Was I ready?? - Sort of!!
Did I finish?? - You bet!!!
After the events of last Sunday I wasn’t certain if I would make the start of this race, but after a light swim and cycle mid-week and a 2m run on Saturday I felt I was ready, even though the calves were still a bit sore and so at 4:30am (again) i dragged myself out of bed, stuck my bike on the back of the car and I was off again for a 7:35 start in the Sevenoaks Leisure centre.
Once i had arrived and parked i made my way to registration, where i collected a huge goodie bag (more about that later), was marked up with my race number and fixed numbers to all the parts of my body and kit that I had to and then racked my bike in the appropriate slot.
This was a sprint Tri (actually my first ever Tri) consisting of 400m pool swim, 25k bike ride and 8k run, and although nervous as hell, I was now ready for this.
Swim - I have never been a very good swimmer and have never learnt to freestyle properly, so i opted for the Breaststroke, which, in recent months of training has improved, so at 7:35am, with 16 lengths of the pool ahead, surrounded by other swimmers (this will be fun I thought (!?!?)). I set off in my lane with 3 others, and after thrashing up and down for 9 mins, was able to drag myself out of the pool and head off to the first transition to bike. When i say 9mins, that was the clock on the wall time, officially it was 10:19, but that included the run to the transition, so 50 metres away across a stony car-park!
Transition 1 - On with the helmet, followed by socks, bike shoes and sunglasses. I healthy swig of Lucozade sport and i was off to the mount zone and away (2min 29secs - happy with that!!)
Bike leg - From the below chart you can see that it wasn't the flattest of courses, and with climbs almost straight away i decided to take the first few miles easy, to get my orientation and save something for 14-15km in, and boy was i glad i did.
The hair-raising, cheek-clenching descent from 4-5km saw me covering my brakes, and still hitting 30mph, and with a severe wobble halfway down had me wondering if my life insurance was up-to-date!! The rest of the course was less dramatic on a downwards theme, and at 14km more of a snails view of life as i slowly climbed Stone Hill (and we are talking 5mph here).
This was followed by a a very technical section of hair-pin bends and short, sharp climbs and drops, and finally a the short climb into the town and back to transition!!! Total time for the ride - 55min 16sec, which considering i was aiming for 1 hour, was very pleasing.
Transition 2 - Off with the bike shoes, and gloves, on with my running shoes, grab a banana and off into the run (1min 24sec)
Run Leg - Feeling totally drained, despite spinning my legs for the last 100m of the ride, i headed off into the the beautiful Knoal Park, for 5 miles of severe undulations, stunning scenery (including deer charging across only yards in front of me), and a final killer climb, sapping every last bit of energy, and making me realise that i need to concentrate more on doing "bricks" in training and not relying so much on my standard running training! - These 5 miles took me 42:50, compared to a PB of 31:15 (but that was flat!!!).
Tired, but elated i crashed over the finish line, to receive a massive goodie bag, filled with a great Buff (aren't they all great though???), For Goodness Shakes, Triathlon Plus magazine, Gatorade, Powerbars and more,and received my all important finishers medal!!
My overall impression of the race - I can see why it was voted 220 Magazine Race of the year 2009, as the whole thing was slick and very well organised. The marshalls were superb, as was the goodie bag, and the course very challenging. This race and experience has prompted me to join a club (Born 2 Tri) again and get more advice and support and more structure to my training, so that next year I can do more Triathlons and hopefully stay fitter and injury free, with the hopes that i may even do an Ironman!!
Next up - Race for Life 10k at Chelmsford with my beloved, doing her first 10k (and panicking about whether she will be picked in the London Marathon Ballot - sorry dear!!!)
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