k run)

The swim starts at a much steadier pace than I expected, and to be honest with what was yet to come for the day it was fine with me. I didn’t know what to expect and I was very happy with the way it went. I am not the best swimmer and didn’t really know where I can out of the swim, it was around 20-25th I think. I was able to take a few places with a quick transition onto the bike.

bikesT1 – wetsuit off fast and shoes on, off we go.

The bike starts well. Recently I have had some fuelling issues on the bike. The first 30 miles are strong, and then boom, legs went a little. It wasn’t due to fuelling with gels and electrolytes but due to lack of water, just plain water to keep the body ticking over. This was a huge lesson learnt moving forwards with racing and something I will not get wrong again. After picking up some water from the feed station I was them able to kick start myself back into the race and motor on again.

runningThe bike legs were affected a little bit with this and that was
annoying as I probably lost between 3-6 mins with the lack of power which was not cool. I passed 7-8 people on the bike leg and was only caught by one, so all in all a solid move up in the race and gained some solid positions. 56 miles done and I was looking forward to getting off the bike and get running, only a half marathon to go.

T2 – feet out, roll through, rack bike, trainers on, grab gels and off
we run.

The run started well and I settle in quickly, I grabbed two gels and planned on sipping them every so often through the run and this worked well. This was only the second half marathon I have ever ran and didn’t know how I was going to go or last.

runningThe pace was good and I was running with another dude from the race, although after 5k he burnt out and I left him. I was making ground on everyone and catching quite a lot of people. I caught three places within the first 2 or 4 laps and my pace and form felt strong, although I was fighting the onset of cramp in my left hamstring for the whole of the thankfully didn’t kick in but it really wanted to! Arrrrr so close!

runningI was running strong and actually really enjoying it, I was catching people slowly and onto my final lap where I passed another two people. At the time I didn’t know but I was actually in 4th, and with
a kilometre to go I could see someone else in my race I gave it a lot, probably not everything which I do now regret. Especially as it would have meant a podium position but I did try hard to catch him and he certainly would not have expected anyone to come from behind this late in the race. I was 5 seconds behind him as he crossed the line, I'm a little gutted about that, but still very happy with 4th in my first ever 70.3!

the finish lineIt was a great day and I learnt a lot about myself and racing longer distances. I feel it suits me much more due to the less frantic swim, and the longer legs in the two disciplines I am stronger in.

So all in all a very good day and very happy with the way it went, room for improvement. But not for a little rest as the past 8 weeks have been hard work. But great fun!