Weymouth 70.3

Posted: September 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

Wow – This one REALLY hurt.

Racing two 70.3 races on back to back weekends is definitely an interesting approach to take.

I can remember having some grub with a friend a few hours after the Vitruvian and saying that “I could not think of anything I would like to do less than another half IM triathlon in 7 days time!!”.

Still a few days on from the race and my perspective was changing… By the time I got round to writing the Vitruvian race report on the Friday I was actually feeling mentally fresh and ready to rock.  I stress the words mentally ready.  I had no idea how my body was going to hold up.  Here is what happened next…..

The Swim

It was funny listening to all the people around me complaining about how cold it was at the race start.  For me I am happiest in pretty much ice cold temperatures and I was loving the freshness in the air.

After the shocker I had in the previous weekend’s swim with hyperventilation hitting me like a big truck I made the call to start VERY slowly in the swim this time round.  Interestingly enough, I could almost feel the same thing happening at the start, but as I slowed the pace a touch the moment passed and I could crack on with the swim.  There was a real swell in the water and this would have made sighting a real problem had it not been for the fact the direction we needed to swim in, was directly in line with the rising sun.  It felt great being out in the ocean in the swell and while I did not have a super fast swim, I really did enjoy the time in the water and was almost a little disappointed when the swim came to an end.

As I hit dry land I got my race head on and when I hit the bike, I hit it hard.

The Bike

I was not planning to ride the bike especially hard, it kind of just happened.  Out of T2 and I hit a steady climb after a few minutes, so I figured I would push HARD on this one.

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I rode up it at a solid 400+W, completely intending on backing the pace off at the top.  But then there was somebody just up the road so I figured I would keep on pushing just a bit until I passed him.  Then there was another cheeky hill so I figured I would push on that to keep the momentum going.  Then I could see someone else just a little bit up the road so I kept on pushing.  Then I picked up a bit of a speed line so I pushed a bit more to drop them.  But this did not seem to work….  So I put in a couple of HUGE surges and within seconds they were gone 🙂

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Then there was another hill and I figured I would keep pushing to build a decent gap.  Then I spotted some more people up the road and the whole process repeated itself over and over again for about 80 minutes.  What started out as a surge up the first hill ended up as a huge 80 minute surge to the front of the Age Group race.

I was like a horse with a carrot and a proverbiale stick going round on repeat.  I found myself near sprinting to the top of some of the hills and over the other side.  This felt like proper RACING and I was loving every second of it.

At this point I overtook the first pro rider.  The pros went off 10mins ahead of us so it gave me a real boost to catch one of them after 80mins of riding.  I think I would have been safe to take the hammer off, but it simply was not possible since immediately after that we hit the one really big climb of the day.  With the chain ring combination I was riding I only had one option and that was to push well over 400W to the top, but once at the top I wanted to try and gap the pro I had just passed, so once again, I kept the hammer down.  Pretty quickly he was gone from sight and as I hit the 2hr mark I finally managed to let myself ease up, stop ‘pushing’ and return to what I would have called my normal 70.3 bike effort.

After the last 2hrs craziness, this felt like a recovery pace, which I kind of figured I needed, if I was going to stand a chance in hell of running more than two step once I was off two wheels.

For those of you interested in the numbers, the training peaks graph (with zero ‘smoothing’) below tells a pretty good story of the ride too.

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Approaching T2 I caught another pro and we rolled in together.  I was at the front of the Age Group race but I knew that as always, the speed runners would not be far behind.  To be fair, they were a little further back than I expected but they were still ‘there’.

The Run

The second I hit the run I KNEW it was going to be a VERY VERY long painful half marathon.  My heart rate was already north of 160.  When I hit the start of the Vitruvian run, a week earlier, my heart rate was sitting at 145-150.  It did not go north of 160 until the last few miles when I really started to push.

The fact my heart rate was already sitting at 160, meant I was going to have very little / no reserve to call on as the run progressed.

The first few miles actually were OK, but I knew my heart rate was slowly creeping up to 170.

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After about 20mins of running my heart rate hit 170.  That right there was my ceiling.  If I went my above 170, I would only be able to do so for a matter of minutes before the lights well and truly went out.

The best way I can describe the rest of the afternoon is like walking a tight rope.  My heart rate continued to slowly creep above 170 and every time it did I was forced to back the pace down another notch.

When the inevitable happened and I got passed by the odd age grouper, all I wanted to do was push and go with them.  But every time I did, my heart rate got dangerously close to 180 and I felt like I was about to pass out.  I would then have to slow to almost a walk, wait for my heart rate dropped to below 170 and start running properly once again.

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And so the run progressed pretty much in that manor all the way to the finish.  I have got to be honest, I did not think it was possible to run SO slowly with my heart on its limit, but I think the fatigue from racing the previous weekend combined with the crazy bike effort probably played a big part in that.  If someone would have told me before the race, that I would run for 60+ minutes with my heart rate sitting at or around 170 I would have told them that that was simply not possible.  I have always said, every now and then your body surprises you, and today it certainly did.

Crossing that finish line, I may not have had a fast run time, but I was very proud of the amount of effort I put into holding it together out there.

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I had no idea of of my position in the race at that point. I was just in a daze and chatting happily to the people around me who I had been racing.  Maybe 10minutes or so passed and I finally saw a friend who had also been racing.  He was a little more clued in with the results and filled in the spaces for me – 1st in the 35-40 age group, 5th age grouper overall and 16th overall included the pros.

The icing on the cake was my mate had finished 2nd in the 35-40 age group.  I was chuffed to bits for him, and maybe a little relieved he had not smoked past me on the run 😉

From a racing perspective this has been a pretty decent year all things considered.  Between falling off my bike in May and my back completely going at the end of June I can’t believe I managed to make it to the start line, let alone have a few half decent results along the way.  I think as I get older, I appreciate each result a little more than I used to, as you never know whether this might be your last top 5 / top 10 / Age Group win / podium place etc.. that you will get.

So a big thanks to everyone who has been part of helping me this season and over the years, in particular:

drag2zero – A great team and aerodynamic experts who ensure I ALWAYS hit the run as close to the front of the race as I could hope for.

Bosworth Clinic – Holding my back together so that I can even think about getting somewhere near the start line.

swim4tri – Ongoing advice and swim programs for the last 6 years.

Steve Bowerman – One of the best sports massage chaps I know in the business and helped me out of quite a few pickles where I have maybe pushed it all a little too hard!!!

Joe Beer – Ongoing coaching for the last 7 years and part of the building blocks behind EVERY result to date.

STAR of the show, my resident PT – Carli Goodfellow.  A friend asked me this morning what was the biggest contributing factor to the results I have had this year.  My answer to her was “all of the strength and conditioning Carli has had me doing.  It has been a real game changer…”

To all of you, from the bottom of my heart thank you.  You have no idea just how much I appreciate everything you have done for me.

Next up, Breca Consiton swim/run race.  That is going to be a cold one and I honestly can not wait.  Bring on the adventure 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Comments
  1. Kerry Jones says:

    Brilliant Chris x as always I love your writing xx well done you and well done Carli and the girls too xx

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