A brief (as brief as possible!) update of my thoughts from the last 2 weekends of racing, how times change!
Race 1 – IM 70.3 St Polten
Arrived in Vienna and picked up our wheels for the 4 day stay. Just the 2 of us, but we’ve got our very own van. Bazza the Beast.
Staying in Vienna near the cathedral, beautiful city. Chilled few days before the race driving the bike course – stunning – relaxing in the event village eating pretzels – standard lunch for the 3 days – and relaxing in our hotel suite day room – posh! yep, the hotel room had a hallway…
Swim. Head off at my normal race pace, turns out people go out slower in a 70.3! 100m in and “I’m leading, OMG, i’m leading” calm it down, actually focus on my stroke for the first time ever in a race. get to end of first lake, being a tad competitive decide i want to be first into lake 2, sprint the 90sec or so to lake 2 and yay, still leading, dive in….. “oh my god i’m knackered!” lose the other 2 girls and take about 400m to recover and then pick it up again. 3rd female out the swim. happy with that start!
Bike. All going well, hit the first descent, and uh oh, I discover my carbon rim race wheels don’t brake so well. Anyone that knows me knows i am rubbish at descending at the best of times, add in brakes that don’t work so well, and someone crashing on the bend in front of me, and freak out number 1 of the day happens. come to a stop on the descent. gather myself, push off gingerly. reach the bottom of the hill…. 40mins later i think the adrenalin has stopped being pumped out and i’m about recovered, but i know there is an 8% and a 14% descent to come. Overtake most people up the climb. Descend like a scared granny and lose all those places and more. survive. head for home annoyed with myself!
Run. Here we go. i’ve run a max of 14k about 3 times in the past year so 13-14k before i blow up is my target. dodgy tummy. people are running faster than me. keep running. oh, i’m passing some people too actually, this isnt so bad, i’m not the worst, keep running. dodgy tummy finally passes by about 11k. oh, i’m on the 2nd lap already and not feeling too bad. less than 1 lap to go. oh wow, only 5k to go and i actually feel alright. yay, start upping the pace with 3k to go, this is amazing. ouch, 2k to go, i’m really tired, went a bit early. there it is, the stadium and i can hear the music. sprint finish past the cheerleaders (why aren’t there any half naked men lining the finishing shoot too i wonder?) finish. woohoo. 5.19.33 and not feeling too bad, although my feet hurt a bit. ooohhh, food tent :0)
So, all in all i’m super happy with the 5.19.33, 8th in AG and a 1.40 half marathon off the back of what has not been any targeted training and I know i definitely have not done the run mileage. Maybe this is a better distance for me…. who’d had ever thought i’d say that!
Race 2, 1 week later – Nottingham Sprint
My target was to qualify for Europeans next year in Geneva. Been feeling a bit run down the few days before the race – chest cold. Not in the mood to do a sprint race but looking forward to seeing friends at the race so head up to Nottingham.
Swim. wow there is a lot of people in here, someone is on my back at the start, i don’t think this is going to be fun, gun goes, fight starts. Breathe to the right, get a hand in my face, breathe the left, lose my stroke, someone’s on my feet, i’m on top of someone’s legs – WHERE IS THE CLEAR WATER?! – things haven’t changed all that much by last 200m. Finally there’s the end.
T1. Run up the wrong row, twice.
Bike. Keep it steady to keep breathing ok and not have any chest issues. A few kamikaze geese and chicks crossing the road back and forth keep things interesting, otherwise, 4 pretty standard laps of the lake. no heroics, nothing spectacular.
T2. can’t get my foot in the shoe… always happens when a crowd are watching!
Run. eurgh. not running much faster than last weekend, chest is tight, speedy people are all overtaking me. maybe i’ll walk, no way, i ran 21k last weekend i can defo run 5k this weekend. I hate running round this lake, why doesn’t the end seem to be getting any closer. yay, there’s the finish gantry. damn someone is sprinting behind me, i try to sprint, she takes me 5m from the line. Eurgh, that was horrible.
I ended up coming 4th in my AG so I qualified for Worlds and Euros, but the rose tinted glasses are on and i’m sure St Polten didn’t hurt half as much as that sprint!
It’s 2 weeks till the European Champs now, back to Austria, which means uphills …. and downhills, so i’m not too sure how it will go, but it will be a fun few days. Road trip (yes Rob Q and I are driving… his idea!) and a chance to catch up with friends from around the country. Then i’m looking forward to getting back into training for a while as i’ve been on taper/recovery for about 4 weeks now!