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It’s getting serious now…

Hello, its been a while. Time for an update!

The first race of the session is done and dusted and now it is less than 4 weeks to go until Taupo 70.3!  I admit I am feeling a little nervous now about this race.

I raced in the Scorcher Triathlon on Sunday – “long” distance (1km swim, 30km bike, 8km run). My training last week had all been in preparation for this and my coach wrote a note for Sunday’s race to “race hard” and “leave nothing in the tank”. But I was looking forward to it. I had moved up to the faster lane at my swim squad and I had been working hard on my swimming all winter. I also felt stronger on the bike too.

The only thorn in my side was that my planter fasciitis had come back two weeks ago to remind me that it was still there. I had gone for a freezing ocean swim in Petone (don’t let anyone tell you it is tropical over there!) and the cold brought on a bit of heel pain on my run. It also didn’t help that I was running with a friend and we got a bit lost in Korokoro and ran much longer and harder (than I was meant too at least).

Immediately I started thinking the worst- “That’s is, I’ll need three months off running now”, “My Kona campaign is over” and other self pitying thoughts.

Luckily my coach is the voice of reason and told me to go get it checked out. I have a good physio and he said it wasn’t that bad, I just needed to do more calf raises and other rehab. What?! You mean you are meant to always to strengthening exercises when you have a weakness?  You can’t just stop when you think you are better? Damn.

The good news was I was able to keep running. The better news was that I got out of doing intervals that week!

So now every morning and night (mostly) you can find me hiding in a stairwell working on bulking up my calves.

Nevertheless I was actually looking forward to racing hard out at the Scorcher. I had a plan in mind and had looked at last years times and was confident that I would be faster and then I would be set for Taupo.

Of course the weather never plays ball. I had sleepless Saturday night listening to the rain and gale wind. I was still hopeful that it would die out by race time.

Windy Wellington.jpg

Swim time – yeah right!

I got up at 5:30am (so hard!) and had breakfast and packed up the car – thankful that I had at least got everything ready the night before, including giving my bike a good clean. No dirt was going to slow me down today! I also heard that there were record numbers entered for the Long Course this year so I wanted to make sure I got a got park and bike rack spot. Tick.

I got ready, lay everything out orderly, secured my bike shoes with rubber bands (let’s see how this goes) and got into my wetsuit. First issue was getting into it without my husband to do it up for me. I get wetsuit hickies whenever I do it myself or someone other than him does it. I found out during my warm up a) the water was a bit cold, but calm and sighting was good and b) I definitely needed to fix my wetsuit. I did get it right for the race and came away hickie free (it is a bit hard explaining those to colleagues on Mondays).

My plan was to get a good draft in the swim, so I started right at the front and sprinted into the water. I had enough space to breathe and didn’t get swum over than much. I felt strong and thought I was going really fast. I was passing a lot of men (they start 2mins ahead) so thought that was a good sign.

My transition to the bike was fast, for once I got out of my wetsuit quickly. The rubber band technique worked almost flawlessly, except when one side didn’t break off while I was peddling and I had to pull it off myself.

I then settled in to ride hard. The wind was strong in places, but I felt like I was putting a lot of effort in. So much so that I was already getting hungry (note to self – do not forget to eat that banana before the race start again), so I started to eat some food so I would have energy to power up the dreaded Houghton Bay Rd climb.

I was riding a lot by myself until I caught up to people at the hill. I figured I must be making good time. I counted the women coming down the hill and I was in 4th place. About what I was expecting, although the leader had opened up a big gap. After almost crashing a few weeks ago I was a bit more cautions coming down the hill but the plan was to go hard again around the coast.

It was around then that I started to realise that I was a bit behind by bike time from last year. Was it due to the weather? I thought it was windy last year too? I kept working as hard as  could and my legs were slowing fatiguing. The run was going to be horrible.


T2 was quick – and I passed the 3rd placed woman in transition. I run out hard and just hoped that I could keep it up. My legs felt like jelly and it was tiring work heading out into the wind. When I turned at 2km, I tried to use the tail wind to make up time. By this stage I was looking at that total time on my watch. 1hr50mins was coming up all two quickly and with another 4km lap to go I started to think I wasn’t going to make it. However, I just needed to keep putting everything into this race – I had to remind myself that the goal was a mental and physical challenge. I did slow down on that second lap, this was to be expected with the race strategy and it wasn’t by too much. No big blow out and I didn’t get the stitch – that made me happy. But no matter how much I tried I couldn’t make any ground on people in front of me – the legs had no more.


Sprint finish…NOT!

I finished in 1hr52, 3rd woman, and 1st in my age group. However, what I was more interested in was my splits and how they compared to last year. The Scorching results don’t separate out the transitions so I needed to see what they had recorded. I was constantly checking the website for updates!

I admit I was disappointing with my swim – so I ate chocolate. I had expected much better and thought that I had done better. But as others who are much wiser than me said, you can’t compare times for that swim, something always changes. My Garmin said I swum 1.3km, if that is right then my time was great! Or I need to work on swimming in a straight line…

So while that race didn’t boost my confidence, I reminded myself that I raced well last year off of similar times. That should be the message that I take from it and carry forward leading into Taupo.

It also taught me another lesson about nutrition. Why did I feel so hungry during the race? I had eaten a lot on Saturday. I had actually overeaten because I felt tired and was craving sugar. Why did this happen? Well I was so focused on eating well during the week that I probably didn’t eat enough and when into a bit of a deficit which caught up with me on Saturday and Sunday.

This is why I need to train to eat and not eat to train.

At least one thing remained consistent – I do not get spot prizes at Scorchers, no matter how few people stay for prize giving.

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