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Saturday, 21 June 2008

Half Ironman UK 2008

Welcome back!

It's been 6 months since I last posted on here, for a number of reasons.
1. lack of time
2. I'm updating loads of training web applications
3. I'm using paper and a pen to record my training, much less hassle.

But, thought it would be nice to report on Half Ironman UK 2008, as I went back to race it again this year.

Training this year has been very consistent, with only one knee niggle throughout March which was more annoying than distastrous and I managed to keep up some light work while my physio sorted it out.
I've had some excellent results. 2nd at Mad March triathlon http://www.resultstriathlon.co.uk/race-results/race-results.asp?id=22
http://www.conceptsport.co.uk/results.php

8th overall, and 1st in my age group at Hungerford tri, which was reduced to a swim and run due to snow!!! 17th overall and 1st in my age group(35-39) at Winchester tri. 15th overall and 2nd age group at Dorchester tri. These were all Concept sport events and on the link above.
I also did a 10 mile TT and finished 13th out of 70 riders, posting a respectable 24' 11" in very windy conditions, amongst some very strong riders.
I posted 39' 50" at Winchester 10k back in Feb and came 65th out of 600 odd runners, which for me is very good.
So preparation for Ironman UK 70.3 had gone really well, and I was full of confidence. I have also been doing some good run and bike sessions with James Gilfillan, who has been a great inspiration and has had some excellent results this season, winning all but one race he has taken part in!

So here goes. Race day.

Swim:
It was very cold! Air temperature was down to 7 degrees at 6am, and it felt warmer in the water! However, it did not last and we were held in the water for at least 10 minutes, and before long I was feeling the cold. It was a mass swim start, with 900 athletes in the water and waiting for the off all at once! Behold the washing machine!
We were off and immediately I was into a good stroke, but I was not getting through the water quickly, I was feeling the cold and just could not get any effort into the stroke.
I cam out of the water in around 35 minutes which was 2 minutes down on where I should have been. However, I made some time up through T1, only 3 minutes to run up a 400m hill, change out of wetsuit, get bike and set off.
bike:
Well, the start of my bike was so slow, bottleneck at start did not help and I had to stop to get feet in shoes to get going, so my T1 speed had been negated. Once I got going I really started to feel the cold and could not get my legs moving, and especially as it was straight into a climb, I was finding it hard to regulate my heartrate. It was a good 20 miles until I managed to get myself really going and once there I was riding strongly. Unfortunately the rain came at about halfway and it really made conditions a bit tricky. Glasses had to come off and riding at 40 mph into driving rain is not at all easy on the eyes, and actually seeing anything was a bit tricky!
But I made god progress and was looking at posting a split of near 2hr 52, which would have got me into the top 20 bike times. However, just as I came down to T2, I had a mishap and came off the bike! It was a nasty fall and shook me up a great deal. Feet and hands bloody, right knee and leg taken a bash. Cost me at least 5 minutes on the bike, and obviously affected my run time. But I got into transition and told myself to keep going. 2hr 59 on the bike, down in 47th.
Run:
Started strong and finished stronger! I had a very good run, paced it very well and made sure to run within myself. Everytime I felt good and felt like pushing I just reigned it in a little as I didn't want to blow up before the end. And it worked. 3 caffeine gels and water saw me home in 1 hour 41 mins, very repsectable. My half marathon PB before that was 1hr 36, so to do a 1:41 on that course(very hilly, twisty and turny) and off a tough bike, falling etc, I was very pleased. My running has really improved this year, as I have been working hard at that.
All in all I finished in 65th place out of 900. I finished 10th in my age group. My time was 5 hours 21 minutes and 14 seconds. An hour better than last year!
And what's more I qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida on 8th November!!!
Very excited about that!
Got 2 weeks rest now and then will pick it up again in July, a few more races in preparation for November. I'll keep you posted on progress!
Pics of 2008 racing etc to follow.