Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Canberra 70.3 Recap
Goal for Canberra 70.3 - finish the race grinning = Achieved!!!
Crossing the finish line was an extraordinary feeling. It was over. Done. Finished. Finally. Oh my God, I did it.
There were times on the course where I was ready to pull out. Fortunately, I didn’t. I wanted the medal and the pride of having finished a 70.3. It was an amazing race with highs and lows and many things not going as planned. But I did it. My time was slower than expected, I was one of the last few to finish but I’m still deliriously happy. I was in race mode for 7:15:31. That’s like 5000 calories burnt in a third of a day. It’s also a fair amount of time to figure out my strengths and weaknesses.
So what went right and what went wrong. It’d be good if the ‘right’ list was longer than the ‘wrong’. Unfortunately, things don’t always go according to plan. But I'm happy with the result regardless.
That was one thing I was very comfortable with. I was concerned about gastronomical issues but luckily there was none of that. I consumed 4 gels on the bike and a muesli bar, a bottle of sports drink and two bottles of water. On the run I had 4 more gels and alternated between sips of Endura and water at the aid stations. The volunteers were fantastic and very helpful, the day wouldn’t have happened without them.
My first wetsuit swim. I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect. I’m glad I had it thought. On race morning the water temperature was 19.1 degrees. That’s a bit chilly. I saw a few people without wetsuits. They were brave.
So, how did I go? Well, here’s a question. Can I swim straight? Hahaha. No I cannot. I think I added like 200m just because of my zigzagging in the water. I lost a few minutes here and was out of the water in just over 41 mins. A few minutes slower than I was aiming for but fortunately I didn't swallow any water. My wetsuit on the other hand did.
Note for next time: Practice sighting in training by doing a few open water swims and learn to put on wetsuit correctly.
7:31 mins. Taking off the wetsuit, putting on socks, shoes, shirt, glasses, helmet and grabbing the bike. It costs time.
Note for next time: Buy cycle shoes and learn to ride in them. Attach nutrition to bike so there’s no need for pockets. I could probably save three or so minutes here.
What can I say, the bike is my weakest leg. 3:56. That was about 20 minutes slower than expected. It was a 5 lap of 18km course.
It was hilly.
It was windy.
I knocked off my bike computer within the first kilometre.
On a couple of sections I thought the wind would knock me off the bike. It came close. The first two laps I averaged 25k/hr, then 24.9, 24, and 22.9. By the fifth lap, my legs were cramping. I wasn’t sure I was going to finish. Fortunately, I was able to ride them out. Quitting was not an option regardless of the pain. It didn’t matter if I came in last, I was going to be a 70.3 finisher. I almost cried when I went up the last hill and headed straight for the finish of the bike. The hard part was over. Now I just had to run a half marathon.
Note for next time: More hill training and speed sessions. It might be a good idea to focus on building my strength on the bike over the next few months. The upside of this is reducing the strain on my joints from running.
This was quicker. I racked the bike, put on my hat, forgot the suncream, grabbed some gels and made my way out of the transition area in under four minutes. I walked out rather than ran.
Note for next time: Remember to put on a bit of suncream.
Within a kilometre the jelly like feeling had disappeared and I started to run more confidently. Not for long though. By the time I reached the 4km mark the pain in my calf made itself known. It was the same pain I experienced two weeks ago. It was my biggest worry for this race.
Running pain free wasn’t meant to be.
I cursed a little and pushed on doing a bit of walking until the pain subsided then running a bit until the pain grew unbearable. The 21k was a bit of a run/walk do in the hot sun and powerful wind. But it got done. It hurt.
I crossed the finish line with my hands in the air. I had done it. I think this was my biggest accomplishment to date and I couldn’t be happier, and so looking forward to the vanilla ice cream the volunteers were serving in the recovery tent.
Note for next time: Brick sessions. Developing a stronger run by learning to run fast fresh so that I can run faster when tired.
I crossed the finish line and decided I didn't want to do any of these crazy triathlons. The next morning I was searching on line for possible future races. Call me crazy, but I think I enjoyed it more than I care to admit. It hurt. It was emotional. It was amazing. It was all that and so much more. I had fun even through the pain, and that's the most important thing.