Graham became a Diva…
My week running up to this race wasn’t the best. My runs were very sluggish & didn’t have any zip in my step which was a little bit worrying for a taper week. We travelled up to Chester on Saturday in atrocious weather. The journey took just over 5 & a half hours. When we finally got to our B&B I decided that I just needed to get out on the bike & do a little run so Coach 2 came with me & waited at the bottom of the drive. I then did a 20min bike ride & a 10min run. The pleasing thing about this was the run was a bit more bouncy than I had done in the week. That evening we went off & collected my registration pack then headed off to a nice Italian restaurant in the town. We reccied the bike course, which almost ran past our B&B towards the end of the one lap circuit so headed back to the B&B to get some rest.
Race morning dawned fairly windy but dry & warmish. We arrived at transition at about 7am because we were being thrown out at 8am for an 8:30am swim start. There were 114 in my wave, all 45-49, so this was going to be a big ask to achieve my goal of coming somewhere between 15th & 20th in my age group because this was also a qualifier for the Worlds. Plus I was working off of my race two weeks ago in Shropshire where there was only about 40ish in my age group. So with this many in the wave I expected everyone to be trying to achieve a position in the Worlds.
The swim was 850mtrs up the river & 650mtrs back. I managed to get a clear start on the far side, almost tucked in the over-hanging trees. This wasn’t quite so bad as everyone else seemed to want to be in the middle of the river, so I was quite happy with that. I was very pleased with the way the swim went. There were no untoward incidents of punching or kicking, just a clean swim. It was a little bit difficult coming back as we were swimming against the flow of the river. The exit out of the swim was difficult too, all up hill & 15 steps to navigate before I even reached T1.
I was pleased with T1. I then headed off on the bike for a one lap ride. I managed to keep the one person I came out of the swim with in my sights. I was about 10mins into the ride when the first quick biker came flying past me, never to be seen again. Up to 15K was the first proper test with a constant 2 mile climb, then over the top another 3 more bikers came through but with the steady descent down the other side I just rode my own thing as I didn’t want to go too far into the red trying to hold onto them. The last 10K I seemed to have the wind behind me & was starting to really enjoy the bike ride.
T2 came & went in a flash. Then headed out onto the run for a 3 lap 10K run. This course consisted of a mixture of cobbles, paving slabs, road, grass, single track off road & a suspension bridge. I had previously discussed with Coach 2 that I wasn’t to get too wound up by people overtaking me on the run, as this is definitely not my strongest discipline since the ops on both ankles & with one now starting to play up again. However, Coach 2 said that I was going really well. The first lap seemed to go well but then at the start of the second lap it just didn’t feel right. My hamstrings were feeling a bit tight but once I knew that I was on the third lap & seeing a few of my age group competitors on the out & back section catching me, I just had to bite the bullet & get on with the job in hand, which was to try to run as fast as I could to the finish.
My splits are:
Swim – 25:07 (includes the run to transition)
T1 – 0:54
Bike – 1:04:48
T2 – 0:42
Run – 42:52
Total time – 2:14:25
Overall position – I came 80th out of 621 competitors (10th in my age group – which was very, very pleasing – also, if I’d put my name down for the Worlds, I would’ve qualified outright in 4th place – nuts).
Conclusion – bring on Austria for a the start of my European domination campaign – well, may be!!!