The whole team racing is not new to me, however the experience that I had at Busso 70.3 was different to say the least.
In previous team races that I have competed in meant the teams started in the last wave after all the Pros and Age groups.
In Busso the teams were due to start 3hrs after the pros and after all the age groupers were out on the bike and most back in. I was swimming in a mixed team and we had our own wave. There were 3 waves, male, mixed and team.
I wanted to have a good hit out as this was most likely going to be my last open water swim for some time. I started about 10m in front of everyone else and the mind was just to swim as hard as I could until I popped or got caught and then just hang on. Knowing that there was no bike to follow and the Run I was doing for another Team (story for later in blog) meant that I had no excuse not to see where I was at. I have only been back in the pool for a few weeks and this would give me a good gauge and hopefully motivation booster to continue in the pool. If I am going to give Leigh Chapman another lesson in Kona, I know I need to minimize my lose in the swim as I know his biking has improved.
The swim out was good and on the way back it got a bit choppy, but to see a sub 29min swim (28.53) was pleasing for me. Handing the chip to my team mate meant a good wait between swim and run was to be had.
The day prior, a girl was on her phone looking dissapointed when she hung up. I asked her what was wrong and she told me her team runner had pulled out.... So I offered to do the run for her. She thought that I was joking at first, but I assured her that I would be happy to do it. Over to register and my day was going to be quality.
The whole fueling here was weird, not exactly knowing what to have in fear of crapping my pants on the run...
I wanted to post a solid run time, as close as I could to 80min so was going to have a good crack at it and the last thing I wanted was this:
So, I decided to go on the lighter side of eating in between the sessions. Also, not knowing what time my swim/biker would take, I had no idea of when to get ready. Really weird situation.
After seeing all the runners get ready, I decided to do the same without any idea how long I would be standing there for. Then one of the officials held up the race number that I was in the team with. I went over to see what was going on and I was informed that the poor girl had been taken to medical after just one lap and that we were not going to post a finish time. He did tell me that I could still do the run leg though. I was happy as my wait was over and it was time to test the legs. My last run pre this was Tuesday, so I was fresh, however sluggish as the weather had been poor all week.
I set out at a good click holding 3.40's and was feeling good. Plan was to have a Shotz Gel at 15min and then another at 40min (caffeinated) and 1hr to get me home. This is easily more than a normal plan for me, however gives me a good look at how much I can consume/absorb for more important races.
Knocking back the first gel was easy and then I was just cruising along holding the same speeds. Getting through 10k's in almost 37min even I started wondering if I had it in me to have a crack at the 78min I ran in 2010. 16k in 1 hr, meant a 3.40ave for the last 5.1 to have a chance.
I had my caffeine gel here and felt like I need a bit more, so I had my third gel within the next k before the final turnaround, just so that I could concentrate on the final part to the line.
Then Bang, stitch, WTF..... never stitched in a running race, damn, had my gels to close together and the body just didn't like it... slowing to a 4min 33k removed all thoughts of a 78, ok let's go for 79min.. Stopping at the aid station for some liquid, and with a stitch in my right side, meant another slow k 4.19. With a head wind last 3k, 80min started to look like a battle, so I just tried to see what time I would post this early in my prep.
Getting back under the 4min k pace for the final two k's was pleasing and crossing the line in 1hr 21min 30 sec gives me a great starting point for my Kona assault. Learning after every race is the key to development and gaining heaps from this run puts me in a good position for my next 1/2 marathon in a few weeks.
Details of my run are below:
You can see where I started to battle, this will be rectified for next run. The next 10 days are going to resemble a structure that I will take deep into the winters months. The goal for the next half is sub 80, still not at my fastest but will be showing signs that I am heading that way. No point peaking now and having TEAM PIS destroy me on the Lava Fields!
Another really good positive from the weekend were the invites to train with various people around the place. A few from WA, the boys from the Institute, all which I look forward to accepting in the coming months.
Overall another great weekend and with great starting points and motivation as high as ever, I really look forward to this winter and another good prep for Kona.