I have been to Dorney Lake twice before and its a very flat course and the only issue it has is that there can be a substantial headwind blowing down the course. But while this hinders on one side of the lap, its aids on the way back.
This was supposed to be the big attempt at my first sub 2hr30mins Olympic Tri. I was supposed to be in prime condition 5 weeks after Challenge Copenhagen. Unfortunately, things had not gone according to early season planning.
1. I had done next to no exercise since the Ironman;
2. I had mainly been eating and was c6kgs heavier than going to Copenhagen;
3. I had managed to pick up a niggle in my knee getting up from my desk strangely;
4. My drinking had resumed to pre IM training levels and finally;
5. The weekend before was my Stag Do . . . . . . .
Given all of this I had written the event off and thus was just treating it as enforced exercise. As such I went out on Friday and Saturday night and declared myself available to play on Saturday, putting in my first contact of the season with 80mins playing at no.7 for the 3's.
Needless to say as I struggled to get my wetsuit on due to sore arms . . . I wasn't feeling it. My aim was already just to beat last time 02:37 and see how close to 02:30 I could get.
Eased my way into the swim (2 laps) and tried to push a bit harder on the second lap. The water felt quite cold (we were the first wave at 10am) and feet were pretty cold by the end. Still didn't get much drafting done, seems my time was putting be in between groups of swimmers. Though I did catch a group towards the end of the second. Sighting is easy as the bhoys are massive and easy to spot and the water pretty flat with little wind. Equally there are effectively lanes created by the mini-bhoys for the rowing lanes.
When I left the water at c33 mins I was happy to be c3 mins quicker than last year. But I had also hoped to go faster.
On to the bike (8 laps and thus a bit tedious). I fired off hard as usual with my HR up in the 170s, soon came down to the 160s a rate that I had easily held for a sprint 6 weeks ago. However, at the time and on analysis it dropped pretty constantly through the bike to the 140s. I would push every now and then and get it back to the 150s. But I either didn't have it physically or mentally to maintain the effort. Overall I am annoyed about my bike split. Since last year I have a new bike, aero wheels and bars and have put in a f**k load of hrs on the bike to come 2 mins slower. I know I listed my excuses at the top but I still thought I should be able to go better. . . . still lots of work on the bike needed.
To the run, having gone without socks my feet were like ice blocks. I couldn't feel them until over 5k in when they started to tingle. My HR was up in the 150s and 160s and I was going OK. I knew I wasn't going to go sub 40mins which I now needed for the sub 2h30m so I just kept going. My knee flared up on the first lap but then died down so I kept going. It hurt but not to the extent that I had to adjust my style etc. Legs felt heavy but expected them to. Beat last years time by 2 mins came into the finish with a new Oly PB (3mins quicker), but very dissappointed. I know I can go faster and I know there were reasons for not achieving it this time. But most of the reasons were down to a loss of focus and motivation after my A race and therefore I was annoyed at myself for not kicking on and taking full advantage of the massive effort I put in over the spring and summer. The level of which I may never repeat. Still a handy two and a half hours of exercise for a Sunday morning. rest of the afternoon spent cheering on the rest of my family who were competing in the sprints (brothers) and super sprints (Mum).
Last tri of the year next week at Hever Castle. Another Oly but with a hilly course I won't be challenging the 2hr30m, but rather enjoying the scenery. Main aim now is to get back on exercise, sort knee out and ensure I don't ballon for the forthcoming wedding and honeymoon.