A day in the Lakes triathlon (2k swim, 90km bike 21kn run)
Sunday 20th June
53rd overall 7th lady 3rd in AG
So we decided to make this one a family event. After the agony of the steelman last year I really wasn’t sure if I’d be in any state to be able to drive home afterwards. It was also nice to be able to get the kids and Steve involved and away and out for the weekend.
Saturday was spent packing organizing, new tyre on the bike (yeah I’m anal like that) re packing and re-packing again.
We arrived later than anticipated, and happily parked up right opposite Jonathan. Im not sure how happy Jonathan was with our kids chucking balls around the place but we managed to keep the ball under control. Went to register and saw all the “guys” in the tent. Sandra, Kay, Trisha, Paige were all there and we had a good old chat. Spent the evening sorting nutrition, organizing the bike, packing bags and popped down to the lake to check the swim out.
As you already know, sad as we are, we looked at the nutritional value of jelly babies VS cliff blocks. I quickly re-arranged my nutritopn and added cliff blocks in place of the jelly babies.
Morning came. Torin had slept awkwardly, thought he’d broken his neck. It was all drama!! Juggling kids as well as trying to set up was a very different experience, but I really want them to be involved. I really want them to tell me they want to have a try too!! (It’s not happening!)
Quick briefing , 1 pre-race gel and we walked down to the lake. There was no organization this time so we all lined up and crossed the carpet a couple of secs apart. Water was so warm. It was clean!! (Made me realise how grim the tees is!!) The bouys were bloomin miles away! Two large rectangles. I managed to stay out of trouble. Pretty simple and a great start for me as I was third lady out of the water
Out onto the bike I got stuck behind a car!!! The car was rolling behind a couple of holiday makers out for a Sunday cycle. What else do you do but overtake in my impatience. A three mile road and then we were out onto the main route. Two big laps and a little lap. Well. What can I say. I know I’m pants on a bike but I was the person that everyone mush have had in their sights to catch up to and overtake. All the time I was just constantly being overtaken. So bloomin demoralizing. I’m used to being overtaken on the bike. But however hard I try I just can’t seem to get that power to even keep up with the overtakers. I watch each person who comes past, try to see if they’re Male of Female and try and keep up with the ladies (at a legal distance) for as long as I can. That’s about 3 minutes. Mind you some of the wonmen I have to double check if they’re male of female. The man shave their legs and the women are just so stocky and powerful. The outward section of the route was hillier and more suited to me. The return leg was much flatter and straighter.
It was a lovely route out to shap and back. In one of the villages there was a smiley face if you were doing under 30, and I assume a sad face if you were over 30. Despite my best efforts I got 3 smiley faces!! I was expecting Jonathan to pass me at some point. I thought it would have been on the second loop but I made it back to transition without even seeing him. (Nutrition 1 pack of cliff gels, 400ml tailwind, bit of water and half a rawvelo bar)
I’d set my running pack up unsure as to whether I would want to use it or not. I decided to grab it as it was starting to get a bit warm. Great transition (less than 2 mins) even without the lock laces and I was out on the run.
I was feeling great!! The steelman is the only other half I’ve done, and so I have little to go on. I clearly remember on the steelman wondering how on earth I was going to walk let alone run a half marathon. This time my legs felt so fresh. I was delighted!!! So delighted also because Seren was running close by cheering me on. It was just fabulous to have her there. Only problem was I’d left the caravan site without a loo stop.
Back out onto the road. I spotted Jonathan coming in. Wehay!! Great to see him. That gave me a boost. It didn’t last long though because I was desperate for a wee. I passed one guy happily peeing away behind a bush. Oh to be a man. I knew the route was up to the top of the fells so I needed to stop pretty soon. I found a perfect little cover. What a relief!! I didn’t care who saw me!! Definite problems of using liquid nutrition on an endurance race!!
As we continued up the road it turned into a track and a steep hill. I watched the guys ahead. They were all running!! Bloomin idiots I thought. I know what Andy would do. He’d walk!! So I took a gel and let the guys pass me. I walk ran up the rest of the hill. Back to jogging as the incline decreased and passed a few of the guys who’d killed themselves up the hill. At 4km in I found my legs and shortly after I felt the gel kick in. It was a real lightbulb moment. I couldn’t believe it, it was like I’d never even done the bike and swim. Overtook a few more folks and got settled in behind a great guy who had a great pace for me to follow. We were passing plenty of folks at this point. One woman who’d flown past me on the hill was throwing up and groaning by a wall. A little further along the single track we cam across the drinks station. The guy in front stopped to collect his drink. I was relieved I’d chosen to take my backpack. I wasn’t ready to stop.
Another short sharp uphill to a photographer and the most wonderful picture perfect valley… and another hill!!! I looked at the hill and had a little cry inside. Ah well. Everyone else will feel the same and I’m actually quite ok at hills… so up I plodded. Passed a few more folks before heading down penguin style into the next valley. A dull road out and back certainly sapped energy. Back over the valley and back to the drinks station meant that we were about 6km from the finish. This part was all along the road. I’m so glad I chose my road shoes over trail shoes.
I carried on passing folks in the last 5km and felt really good all the way to the finish. Plenty of water. Very dilute tailwind and three gels used for this section.
I was so relieved to be allowed to stop as I crossed the line, but this time I wasn’t in agony like I had been in other endurance races of this length. I’d definitely pushed hard but the endurance training is certainly working. Even today my legs feel fine. After the steelman I could barely walk!! It’s a relief to feel that I will be able to complete Wales this year (please don’t cancel it!!) I’m disappointed with my bike, but I’m not giving in.
5th June 2021
Total: 01:34:51. 1st Age Group (WTF!!). 28th women. 118th overall
My aim has always been to do Redcar Triathlon hence learning to swim and joining the club, but open water swimming terrified me - the cold, things touching my feet, the no walls..... Tadcaster was a test run in the pool where I was comfortable, although 400m none-stop was a new experience. AJ Bell was NOT on the cards until there was an option to reduce swim to 200m. PERFECT – a nice build up to Redcar! WRONG, organisers had messed up and I realised Thursday evening I was doing 750m. PANIC!!
4.30am: up, some breakfast, stuff in car, dogs hugged and ushered back to bed
5am: we hit the road. I was trying to tell myself I was just doing 200m and Nige was giving me lots of confidence: “you can swim, Al”, “count 1, 2, 3…breathe” “pretend you are in Redcar pool”….it was helping, I had some positive self-talk rattling around in my head. I used to suffer quite badly with pre-game nerves, but I think years of hockey has taught me how to keep the demons at bay.
6.15am: arrived in the plenty of time, thankfully as the queue was getting long behind us, and we had to spend 10mins getting the grass off our bikes. Who cut the grass last night?! Idiot!
6.30am – 7.45am: queue again to enter the park, grass off bike, register, grass off bike, faff about getting changed, stuff in transitions, grass off our bikes AGAIN.
7.45am – just one pre-race wee, improvement! Wetsuits put on relatively easily, all going well!
8am – Nige suddenly abandons me to enter the water…
A lovely marshal took my glasses and left them on the chair at the exit of the water. This meant I didn’t have to either go from swim to bike in my prescription goggles, scramble about blind, or try and swim with my glasses in my hand. Honestly, there is so much to think about in Triathlons!! The sight issue always made me avoid swimming, but this kind gesture settled me down as a bit of panic had started to rumble.
Preparation for this had been two face-freeze sessions at Scaling Dam where I did 300m of swimming/bobbing/complaining I was cold, and 175m with Nigel Fleming in the Tees last Sunday! This was not the prep I wanted before 750m!
Pink hats called up, that’s me - here I go! Feeling quite composed – I can do this! Enter the water – great, not to cold, get swimming, trying to keep calm and stroke rate down. Going ok, spotting going well then about 150m/200m in I suddenly realised how far OUT I had to go before I could head for the shore. A LOT went through my head…..Shit, I have no tow float to hug for a little bob about, there is no Andy or Mark on a kayak watching me , OMG I am alone, no one knows this is WAY TO F*CKING far for me, how stupid doing 750m after three tiny practice sessions, I think I am tired, I think I have a cold foot, what if I drown, hang on where are the safety kayaks I don’t see close to me!?, I am going to have to go on back and raise my arm, I cannot do this…. All this forced me to breaststroke slowly but moving forwards was my priority. Headshake time: there was no way I was quitting 1) because then I wouldn’t finish; 2) I would never forgive myself; 3) it costed a lot so I am getting my monies worth!
I kept the breaststroke going and realised most people around me weren’t actually going much faster and they were doing FC so that was a boost. Also a lady to my right looked friendly, and I am sure I knew her (clearly was just making shit up as everyone looked the same, I could barely see her face, and I knew no one swimming in my wave), but this is what I told myself and it helped settle me. Managed to do some FC then back to breaststroke but still moving. Around first bouy, keeping close to the bouy like Matt said yesterday so not swimming any further than I needed to. A bit of panic again as we had to go across before we turned for home. Turned for home, thank the lordy!! Breaststroke and with a bit of FC continued. Spotted a camera so tried some Fc to finish. Finally, I was on dry land – huge relief. I was convinced I was terribly slow, and even though I started ‘just wanting to finish’, I know I always up a gear in a race so I expected to do so in the swim but that ‘grit’ was just not there. I think I was in a daze!! Steady amble to T1, helping a bloke on the way with his zip, and spent the rest of the steady jog trying get the wetsuit over my watch!
At transition, calmly got sorted. Had a few jelly babies – thanks to Jenny for reminding me how awesome they are! Steady jog with my bike to mount line….
On bike – yippie, zoomies! Ops not quite, someone nearly took me out as they took the corner too fast. Steady first lap to get a feel for it. But I got to do some “ON YOUR RIGHT” shouting which made me feel professional! I had my tape on my bike again to help count the laps – worked a treat. Every race you learn. Second lap: I think I was still mentally recovering from whatever the heck just happened in the lake but I got a bit quicker; took the corners better and got out of the saddle to peel away. Someone shouted “You alright” – oh what a lovely man, I wonder if he knows me…. I replied “yeah I am good thanks – well done!” – oh you muppet he said “on your right”. Doh! Third lap: I suddenly realised my ‘grit’ was starting to kick in. Looking at my Garmin splits, it definitely did, about 9km/h faster. Final lap done – into transition. Unclip early as I am a fanny I fall off – crap, unclipped WAY too early – clip back in peddle a bit more – “not yet Hornsby” a bloke called from behind so I copied him and got off when he did and had a little chat to T2. My target was 38 - 40min on bike – I was a little over that but I was in one piece so happy.
T2 quite smooth again – grabbed some jelly babies for company on the run (again, copying Jenny!). Running felt good – I got to a steady pace quickly. I do little running training and my default is ‘steady-away’ but I know I can find some pace when needed – I felt good and relaxed, so I was pleased. I was aiming for about 25min. A few hills and more corners! Nearly took the corner for the finish line but got ushered for my second lap. Round I go again - Jelly babies still in hand but now a gooey mess! ‘Sprint’ finish up the little hill and that was me done! I saw I was over 1hour 30min and a little disappointed as I knew Nige was aiming for that and I was confident he would have got that or under - we like to try and beat each other in a loveable way (clearly I had forgotten about my lake meltdown though!!).
1) I can do 750m swim, I just need more open water practice and confidence
2) I need a lighter, smaller and more aero bike. *cough cough* my birthday is in July, Nigel...
3) I LOVED it!
Thanks everyone for the good luck wishes, tips and encouragement!
I was looking forward to this one but my weeks prep was not the best. On Monday I went for a run with a mate in Hartlepool and did a 10k, it was a good pace for the legs but I paid for it the following days with DOMS. The rest of the week consisted of be decorating everyday of my annual leave! Some holiday!
What I should have done was spin the legs out on the bike and have a gentle swim mid week. In the end I was pretty tired and my legs weren't in good shape. Not as bad as hockey though
The final thing in my prep was that once again I decided to try to sort my headset out on Friday afternoon. Stupid, I should have just left it. A trip to Godley's to try to get some help was to no avail, so I had to manage solo. I got it to the best possible place and left it. But once again not the best preparation, leaving things to the last minute seems to be a habit of a lifetime.
4.30am...... yes 4.30am what's that all about? The alarm goes off and to be fair I had a good nights sleep in the spare bed haha so that was a much better sleep than Druridge Bay in the van. Less stressing over what's to come. I suppose that will dissipate further the more experience I gain.
5.00am - the car is packed and breakfast is gobbled up and off we went sending the dogs back to bed as they were wondering what the hell was going on. Pretty sure they thought we were off on holiday and leaving them behind.
6.15am we arrive at Roundhay Park Leeds on time as the roads were very quiet at that time of day. We parked up and unloaded and headed to the arrival tents for our temp checks to access the park. Pretty well organised really although they were pretty slow getting people through the gates. After this it was the long walk into the park to the Registration. However cut the grass the day before wants shouting. There was cut grass wedged in every nook and cranny of the bikes, I'm sure at one point I had a full bail in my front forks.
7.20am ish we made our way to the portaloos as we hadn't come dressed for the race. I was going to but thought a fresh Tri suit would feel nicer and I wanted to see what the weather was going to be like to decide which suit to go for, sleeves or no sleeves. Sleeves to avoid the sun burn it was. Pre race Poop no.2. and off to bike racking.
On the way to rack the bike I realised I was short my transition baskets. I'd left them at the Park entrance where we had our temperature taken. Oh well, all my stuff will just need to be chucked on the wet grass then!
We got sorted and wandered off to the swim start to put the wetsuits on. It was getting warm so I didn't want to get in it too early. Pre race poop No3.
Heading down to the swim start I noticed a guy struggling with his wetsuit, same one as mine so I knew what he was struggling with, the dam zip comes undone everytime you bring the suit up over your shoulders. So I stopped and gave him a hand. Got him sorted and then we heard the call for red caps. Shit that was both of us! so off we went, leaving Ali to her own devices, sorry Al.
We joined the back of the red cap line ready to go in. I was hoping for a warm up to test the water and get the HR up and shoulders warmed. No such luck. We were just getting thrown in. Oh well.
I was all set, I was way more confident than at Druridge so that was a positive, the extra swims in open water between then have been really positive so I was in a good place.
I was in, watch started, and wow the water was lovely and warm. Still I had a moment and I just couldn't get my breathing right so I had a breast stroke, front crawl medley to start with and managed to get under control. It wasn't the fastest but I was focussing on technique and going the whole 750m in one go. After the initial moment I was going well and got all the way to the exit in one go. Massive achievement for me. Although spotting in the low sun was tricky I managed it all without any major issues.
I must remember to use my watch properly at the right times. As I got out of the water, no dizziness and feeling good, I started my way up the blue carpet to T1. 400 bloody meters. There should have been golf buggies shuttling athletes up to their bikes.
I waited until I go to the bike before undoing my suit as I had my hands full with all my swim head gear. Those of you who have seen me in the water will know what I'm on about. Although it was a little slow I managed easy enough with the new lube. Shoved some gel down my neck and a jelly baby and off I went on the bike.
This course set up suited me down to the ground. My background in multi sprint sports lends itself to these lapped circuits with lots of turns. It lets me slow, turn, sprint and get back on the power on a regular basis, and allows high speed bursts and short recovery. I was enjoying it.
I left the water from the swim in 253rd place and managed to get up to 72nd on the bike. It was evident that the motorsport track race came out today, wide entry to corners, ignoring marshalls waving slow down and carrying as much speed through the apex as I could and getting on the power as quick as I could on the exit. There was a couple naughty inclines that were leg sapping but I made up for them on the downhill sections.
Dismount!!!!! argh, almost a fall. Firstly I got out of the clips too early and had to get back in as there was a small incline before the dismount line. I approached the dismount line and unclipped swung my leg over and unclipped the other foot only to slide on the tarmac in the cleats. I stayed up and carried on safe-ish!
The run in the cleats to the racks was long again. Not very comfortable in the cycle shoes and my hips and calves were starting to cramp up. So I slowed up and managed my gait into the T2. More fluid, another gel and a jelly baby runners on and out onto the final leg.
Two laps of the park was all that was left. 5km and done. It was heating up now and the sun was beaming down. Even though I had taken on plenty of fluid I was starting to get thirsty. No wonder my legs were starting to cramp at transition. I grabbed a bottle of water on my second lap and quenched my thirst and cooled my head down. Almost done.
It was a windy hilly route and the inclines really took it out of your quads. I was on target at 5min/km I don't think I had it in my legs to go any faster today so I was happy with the consistency.
My watch clicked over 5km and I was searching for the Sprint Finish signs.... no where to be seen! There was a Go Tri, a Tri Star, a Youth Tri Finish sign but nothing relating to Sprint. I went past the ramp to the finish line as I assumed there'd be a turn somewhere. Nope! On I ran. Back passed transition zone, again. As I was running, I'm asking marshals where the finish was and getting no real help just encouragement that I was almost there! Helpful! I got to the lake again and asked the marshal and she said I'd passed it as there's a U turn at the ramp. Finally some useful help. So I jumped the fence where she was and started up final bank to the ramp on the blue carpet. only 2km extra!!
Turns out I wasn't the only one. I was one of six crossing the line in a 10sec window and each and everyone of us were complaining about the signage and that we had done an extra lap.
So that had screwed my race. I officially finished in 1.42.54 but I would have been in on 1.32 ish without the extra 2km.
Anyway, I was only going to make sure I could get through it and finish without issue, which I did, pretty much. So overall I'm pretty happy, had a good day in the sun, managed to get a moan in for poor organisation and got home for an old man nap on the sofa with a beer.
Small steps, big achievements. Onwards and upwards.
Finally, the club Tri Suits are not flattering at all!! Belly gonna get ya.
This is the second time I’ve competed in the Leeds triathlon. At my first race, I was in awe of how well it was organised for such a big event. Today I wasn’t so impressed.
Everyone was asked to arrive at a specific time, then register at a specific time. From arrival to race start, I would have 58 minutes. Based on feedback from everyone who raced on Saturday, I decided it would be wise to arrive a little earlier. The extra 20 minutes I gave myself was all eaten up queueing to get into the car park.
There was no chance to get back to the car, so everything had to come with me to registration. While unpacking stuff, I knocked over an open can of monster into my box of spares. It felt like a workout just carrying everything to the race entrance. When I got there the queue was massive and I realised that I hadn’t picked up a face mask 🤦♂ I also hadn’t checked my tyre pressures.
The workout continued from the entrance to registration, the pace was incredibly slow and overtaking was almost impossible.
By the time I’d been through registration, I had 20 minutes to get racked up and into my wetsuit before race start
No time to give anything a second check, luckily I was near the end of the racks, so finding my bike should be relatively easy.
It was individual starts walking down a ramp into the water. I was second in the queue and didn’t notice how long the ramp was. I was expecting to be able to walk out to waist depth then start swimming. So it was a bit of a surprise in knee deep water to fall of the ramp on my third step and almost sink to the bottom of the lake . It was relatively warm though 18c and I set off at a steady pace.
After about 100m my wetsuit was feeling tight and my breathing was getting faster I switch to breast stroke to catch my breath, but my breathing wasn’t stabilising and the breast stroke felt more tyring than front crawl. I tried to crawl again, but I couldn’t keep my face in the water long enough before gasping for air. I wasn’t even half way to the first buoy and I started to wonder if there were cut off times for the swim or if I’d even complete the swim this is the closest I’ve ever come to just rolling over and raising my hand. I carried on with breast stroke and when I got to the first buoy, I felt like my breathing was back under control and tried crawl again. I kept it steady for the rest of the swim, but there were no more issues.
Not sure if it was the new foam race chip, but I got my left leg stuck in my wetsuit 🤦♂ I kept saying to myself, more haste less speed…
Happy that I was still alive after the swim, it was time to start enjoying the race. It didn’t seem nearly as hilly as the last time I was here. It was great to be overtaking people. I only got overtaken by a handful of riders, not surprising since there weren’t many people behind me
I was surprised how many spectators were out on the roads and their encouragement was very welcome.
Another long run, but pretty uneventful.
Despite all the maps and route guides saying this was a 3 lap run, in the fine detail it mentioned 2 complete laps then turn off for the finish on the 3rd lap Thanks to Nige for making me double check. Again, the crowd was great, except for the lady who had way too much perfume on.
The route was fairly hill, similar to most of my training routes. This made it difficult to know if I was running at my target pace. I actually thought I was running too slow based on my watch, but it turned out I was almost exactly on 5min/km pace
2 Hours 50 mins 43s
Only 10 mins slower than my target, can’t complain when I was so close to giving up
BTW, 30psi in my rear tyre when I got home good to know I can run them so low