Training the week before TriAthy's Double Olympic was tapered as it's supposed to be, and this week, well, not a lot has happened. The fact that I will be on a plane exactly three weeks from now bound for Ironman Austria is worrying me. I am riding the 200km Wicklow 200 on Sunday which I am looking forward to, but really my training miles need to get back on track ASAP. The race on Saturday was largely one big mess but I have taken lots of positives from it and am still very happy with the time I managed despite numerous hiccups. So let's delve into it.
I had big plans to get out ahead in the swim - as is always one of my mini goals - but right from the start it all went wrong. The far left of the bank was rammed as every genius with a plan was looking to avoid the central flow of the river while we went 900m upstream. I opted to go up the middle arch of the bridge and outswim the pack only to link up with them on the other side. As one would expect, mother nature won, and I must have been behind about 30 bodies by the time I met them on the other side of the bridge. I did however really enjoy the swim and hacked through some 15 competitors to exit after 3km in 15th place. I was hoping for a 45min swim but would have to settle for 51mins. This is where things went bad. The conditions for that hour of the morning were, as to be expected, cold. I mounted the bike after an awful T1 frozen to the core and made my way onto the 80km circuit. After 10mins on the bike I had to pull in and put arm warmers on. At this point I did not think I'd finish this event. I was so cold my jaw ached well into Sunday from all the chattering. After about 40km I warmed up and finished the bike leg with a 32km average in 2:29:01 - the 3rd slowest bike leg of the top 50 competitors. I did spend 3 minutes pulling arm warmers on, but no excuse, my bike power needs to improve. I finished up on the bike in 30th overall dropping 15 places and made for the 20km run.
The run was tough as you'd expect but the joy of warmth from that bike meant I relished it that little bit more. I finished up with a time of 1:39:25 and a run average of 5:03 per kilometre. Not bad after a miserable bike leg. That time actually had me on course for my half marathon PB so I'll happily take that. I finished in a time of 5:05:47 which overall I am quite happy with. My nutrition on the day went well. I've started putting my gels into a water bottle on the bike (5) and mixing them with water. It beats the hell out of tearing through gels throughout the event and I advise people to give it a try. I was hoping for a sub 5hr race but with each of my mishaps on the day I will take that time. If I can replicate that and allow for some fatigue that would leave me with a sub 11hr Ironman. Anyone who is familiar with my stats knows that I can tend to hang on and am very consistent in my suffering so this aspiration is not beyond me. This weekend I ride the Wicklow 200 which will be a nice precursor to the 180km bike leg of Ironman and after that it's Hook or by Crook on June 13th. Oh, one last thing, a notable PB at the start of my training week, where I ran a 40min 10km out of nowhere. Yeah sometimes these things just happen. :)