Monday, September 17, 2012

Vitruvian Middle Distance Triathlon 2012

As usual for these early morning events, a good nights sleeps almost impossible. Have you got all your kit ready? Did you pack your goggles? How many gels should I use? When should I set off? etc….

Swim Start (Courtesy of Louise Hyde)
I could have set off at 4am, but I didn't, I left it until later, and the A1 was shut, and the mist came down, and I didn't have a map, and I got lost, so I finally got to Whitwell at 6am, just as the transition area was mean't to close. Fortunately, I wasn't the only one to fall foul of the A1 closure.

Once the rush was over, and the race talk began, I began to relax and compose myself. Even leaving my start gels in the car didn't phase me, who cares, I'll be fine.

As the sun rose, and the fast boys started, and the wetsuit was donned, it began to get exciting.Here we go, the race that I had been airing for all season. Having run a marathon, done a few bike sportives, got the Dambusters Olympic Tri under my belt, and a few 10miles time trials finished, here was the big one. The first Middle Distance Triathlon. Was I ready, course I bloody well was. A brief chat with Gerry and Bob, both having recent injuries, allowed me to hope for the best. I was confident that they Vitruvian wouldn't beat them.

I learn't from the Dambusters and took it easy at the start of the swim, I got kicked in the face in that one, and scratched my cornea, which nearly spoilt my race, so I stayed at the side and found my space, and soon got into a rhythm in a lovely 18C temperature. It was 2 laps of 950m, and the first lap took me 22 minutes, I had a touch of cramp in the water near the beginning, so I was a little concerned, but it didn't return until near the end, of the second lap, so I was fine. It took me 47 minutes in the end, which was a little over the 45 minutes I was expecting, but I was through it without any major incidents. 

Bob bike (Courtesy of Bob White)
My T1 was straight forward, apart from a bit of cramp again taking off my wetsuit, and I was soon off on my bike. I expected it to be a little chilly at just before 8am in the morning, but actually once you were going, it was okay. My plan was to take it easy on the first 26 mile lap, and then see how I felt. Starting out west was a little slow, and very difficult to keep away from other competitors. ( Drafting rules were in force, so you had to be 10m away for the bike in front otherwise you would risk a penalty, which was mostly impossible as there were 1000 competitors). However on the Eastern stretch, the wind was behind, and the speed started to increase, and at some points I was reaching 30mph. I must say that I was cycling with Gerry (but not drafting), who was out of the water at a similar time, and I think we were keeping each other going. The first lap took 1hr 17mins (3 minutes quicker than my Dambuster's bike time), so I was astonished really, but kept going with the pace. It was a lovely sunny day by now, and a pleasure to be out on the bike, so the miles went quickly, and we ended up doing a very presentable 2hr 29 minutes bike, on the 52 mile course. I was so happy, and quickly trying to calculate my half marathon time, to work out my projected time. I figured I could do less than 6 hours, and possibly near the 5hr 30min mark, but my unexpected bike time allowed me to rethink this. 

T2 was pretty straight forward, and I was soon out on the run, a little stiff, but I knew what to expect, just build it up slowly, get into the run pace that you are comfortable in, and keep going. It was nice to see the support of a few friendly faces at the start. It was getting warmer, but the water stations were frequent, and a quick cup of water over the head was enough to cool the core down. The first lap was over, and I started to feel the blisters forming on my toes. I could only put it down to wet socks off the bike, as I had never suffered before. Well, as we know pain is only a temporary thing, and you put it to the back somewhere for sometime afterwards.
Mark run (Courtesy of Louise Hyde)

The second lap was a bit warmer, and a bit slower, and it was so nice to finally cross the finishing line to the tones of the microphone saying "You are now a Vitruvian Man", it was nice to know that… and I got to the end and thought…Mmmm maybe next year.
Mark & Gerry Finish (Courtesy of Louise Hyde)

Mark time 5:06:02
Gerry time 5:03:20
Bob H time 06:26:19 ( after being injured and not running for months)

Written by Mark

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