If you’ve read my earlier blogs you’ll know that I had been training for my second triathlon along with my first timer mates Hayley and Steve. Hayley got me into running a few years ago so she decided to join me (now her knee seems to be almost injury free) in the cycling & swimming side of it too. I had been running with Steve at work since February. He has been on a slimming world journey and after losing 4.5stone was competing in his first ever tri.
I had been trying to split my time and training between the 2, encouraging both & also an opportunity to share training tips, Hayley being a stronger and faster runner than I am & Steve having more experience & knowledge about cycling that I do. I’ve learnt that with cycling you just have to put in the hours. Flat, undulating, uphill. Just put in the hours. According to Steve, anything under 20miles isn’t worth pulling on your shorts for. So off we’ve been on some 30 & 40 mile bike rides. Always planned routes & always ended up with some detour to find the right adjusted route! I really should do more research into my planned routes. I tend to do ones straight from home so I know the general area. However, driving the roads & cycling them I have found are not quite the same after accidentally taking in a lengthy section of the Bolton Ironman hill course! But on those days where my legs were tired & my head was giving up, that ‘invisible string’ I had to them both helped me through those brick sessions.
A few weeks before the triathlon we went down to Nantwich to do a recce. The outdoor pool had only just opened for the start of the season & we found out late, was considerably warmer than it would be on race day! We had a bimble through the swim, then off onto the bike course. Using the route on RideGPS we managed to get around the 20km circuit without getting lost & puncture free then off we went on the run. Trying to run around a park for 5km without any set circuit is harder than you think. My TomTom map looks like I’d attached the watch to a dog chasing a squirrel! But we got through it and each of us felt more confident about the big day looming.
So the big day came! We all had different start times due to the swim times we gave at time of entry. The Cheshire triathlon is a pool based swim at Nantwich outdoor pool and therefore each participant is set off at 10second intervals. Steve set off about an hour before myself and Hayley did so unfortunately we could only watch his swim & transition onto the bike. Hayley set off about 20mins after I did so we managed to do some of the running together, high fiving when we passed on the 4 lap course.
I always thought I was a good/strong swimmer. When I was younger I did my bronze, silver & gold badges & my 1 and 2 mile swims. However, in last year’s triathlon I discovered that I wasn’t a huge fan of being in mass participation swims, too many people & too much splash. So much so that I had a mini panic attack in the pool & had to have a real word with myself to get a grip. This time however, for some unknown reason I felt a lot more confident in the pool. No panic. Nice easy breathing. No bumping with other people. A good strong 500mts of swimming knocking 1min 1 second off last years’ time.
That obviously made transition 1 slightly easier, not so out of breath in a panic, it was my 2nd triathlon at the same venue so I knew where I needed to go and what I needed to do. Unfortunately this probably caused a lapse in concentration which meant I forgot to put on my helmet (lovely lady at the transition line reminded me with a shout!) and also it was the first time of using clipless and so had to sort my cycle shoes out instead of just pulling my trainer on, 40sec slower that previous T1.
The bike. Now this was probably the section that I had spent more time working on. I had done my long rides. I had done some shorter faster rides. I was hoping for a good time. I knew the course was relatively flat however as it is in the Cheshire countryside it is also very open to the elements and that day was extremely windy but the training paid off, 1min 41 seconds!
The dreaded leg burning run. I like running but running off a bike isn’t my favourite thing. It instantly feels like you’re already at mile 10 instead of mile 1! But I’d done some reading on tips to make your run better. Make the first 1km slow & easy. Get your legs into a relaxed gait so it’s not s shock to the system & then build up the pace. I took on more fuel during my bike ride & run & this seemed to pay off. The more I ran the easier my legs felt. The circuit is a 4 lap loop so I had all my amazing friends & family supporters at different sections cheering me on my way. 2mins & 6 seconds faster than last time.
A total time of 1hr 42min 21sec making my it 2 PB’s in 2 triathlons. I’d knocked 3mins 34sec off my 1st time. Just goes to show that some dedication, training & some help from friends goes a long way!
Looking forward to more training with these 2 & getting Frankie back to fitness again. Our goal is now going to be open water swimming & stepping up to the full standard or Olympic distance. I’m just not overly keen on Steve’s enthusiasm that one day we’ll have our 70.3 debut!!