This didn’t go well…
This is 300m in an outdoor pool, a flat 21km bike course with a single hill at the end, and 2 lap, 5km hilly run course at the end of it.
My parents had come to watch, and brought the kids with them, which was ace 😀
I did a warm up round one lap of the run course. One of the arrows pointing the way had blown round and was pointing in the wrong direction. I fixed this (hoping I’d got it right – I didn’t want to be doing a Dick Dastardly! I checked later – I had got it right) making it more secure as I did so.
I’d put down a slightly optimistic 4:32 as my predicted time for the swim, which given that you start off in reverse time order, left me about 8th from last to go (number 92). There was a 30 second gap between competitors, which should be good, but chatting to the guy behind me, number 93, it turned out he’d put 4:00 as his, which wasn’t optimistic! Oh well!
After some time on holiday with no swimming, I really wasn’t sure how well it was going to go. Apparently you lose the feel quickly. However, once I started, it felt fine. I wasn’t racing too hard, hoping to avoid having to start the bike in too much oxygen deficit. However, the guy behind was slowly catching up. Coming up to the last 2 lengths I decided he’d catch me, so I’d be gallant and let him past before he hit my feet and had to wait to the end of the length.
I did 5:06, which included 20 seconds to the timing matt, and probably 6 seconds to let #93 go by. I wasn’t particularly out of breath, so I’m pleased with that.
#93 got a bit of a gap by the time I got out of the pool, but I caught him up in transition, and was out on the bike before him.
The bike ride was a great course. The Fens are pretty flat, and it didn’t take long to get out of town and into the countryside. Some of the smaller roads were a bit ‘rustic’ (aka bumpy), but not having much in the way of hills, and the weather being great makes for a good bike split.
After racing at Dorney I thought I’d try a slightly higher target watts. I aimed at 320 this time, and was able to stick to it :D.
Navigation was… interesting. Having been on holiday, I’d not done my usual level of swatting up via Google Maps/Streetview. I thought it’d be fine though. However,
- there weren’t marshals on all the turnings
- there weren’t signs on junctions/roundabouts where you had to go straight on
- the signs were before junctions/roundabouts only – i.e. coming up to them, not on the exit you had to take
I had one roundabout where I wasn’t paying enough attention before it (I was overtaking at the time), and ended up going fully round it and guessing the correct exit. I nearly took the guy I’d just overtaken with me, but we had a super quick pointing/shrugging interaction and he took that correct turning without following me all the way round. I apologised when I re-overtook him.
Coming up the only hill, there was a mini-roundabout with two exits – straight on, and right. I didn’t see a sign, and there were a couple of marshals about 15 meters up the road next to some cars. I didn’t know if they were meant to be at that junction and had gone to the cars for some reason, or if they were meant to be where they actually were.
I was making a quick decision that going straight on was what to do when one of them looked up – I thought he was looking at me. He gestured forcefully in 3 times in quick succession to my right.
I took the right turning. I powered down the road, and got to a junction and took a left. Then a right. No marshals in sight. No signs. No other competitors. Oh. In hindsight I guess the marshal had been talking to someone in a car and giving them directions…
If I was sensible I would have turned around. Instead, I did a quick cultural tour of Ely. Lovely place, but not if you’re in a panic about being lost in a triathlon!
I eventually found my back onto the course at the bottom of the hill. I went up it, and went straight on this time! The marshals were, it turned out, standing by the entrance back into the school where the triathlon was based. A quick turn in, and I was back at transition.
I’d got a KOM on a segment doing most of the course until the bottom of the hill. I’d managed to hit my average watts target of 320 and that turned out to give 40.7 kmph on this course.
In transition, #93 was there, looking confused – he said he wondered where my bike was as he knew he hadn’t overtaken me!
The run stared off downhill. I don’t really know how to pace myself on hills, so probably went off a bit too hard, but I don’t think it was massively off the equivalent of 4 mins per km on the flat. Regardless, by about 1km in I knew I had calf issues. I was having another calf heart attack.
My right calf was causing the problems. I stopped, stretched, massaged, and then tried going again. Going slower, I could still feel it, but it wasn’t too bad. I managed the rest of the lap, getting some high 5’s from the kids :D, slowly picking up pace again a bit, but by the same place on the second lap, I had to stop again. This time it was both calves. I did some more stretching, massaging, and got going again. It still didn’t feel right, so I tried again.
This time I got going slowly again, and managed to get to the end (via some more high 5’s) without it really feeling like either calf was locking up. However, trying to walk afterwards was pretty painful, so it was obviously worse than I thought at the time. Three days after and I still can’t completely walk without a dull ache. 😦
It turns out I wasn’t the only one to get lost, as a friend from the Rowing club who was doing her first Triathlon had also gone off course for a bit on the bike leg. She’d sensibly managed to retrace her steps though and got back on course with less drama than I had!
Looking at the results, excluding my detours I would have had the fastest bike split by something like 90 seconds, and would have been in the lead by 60 seconds coming off of the bike. Not that I’m grumpy about this or anything…
Still, I’m more worried about my calves, as I was hoping this was something I was going to be able to work out by slowly increasing my running training distances. It doesn’t feel like that’s going to be the case at the moment though. 1km in is as bad as it’s ever been.
I’ve now got an appointment to see a specialist for a scan next week, so hopefully it’ll show up something I can do something about.