With the biggest improvement coming from the bike. Which is rather surprising, I haven’t been working on my bike as much as the other 2, and lately I have been a little worried that my bike has been a bit slow. Well, I don’t think I am going to worry about that now. It won me the day, and by won, I mean it literally. Some how I won my age group.
That’s not supposed to happen to me, I don’t “win” things. I am just out there to do my best. I was quite shocked to be at the top. Of course, it does depend who’s entered your age group, and mine was a bit weak this year, but shite it probably not going to happen again, so I am going to be quite proud of my medal. I was 9th overall, out of about 37, so to say I am rather chuffed is an understatement.
But what has actually got me more chuffed, is the amount of time I took out of last year. 23min to be exact, I was hoping for it, but really did not expect to pull it off. It was in the “plan”, the way I enacted the plan, maybe not as I intended. But let me start at the beginning.
Me and Em headed up to Ashburton on Friday night, so it was quite a relaxing morning compared to last year. No headless chicken running around for me. When I first looked out the window in the morning, I saw blue sky, and was a little bit hopeful. But the grey clouds came over and it never got much warmer.
I really didn’t want to do another “cold” half like last year. I just didn’t wan to be there at the start. If someone said, let’s go home I probably would have jumped in the car.
I was indecisive about what I was going to wear on the bike, but I decided to learn from last year, and not just go with vest and arm warmers, I decided to put on my winter riding jacket, and now am really, really glad I did. But I had all the options laid out in transition “Just in case”.
Swim – 28:41, 3rd Female.
2009: 32:09, improved by 3min 19sec
Once you get racing, those negative thoughts just kind of disappear. I so didn’t know this course, I thought we’d have to go around the 5knot buoy at the start, but turns out you didn’t. I just gave up knowing where I was going and followed the person in front and hope they knew. I know, I know you should know the course, but I had trouble hearing at the briefing, so just assumed.
There wasn’t much biffo at the start, so I settled into work quite quickly. I struggled with breathing properly. It was like I couldn’t get a full breath, I finally burped at the on the 2nd lap and breathing came easier. As I was going along, at times I thought I was by myself, but then I got to a bouy, and it turned out some people must have been drafting off me so they beat me around the bouy, bashing me a bit. I thought that was just rude, if they’d been sitting on me they ould show a little consideration. I then tried to sit on one guys hips, but he stopped every so often to do a breaststroke kick, and when he did he kicked me in the stomach, the 2nd time that happened, I decided probably best not to be on his hips.
Its tough up with the front group, there was biffo and no give way from anyone, I was quite over it by the time I got out. Well fell out, I fell over a couple of time trying to get out of the water.
T1 – 1:39
It was a mad dash through transition. I struggled to get the jacket on. And after that fluffling decided it was best not to waste more time putting gloves on.
Bike – 2:44:46, 2nd Female
2009: 3:01 (unofficial, the official time included both transitions) improved by 16min
I just smashed it from the start, I span my legs to start with, than moved to a bigger gear. Probably took me half the first lap to get my breath back. I was cruising along quite happily on the first half of the lap, when a large bunch caught me about 10min before the turn around. I found myself at the back of the bunch, trying to avoid drafting. But I wasn’t happy and I didn’t want to be caught in this bunch for the rest of the ride, so I put the hammer down and just smashed it, over taking all of them again. I didn’t see any of them again for the rest of the race.
Then I got into a leap froging situation with one guy, and we pretty much stayed together for the rest of the ride. After the first lap, we were joined by 2 other guys. I now know what people mean when they say it’s easier when you stay in a pack, even if you are the legal distance away, you get a benefit. I decided to try to stick with them, though it was hard at times not to draft, the guy in front would slow down and you’d suddenly find yourself on his tail. So you’d pull out and wait for him to speed up, otherwise overtake. On the final stretch back to the end of the 2nd lap, we had bunched up a bit, I got caught behind one guy, who was blocking, so I couldn’t overtake. The guy next to me said stop drafting. It was like nothing much I could do other than slow down.
Anyway, that guy must have got his a bee in his bonnet and I reckon he didn’t like that I was keeping up with them (I can see no other explanation). He was normally in the lead, so quite frankly he probably see what I was doing most of the time, but some way down the out straight on the 3rd lap, he looks behind, slows down comes down beside me and tells me to stop drafting. I was gobbsmacked, I hate drafters as much ss the next person. I admit there was times when I was too close. But I was staying 2 bike lengths away most of the time.
He then went back up to the front, but kept on looking back at me. I was getting a bit paranoid, so let more space between us. And soon lost contack with the group. Didn’t really care that much, other than I could see that guy going “See you couldn’t keep up with us without drafting”.
I had decided early on, that I use the final back as a rest for my legs, as it had a slight tail wind. So lost them all together as I spun out the final stretch.
(I couldn’t get to sleep last night,as I was thinking about this drafting incident. Did I get too much advantage off them? I concluded no, I wasn’t constantly sitting on them, I was in front some of the time, and when I wasn’t I was the legal distance away (unless my perception of the legal distance is wrong).
T2 – 1:58
I didn’t sit down this year to get my socks and shoes on, but it was a close run thing 🙂
Run – 2:09:57, 24th Female
This is the most disappointing part of the day. I was aiming for 2hrs. But after smashing out the bike, I didn’t have enough gogo juice in the legs. Part of today was about trusting the legs to handle a smashing on the bike and to see how much of a smashing they could handle. Well I found out the bike was just a little bit too smashed.
My first lap went OK, I was keeping to the 2hr pace mainly, but on the 2nd lap I started getting 6min K’s and my legs well and truly felt it. So I just kept on saying to myself keep cadence up and hips forward. On the 2nd lap, the team runners started to pass me, and every single one of them seemed inclined to say “Looking good”, or “Your going well” or some such. Well yes thankyou, while I wasn’t hitting the pace I wanted I was actually feeling pretty good. I know each and every one of them meant well, but really you don’t need to say anything.
At the end of my 2nd lap, Graham past me at the start of the board walk, and as I was coming around I saw him finish. Zarnia and Rachel were there cheering me on, and for some unexplained reason right at that point I wanted to cry, Graham had finished and I still had a lap to go. Rachel said “Keep it steady”. Thanks Rach, Thats got to be the most helpful thing anyone said to me. I got my head back together, concentrated on cadence and keeping hips forward. This year they had changed the course, so you had to go up the stairs at the end of the board walk. I thought that was just cruel.
Well, about 2K into that final lap I hit a wall of some description. It was a very hard point, going down that grassy verge all the way around the back off the lake, I was very glad to get to the aid station and have a drink of coke. Felt betteer after that and continued on, only about 3K to the finsh from there. I was glad to get to the little out and back, but coming back I saw Em (I was rather surprised she hadn’t passed me yet). I thought crap she’ll catch me, so picked up my pace a little bit and finished strong.
I was very surprised that the clock was under 5:30 and absolutely knackered.
Total time: 5:27:01, 9th Female
Nutrition went really well, Powergels didn’t bother my stomach and I was consistently drinking and taking them every 45min.
Tip of the day: Cut your toe nails before you race. I could feel my little toe nail digging in on the last lap