I did it! I crossed the finish line for the very first time last Sunday and I loved every second of it! Well, nearly every second… The one where my legs didn’t feel like they belonged to me was pretty rough… oh and after having a fairly decent run, watching girls on skinny, light as a feather racing machines, all tucked up onto their tri bars whizzing past me and auld Meatball… that sucked a little as well! But, apart from that it was brilliant!
I was waiting and hoping that I would have some more
hilariously embarrassing race photos to share with this post, hence why it has taken me a week to get it out. However, after scouting around a bit today, all I can find is the photo above that was taken just after we set off! In case you can’t spot me, I’m the idiot in all black, fairly near the front / middle, wearing an oh so attractive skull cap cos’ it’s all I had to ensure my ears didn’t fall off from frostbite… it was THAT cold! ;P I know there was a couple of photographers out there because I kept hearing them clicking away at various points around the course so I will keep my eye out!
The race was well organised, the crowd was friendly and the marshals kept the energy light, helping to calm any pre race jitters! Thank you Hillingdon Triathletes, you were awesome!
A little race recap for you…
After going for my usual 234,000 wee breaks, checking that my number was on the right way up / around and my shoe laces were tied extra tight, it was time for warm up. I went for a bit of a jog, did a few drills and then a few quick changes of pace, just to make sure my legs were awake. I made the mistake of doing a brick the other week without warming up properly (I know, I know but I actually just forgot! I had planned to warm up but as soon as I got out the door I just bolted!) and it was miserable! My legs felt like lumps of wood! So I wasn’t making the same mistake twice! Especially not in 5 degrees… Brrrrr!
When it came to lining up at the start line I actually wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be, I just wanted to get going! The horn blasted and we all set off, I looked at my watch and we were hitting a 6:30min/mile pace… a little too fast for me but then I wasn’t sure what I would be capable of under race conditions so I stuck with it until the group slowed down naturally to about 7:00 / 7:30 min/mile. The leader had shot off and I hadn’t a hope in hell of catching her but I did climb my way up the pack a little. I felt really good and was in a pretty good position. I know I could have pushed harder on that run but I just wasn’t sure how much energy I should use up, so early on… race experience can only come with time though and these are all things I will tweak for next time!
Then came T1 and the bike. I’m not gonna lie, it felt like hard work, it definitely undid a bit of the work I did on the run. To remedy this I plan on putting a lot more training in on the bike. Also, and it’s no excuse for lack of training, but I can totally see the benefit of lighter road / tri bikes. I just couldn’t seem to move us along fast enough! I stripped Meatball of his lock and his tyre pump but then (like an idiot) forgot about the full water bottle so made it a completely pointless act! Ha! Maybe I could do to lose a few pounds too, I think we have gotten comfortable in our relationship! Haha! I will also put it down to a lack of preparation as although I have biked more than 10 miles on many occasions, I have never time trialled it so I was a little naive in my hoping for a time of around 30 minutes… 34:37 was my actual time. Bummer.
Now to T2 and the final run… Well… haha! I nearly skidded into a couple of Marshals after braking a bit too late coming into transition, it was a little wet out and there was a good couple of seconds where I though s*$t!! I’m not gonna stop here! Haha! Luckily I did and I got off the bike and realised that stopping was the very least of my worries! ‘Legs? Hello?? You need to move forwards now, please…’ ‘LEGS!!!’ Haha! Somehow I did manage to move forward but honestly, I felt pretty crap around that second run. I felt like I was running on fumes. I had porridge for breakfast AND a nakd bar a little later so I know my glycogen stores can’t have been depleted but it sure felt like they were! After vowing that no one, I repeat no one was going to overtake me on that last run, I got it together and aimed to finish strong! Annoyingly I started to feel better / more normal coming into the last turn. Perhaps because I knew the end was nearing?! Who knows… I guess I’ll have to try a longer distance to test that theory out! 😉
My breakfast – good old overnight oats for the win! Consumed at 5:30am whilst sat in a freezing cold b&b wearing ALL my clothes! Ha!
So, after looking at my times I’m surprised and really pleased that my splits are consistent, the first 2 miles were at 7:10 and the last mile was 7:11! Pretty pleased with that after years of swearing up and down that ‘I’m just not a runner!!’. I would have liked to have gotten faster at the end but that’s just me being me! I haven’t had the solid block of training that I would have liked and it is all a learning curve. It might sound ridiculous but I’m beyond happy just to be learning things about myself and multisport in general and I have always said that it’s progress, not perfection I’m after! Anyway, I have definitely taken away a few key points that I need to focus on to get stronger. I am planning on smashing todays time to smithereens when they have their next duathlon on the same track, I think in March. Watch out Hillingdon!!! 😉
My goals after todays experience;
- Bring my (short) run pace down to be consistently 6:50 / 7:00 – (I’m normally around 7:20) I plan on doing this by starting small, adding short intervals of running faster, getting my legs used to spinning a little quicker. Then, I will increase the intervals time wise, slowly but surely until 6:50 is my happy pace! I feel confident that this is doable. I think. Ha!
- Aim to keep my (long) run pace holding steady at 8:00 / 8:30 – I’m probably around 8:30 / 9:00 at the moment but I’m not as fussed about making this goal too specific right now as I feel that as long as I am getting the longer runs (7+ miles) in and simultaneously working hard on speed work then this will fall into place naturally and the two numbers will meet somewhere in the middle. I can’t tell you how I excited to get out there and do some longer runs! Since the ankle incident I have been babying myself a little but no longer! Now, I mean business! 😉
- GET STRONGER ON THE BIKE – I plan to do this by, quite simply, riding more! That is all.
- Fuelling – Play around with my breakfast, pre race meal – I think my breakfasts are too small, strange because all my other meals are on the large side!
I think that’s it! Any of you have any race strategy tips? Or any funny memories from your first race?
Lots of love, Hayley