22 May 2016 0 Comments

Getting the excuses in

Today’s Southport Triathlon didn’t quite go to the script. To be fair, I wasn’t expecting to get close to my time of 2:34:14 which I set in last year’s race. I comprehensively trashed my legs running a hill marathon last weekend and I was still in recovery mode. Nevertheless, I hoped for a time around the 2:40 mark so to finish up with a 2:48 was a touch disappointing.

I was slower in every department compared to last year. I hadn’t expected to do well in the swim as this was only my 5th swim of 2016 so I had no excuses for a pretty lamentable 38:59, fully 5 minutes slower than last year. Not a great start. Another 30 seconds was lost in T1, although last year’s time was in the top 10 for the whole event so I wasn’t too shabby through transition. I was hoping for better things on the bike but as I headed south into the headwind blowing up the esplanade I felt as weak as a kitten. Things improved after the turn around point and I blasted northwards in a high gear only to have to drop down 3 or 4 gears to deal with the strengthening breeze at the second turn round. The wind was a lot stronger than last year and I was disappointed to arrive at T2 in 1:15, 4 minutes down on last year. Again, I lost a further minute in T2 but felt good as I set out on the run.

I was not expecting to be able to run quickly at all after the previous weekend’s exertions, but the run turned out to be the best part of my race. I ran the whole of the first 5km at a remarkably consistent pace. Each kilometre was bang on 4 minutes 46. I slowed down for a few seconds at the aid station grabbing a drink, then picked up the pace again to finish in 46:57. It was less than 2 minutes slower than last year and that was when I was running with eyeballs on stalks chasing a pb.

That’s not quite the end of the story, though. Getting ready for the race I had forgotten two pieces of kit, my wallet and my race number belt. This meant that I couldn’t buy a race belt at the event so i had to pin my race number to my tri top. Unfortunately, the organisers only supplied a single number so i had to choose between the front and rear of my tri top. I certainly didn’t fancy faffing with safety pins in transition so I plumped for the front. This was a risk as triathlon rules require you to wear a number on the back for the bike and the front for the run. As I exited T1 an eagle eyed ref called out to me to put my number on the back. I explained that the organisers only provided a single number and I didn’t have a number belt. He helpfully suggested that I put my tri top on backwards. Ignoring his advice, I pressed on knowing that for the first time in over 4o triathlons I would get a time penalty. And there, indeed, at the finish was my race number with a 2 minute penalty added. Oh well.

To pick out the positives, I raced pretty hard all the way through and I was particularly pleased with my run. Hopefully this bodes well for the Bala Half Ironman in a couple of weeks time. I’ll be sure to pack my kit more carefully!

Special thanks to fellow COLT, Tom Oldham for sorting out my parking – forgetting my wallet might have proved even more expensive without him. I’ll get the cakes in on the next caf? ride. And congratulations are due to another COLT, Graham Hodgson, for whom the Southport Triathlon represented his first race since braking his back 4 years ago in a very nasty rear end shunt from a car while out on his bike (I’ll draw a veil over just how much faster he was than me!).

Southport Pier

Southport Pier

photo credit: In the dark of day? via photopin (license)

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