I got there early, did some warm us and stretching, looking out to the sea and thought to myself, "That would make a lovely course for a triathlon swim" ...
I'm about half a stone/7 pounds/3.2kg heavier than before the holiday so if I set my sights on this race next year it might help me stay motivated NOT to eat so much at Christmas.
There was some confusion about the actual Duathlon content right up to the point where we were all standing behind a line 50m from the bike racks in our cycling shoes and helmets. It was to be a short run to the racks, a scramble to get on your bike surrounded by 20 or 30 others trying to do the same thing, a bike ride of 20k and then a run of 6k with a 'bit of a hill' in the first k.
Thanks to Tui for the photos by the way.
My bike was totally in the wrong place for a fast T1(?) exit (I will know for next year) and it took forever to get through the tangled mess of bikes and bodies and onto the course.
The course was totally flat. It was just a case of head down, same gear, go as fast as you can. I tried to approach it as I had the Tinman bike and not think about having to run off the bike. It was only 20k and only a 6k run.
I finished the 20k with an average HR of 160 and a time of 32:03. The course was short by my Garmin so for the 18.87k recorded it gave me an average of 35.33km/hr. Pleased with that. The course was so flat you could see most of the riders in front as we completed the square course and I would say I was in about 10th or 11th place ... miles behind the leaders but happy enough.
I slowed down towards the end to try to get my HR down ready for the run. Didn't work really and it never dropped below the mid 150's. won't bother next time.
Tui was on a mission to get a decent pic of me on the bike. I hadn't seen her on the course when Iwas working hard, sweating buckets but as I braked to get off at the dismount section I saw her. Apparently just before I had come into view some kid had fallen off his bike and she was tending to him. She did get this shot though ... which I really love!
Can't remember what I said to her ... couldn't have been too bad though cos she hasn't de-friended me on Facebook yet.
I felt good getting off the bike and legs felt good going into the run. Tui sprinted through transition and caught me at the start.
Presume I must be gesturing the underwater sign for OK at Tui for actually getting a shot of me racing ... note to self - small bottle of flat coke in the back pocket is not a good look. Didn't really need it either. Had a swig at the halfway point but that was all.
At the start of the run there was a slight incline and I thought that was the hill they had been talking about. It slowed me down a bit and I went through the first k in 5:10. Then we hit the real hills. WOW! They just killed me. They just went on and on for what felt like forever. I walked more and more and watched as Tom (Tui's better half) ran further and further into the distance. I had come in about 30 seconds in front of him on the bike but wouldn't be able to stay with him on the run.
The second k time was 6:31. Very disappointing. There was nothing I could do about it but try to make back some of that time in the rest of the race ... which was promised as flat ... and it was!
I found a much better rhythm and started to catch the people who had run past me on the hills. Not Tom though. He was away!
The next few k's went much quicker (5:04, 4:28, 4:50 and 4:37) ... the course was again a bit short (Garmin says 5.89k) and I finished in 30 minutes and 11 seconds. Damn those 11 seconds :)haha for a 5:07/k average.
My total time was 1:04:55.
I was guesstimating about a 1:10 so with the course being a tad short I was in the right area ... although I was thinking a slower bike and a faster run. Wanted a Sub5 average on the run but the extra Christmas weight and those hills put paid to that. Can't change the course but I will go into the race next year a bit lighter (yeah right!)
Thanks to Jo dragging me to the pool in the early hours of the morning (7am!) I have been swimming more than usual recently ... and it's definitely paying off. I'm doing more drills and shorter sets in preparation for the 600m swim in the UCAN2 Triathlon in (less than) two weeks time. I've also tweaked my stroke a bit and I'm now concentrating on keeping my elbow high as the lower half of my arm drops and as I pull through ... I think ...
My previous best 600m (without the high elbow thingy) was 11:18 but I had died in the 2nd half. First 300m was 5:30 and then 2nd 300m was 5:48.
This morning I tried to keep a more consistent pace and that, coupled with the high elbow resulted in a much calmer, faster and even paced 11:10. I know it's only 8 seconds faster but I think I could have held that pace for a few hundred more whereas yesterday I was exhausted.
Swimming is getting exciting because I feel that I am making progress. I need to keep the consistency. I see lunchtime swims at work in my future.
I don't want to shout too much about it but (apart from hill running) my running is going really well. I'm sticking to the heel strike but transitioning into more of a mid foot strike once I'm a few k into the run. The calf came through the race well and I even went on the treadmill the next day to have a play with different speeds and intervals. I still have the crazy goal of a Sub20 5k and so I was doing intervals at my current 5k pace (10 x 30 seconds on at 13.4km/hr with 30 seconds off) and then a few intervals at 14km/hr and then 15km/hr and then at Sub20 15.1km/hr pace which felt unbelievably fast. Next step will have to be a 5k attempt on the treadmill and then take it from there. I've rejoined the gym at work so I see lunchtime interval sessions on the treadmill in my future.
Biking is ticking over nicely. I'm keeping up with the Tuesday night intervals and I'm really pleased with where they have taken my riding. I used to be happy to get an average of 30km/hr on any ride but the two recent race paces of 35km/hr (and even the near 30km/hr at Rotorua) have really changed my perspective.
I'm really looking forward to triathaloning in 2012 :)