What a race – 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 18km run later and my first half ironman is in the bag!!
I won’t pretend it wasn’t bloody hard, but with the lessons that I learnt I am now feeling a lot more confident for the full ironman in three months time (shit shit shit)..
I am feeling positive because, although it was really hard, I felt physically more challenged at Brighton Marathon so I know that I had more in the tank. What I have learnt is that where this race was quieter, especially with so much time out on your own in the swim and the bike, it is mentally more demanding. If I hadn’t spent majority of the race consciously telling myself to be positive and stay focused it could have been a totally different story. Once again – I am being shown how your mental strength equally as, if not more, important as your physical health!
The other thing that was very apparent was the lack of women present in comparison to the men – only 11 out of around 80 entrants. I think this picture demonstrates is perfectly and certainly gave me a good laugh before the start of the race. Ladies – if you are thinking about it then just do it, it is a fab sport and a fab race 😀
1.9km swim – 00:46:56
The swim was two lap tidal swim around Fambridge marina in between the boats so was unlike any other swim I had done before. Those that had the pleasure of my company before the race will have noticed that I was very nervous, mainly due to the amount of time I spent talking about going to the toilet, asking what I do if I have a panic attack in the water or what will happen if I am the last one out of the water.
Surprise surprise – once I was in the water and underway everything was fine. I got into my own rhythm away from the other swimmers, calmed down and actually started to enjoy the swim. The only problem with this was I seemed to end up so far into my own little world, that I soon realised I was swimming towards the wrong buoy. Classic Crampton. So quickly had to zig zag back in the right direction. Other than that little mishap, everything was fine and was one of my favourite race swims I have done. It seems I wasn’t working hard enough though as everyone else I have spoken to hated the swim!
T1 – 00:03:09
As I came out of the water I felt amazing that I had completed a good comfortable swim and saw my Mum and my friends straight away cheering for me. I came charging into transition with the usual enthusiasm immediately followed by – where the hell is my bike again?! Found my bike and had my usual clumsy transition faffing around to sort out drying in between every toe, much to the annoyance of those keen to see me do everything as quick as possible, and stuffing all my nutrition into my pockets.
90km bike – 03:25:18
Despite feeling positive after the swim, I started my bike being overtaken by two people and then hearing the words “I reckon we’ve only got about 10 people left in the water now” and immediately thought – ‘oh no, I’m definitely going to be one of the last to finish now’. But then I realised, it doesn’t matter if I finish last because this is my first attempt at this distance so finishing is the only thing I need to worry about. Once I accepted that it was my race and, so what if I am the last to finish, I relaxed into the cycle and started to think about my nutrition. I have had issues in the past and decided I needed to eat at least three of my High 5 energy bars by the end of the ride. Fortunately – this seemed to work for me and I will be sticking with this from now on.
After a few hills to start I settled into the two laps of the Dengie route and started to enjoy it going into the fast and furious ‘Burnham Bends’ – my favourite part of the whole loop. The route itself was right up my street as it was all country roads with minimal traffic and some great views looking over some of the local farms and over to Maldon. Where there were hills I was actually quite grateful for them as it gave a chance to flush some life back through my legs and arse!
Around the 75km mark I was suddenly very aware of the effect of wearing a trisuit with noticeably less padding was having on my poor bottom. I honestly thought if I were going to cycle any further than 90km then I may have had to have my saddle surgically removed! I will definitely stop being such a princess in training from now on so I get start getting used to a less cushioned cycle! I was able to laugh about it though and keep a good sense of humour till the end 🙂
T2 – 00:02:50
I came back into transition feeling really positive and feeling overwhelmed with joy about not having to sit on my saddle any longer. The only niggle I had was in my right knee that I think has something to do with my saddle being a little low still. I spent a little longer in transition as being so bloody pale I had to re-apply my sun cream!
18km run – 02:16:57
The run was four rather warm laps of cross country running along the sea wall and around the marina. This was easily the hardest part of the whole race. I set off positive from the bike and slowly deteriorated with the heat, mentally more so as my pace kept fairly steady throughout. I had to work really hard to stay mentally in the game and a number of times had to stop negative thoughts in their tracks. In short – I spent the whole run talking to myself like a complete nutcase!
I managed to run for all of the first two laps but by the second half I found I had to walk up some of the hills due to tiredness from the heat. After each lap they gave you a different coloured band and I can not tell you how relieved I was to receive that final red band. By this time I was sick of the energy gels I was having to eat and feeling rather ready for that finish line. I felt incredible finishing in one piece and was met by my Mum and the fab JBR run & tri club crew – what a welcome home across the line! Then of course – pub lunch and a few celebratory beers, conveniently only a two minute walk from transition 😀
Finish – 06:35:11