I think it’s bad time I wrote about the running section of last years middle distance Triathlon (apologies for the delay Tony), or as named in the title, Part III ! sounds more exciting doesn’t it?
So, after a long 90km bike section, I finally entered Transition2 just after cycling one last big and annoyingly steep hill.
Now, I did say I would go through T2, so here we go; as I arrived in T2 I got off the bike within the designated zone, a race Marshall took my bike away from me, which was a first and a great idea for long races. From then, I was able to go straight. Into the T2 tent/marquee where Marshalls gave me my running bag, as mentioned in part I ( this is complicated!). I happily sat down on one of the plastic chairs provided inside the tent, took my helmet off, took my cycling shoes off, had a drink and one energy gel, berry flavour if you please. Now it was time to get on the run. I put my running shoes on, turn my number racing belt round so the number is at the front of me (triathlons are full of rules!) and sunglasses back on. 3mins 54s later I was off!
Legs burning like hell, feeling heavy. Blaming the last hill just before T2 😉. Coming out of the tent and starting my 22km out and back run, the race winner was just arriving around the corner, and still looking fresh! I had a quick sip of water just before leaving Sandy Balls Holiday park on my way to the hilly New Forest paths. Running on the pavement along the main road for about 1km before joining the gravel path, 2nd and 3rd place in the men’s race went past me going the other way towards the finishing line.
As I crossed the road and started running down the gravel path, my legs started receiving some energy from the wonderful energy gel I gulped down my throat with much need. It took me a while to get into a rhythm, running on soft grounds, up and down on a very warm September. After the first 5km, I arrived at the first drink station, with water and energy drink (race was sponsored by Gatorade) offered by the wonderful and encouraging marshals, doing a great job as usual. Once I had one energy drink, two energy drink, one cup of water over my head and one drunk while walking through the drink area I started running again trying to pick up the pace again but found it difficult. This was my first middle distance Triathlon and my body started to remind me of that fact. My legs started to hurt, my arms felt heavy and I was starting to feel that I might not finish the race. So I walked km nine all the way to the half point where the next drink station was. Now we all know that in a national park you have owned and wild animals, right? In the New Forest, there are the usual deer, cows, the famous ponies and …… Wild pigs! Yes that’s right, pigs running around the forest having the time of their life. I thought I was alucinating for a moment!
Ok , now I’ve walked for a bit, resting my tired leg muscles, had a couple of cups of water and an energy drink, I was ready to hit the road again. Being half way, 10km, and on the way back to the finishing line as the run section was out and back, my mind took over the pain. I was suffering but with great determination, there was no chance of giving up. I picked up the pace, felt stronger again and ran and ran ….. and ran all the way towards the finish.
As I arrived back to the main road, out of the track, at last! I took one more cup of water at the last drink station. With 1km to go, I could see spectators outside the holiday park at the far end. This last km was the longest km of my life! I pushed on and at my surprise and joy, my 8 year old started running with me for the last 100m telling me, and I quote “look papa, I can run faster than you” ! NO COMMENT !
I finally got to the finishing line, hearing the bip of my race chip, which at the time was the best sound EVER! and I stopped ….. Finally, joining Louise and the kids after receiving my medal. My final time was 7h22mins!
I have learned a few thinks from this race: – I should have prepared better, should have had more energy gels left for the run and I should have known better that this race was going to be hard. It’s no wonder this race was voted one of the hardest long distance Triathlon in the UK but I have shown to myself that anything can be achieved. Since then, in 2014 events, I have been fitter, more prepared all round and I’ve made sure to stock enough energy gels 😃
Now for a pack training plan over the coming winter for IronmanUK 70.3 Staffordshire in June 2015. Aiming to finish between 6h and 6.5h.
“Impossible n’est pas francais”