1,900m open water swim - 85km cycle - 21km run (half marathon for the slower readers)
Well, my forage into the world of Half Ironman...ahem...racing continues for another year.
Last year I did the same event, and managed to *pick your own description from - scuttle, roll, limp, crawl, cry, meander, flop or painfully cross the line in a commendable 5hrs 08mins and 03seconds.
I wrote a race report for Tritalk.co.uk last year for my first attempt at the distance. Here it is...
With that all in mind, I managed to get myself a coach...Matt Tippett from Elite Triathlon Performance Australia. I met him whilst living in Melbourne for 6 months and decided to give him a shout when I got back to Wales.
Turns out, he enjoys planning out sessions with, in my opinion anyway, the sole intention to make me hurt, go sick and cry. (I went sick once, hurt A LOT but never cried...ish).
Anyway, I started his sessions and at every event I entered in the lead up to the Vitruvian, I could see genuine signs of improvement! PB's were tumbling at nearly all events, which was doing my confidence wonders!
So with a solid improvement, high confidence and a well earned taper in the bank, I set off for Rutland Water in Leicestershire. Plan was to sleep in the back of my girlfriends van - awesome, parents, sister and her fella would set up a couple of tents, and dogs would be shipped off to a kennell to catch kennell cough and rabies.
After last years sham (didn't get up till gone 10pm), I decided to leave early to get up there to have plenty of rest and register before the big day.
So, after helping my sister set her camp up after arriving past 10pm (as you can see, the plan worked perfectly) I set about trying to do what I do best...sleep. And I did. And then the alarm went off at 4am. Meh.
Off to register, set up the bike, put my clothes on (I wasn't naked registering - I ment put my racing gear on) and then slip in to the wetsuit...slip/struggle...wa'eva,
Got a photo taken with two mates....
...then set about the 1,900m swim. A two lap affair of Rutland Water and a trying to swim as close to the Rutland Belle without shitting my knickers by seeing a propeller (for some reason, I find anything large under water eerie? and also guide ropes when you can't see the bottom...that's right, I'm 26).
SWIM - 1,900m
Nothing much you can write about the swim to be honest, bar the first 10m being caked with sea-weed, then somehow, I must have hit the shallow end on the far side of the lake due to me stroking the floor for a few meters?
Avoided shitting my knickers by not looking at the Belle...if you laughed at that, grow up.
My mother managed to take a pretty sweet photo of me diving back in for the 2nd lap - even more impressive when you consider that she started on the wine at 4:30am. Amy Winehouse's got shit on her! 1 good photo, and the rest are blurred...not a bad effort.
Swim done in - 30:58 (2:15 quicker than 2008)
Got into T1, struggled with my really slack wetsuit...pah, couldn't get it past my watch nor timing chip...then, if you check how long I was in there, I apparently made a cup of tea, watched 3 episodes of 24, dismantled then re-assembled my bike, read the bible....twice, put my gels in my back pockets then set off...
Good thing about this year was, I didn't feel dizzy or sick...kicking for the last 150m really works?!!
T1 done in - 2:04
CYCLE - 85km
Got out of transition, played frogger with the two dudes in front of me. One struggling to get his foot in, the other just fell over. Bless him.
2 laps including the infamous Rutland Ripple...which I find a lot easier than it looks!! From the hill looking down, it's quite impressive, but with the speed you can carry going down then it isn't that much trouble...the biggest issue is the amount of traffic and other cyclist (even if one of them is Thomas Peoples who raised himself off the seat to fart just as he passed me...it smelt like burnt hair), especially the 2nd lap, but other than that, it's a pretty quick course. What made it a little trickier this year was the headwind, pretty tough on the way out, but then more than enjoyable coming back...great fun!! The disc was a good choice...and it sounds fast. Sweet.
Managed to stick to my nutrition plan of 2 x 750ml bottles of 100g High5 and a High5 banana bar...worked a treat! Also took 500ml of water in case things went pear-shaped!
Bike done in - 2:30:32 (8:08 quicker than 2008)
Now, I thought I was in and out. But apparently it took me 1:02. Tits.
RUN - 21km
This is where I struggled last year...I managed to bumble around in 1:55 and it hurt a lot. So much so, I promised myself that I wouldn't enter anything more than a sprint from then on in. Ah well, I had some scores to settle!!
I had intentions of, realistically, running anything under 1:45...but had a feeling it would be around the 1:46-48 margin.
Again, a two lap affair.
As soon as I got off the bike I settled into a comfortable running rhythm, it felt weirdly good?! Had my 4 gels to take at the 5km marks, then 1 for emergency. The first three 5km were brilliant, managed to get around with no fuss and got down my 3 gels and water...although I nearly choked on water at one point - note to self, learn to run with plastic cup and not end up blinded, drowning and covered in spit. Sweet look!!!
The last 5-6km was and still is, pretty painful! Although 2008's run made this half marathon feel like an easy jaunt...it hurt nigh on the entire 21km in 2008.
Run done in (great rhyming) - 1:37:04 (18:32 quicker than 2008)
Total - 4:41:53 (30min+ faster then 2008)
Over the moon with the result and can't believe the improvement in my run!? Awesome!!
Post event feelings - I've had some time to think about the even (hence the report being written nigh on 4 weeks after the event finished, DOH!) and it's given me a great stepping stone to move on. My targets have changed for 2010. I've entered Ironman Austria 70.3 in July, more then likely doing the Vitruvian again and also got the Yak Attack in March. I've also got one plan, that if I manage to pull off, then that would be, without question, my greatest sporting achievement. But I'm not going to reveal what it is quite yet....