Sunday, 22 November 2015

Husky Olympic Distance - "if only I could swim...."

Husky Olympic Distance (TriSeries by Elite Energy) - "if only I could swim...."

Short report:

Swim    00:31:59 (168/235 Overall 36/42 in AG)
T1         00:01:38 (38 & 8)
Bike      01:07:04 (13 & 2)
T2         00:01:14 (68 & 13)
Run       00:40:19 (16 & 4)

Overall  02:22:16 (33 & 7)

On land  13th overall and 4th in AG

Long report:

Entered this race as a mate was doing it with a group. He was coming back from ankle opps and this was his first step back on the road to an IronMan. Plus it was relatively close to Sydney and a chance to see Jervis Bay AND have another dig at going sub 2:30. I also thought it would act as a good last training session ahead of Western Sydney 70.3 (if I needed to still break the 5hr barrier there that is.....).

Drove down with Chris on the Saturday afternoon and arrived at the house in Vincentia at c4:30. After tinkering with all our race equipment (there were four of us doing the standard distance) we headed into Huskisson to get some early dinner at the Huskisson Hotel. We checked out transition before heading to the pub. A quick beer and fish and chips (professional athlete food!) and we were on our way back. I organised all the bags and kit for next day and then took the opportunity for an early night, turning in at c8:15. That would mean 8hrs sleep as the alarms were set for 4:15 - hadn't had 8 hours sleep for a while!

Race day
Alarms went at 4:15, quick breakfast and then time to pump tyres before rolling the 6k into town. I had been having problems with my valve (requiring the entire valve to come out in order to unlock the top bit). Thus I knew it wasn't quite right but it had been like that for a while now and always worked. However, this time it decided to not hold air anymore, so a quick change of inner tube was required but all went well and no real time lost. 

Registration was easy, as was Transition and the cold coffee (brewed the night before) had done its job so all was well. Race briefing was undertaken just before heading down to the beach.

Swim was a two lap course set out as a triangle. The water was flat and the setting was lovely. 7:03 my wave went off, just about negotiated the large rock on the RHS of the water start and then just tried to get into a rhythm. Swim was fairly uneventful apart from the rubbing on my neck, obviously hadn't done the wetsuit up properly around my neck - this was going to be sore. On exiting the water I saw a time of just under 32 mins. Which was what I would have been happy with before, but felt I had been having a good swim (for me) so was hoping for closer to 30. But hey ho, neither would make much difference.

Had to run up some stairs to transition (and struggled somewhat with legs not working so well). Before grabbing the bike and heading out on to the course. It was a two lap out and back route. The route was undulating with two rises of note. One about half way out, which I got wrong and allowed a guy going at a very similar pace to get by - took until town both times to get back in front. Probably more to do with him easing up in town as opposed to anything else. The other was the last k before the turnaround, which was just a long gradual grind.

I was reasonably happy with the level of effort maintained. Although I did go out a tad bit hard. Will need to look at the difference between the two laps. HR was 160+ for a good while on lap 1 whereas I would have said was lower c150 for the rest. 
Bike leg - HR clearly higher at beginning and tailing off on the second lap (Lap1 - 161avg, Lap2 - 154avg)

Had 3 gels (1k, 20k, 35k) which worked well and the bladder with energy in it. No aid on course and found myself a tad thirsty towards end of bike. Tipping the bike up when fixing tyre before hand meant I lost some liquid which I forgot to top up. Plus I hadn't bought liquid to transition before the race. Need to ensure have a bottle in transition next week. All up I was happy with effort on the bike (would have liked to be able to maintain early race pace but probably not achievable and had gone too hard), but didn't realise quite how well it would stack up versus the rest.

Legs felt worse than usual as I hit the run. Given I was thirsty I didn't take my caffeine gel immediately. First 2ks were c4;05. Got to aid station and managed to throw water down my throat in my excitement which caused coughing and spluttering...real professional like. Next 2ks slipped to c4:20. Was planning on gel at 5k, but took it early and the benefit was almost immediate. Energy levels up and times dropped again. Whether mental or physical it worked....

Run leg HR - start 155, finish 170. Small scale but shows holding steady for first half increasing in the second. 
At beginning of the run also had to contend with what felt like my left leg / calf beginning to cramp. Or feeling like it was going to. So another reason for easing myself into it in the first half. I certainly didn't want to blow up. Leaving T2 at 1:42 I knew that barring a blow up I was well on for a sub 2:30. After the gel started feeling better and on the second lap the 'cramp' feeling and 'stitch' feeling that was present at the beginning of the run had gone and I could push on. On my second lap I saw Dave, Jon and Chris all out on the run course (they were in the RaceYaMates wave which set off 9 mins after me - Dave must have been reasonably close to catching me on the swim....).

With the final turnaround done I remembered that sometimes these courses run short compared to what my garmin is telling me so that was extra incentive to push hard and try to get close to 40 mins. My garmin was not telling me this was on, but if it was running short then could be feasible??? I couldn't see anyone ahead who was looking like they were on their 2nd lap so didn't see anyone to chase down. Continued to pick up the pace and finished the run well in 40:19 (as I has suspected the garmin was running long versus the actual course).

Finished in 2:22:16 which was well within my PB of c2:36 and well below 2:30, so I was quite chuffed. I was even more chuffed when I looked at the full results which said I was 2nd and 4th respectively in my age group for the bike and run (5th & 10th percentile). And 13th and 16th overall (5th & 7th percentile). This meant my bike was better than my run for the first time ever, which I was very pleased with. It does raise some questions as to whether if I had fueled better would my run have been even better? Was all the running I had done this year allowing me to go harder on the bike and hold up on the run? Was my bike now better than my running? Should I just have pushed harder on the run?

But the main question was wrt my swimming - 86th percentile in AG and 71st percentile overall. As my run and bike have gotten better, the swim was becoming an increasingly big limiting factor. Maybe it is time to learn to swim properly or at least put in more time in the pool......

Lessons learnt:

  • don't turn your Shiv upside down when the bladder is full
  • take two spare inner tubes so that if you use one pre race you have a spare for the race
  • take a drink with you for pre-race and leave in transition
  • ensure wetsuit is done up properly and nothing rubbing
  • learn to swim before the age of 10
  • no matter how many races you do there are always mistakes made, usually similar to previous races. Maybe one day I will remember everything and have no lessons to learn?

Jon finishing strong in first triathlon

Chris matching his first Tri time post opp

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