When all the puzzle pieces fall together. Race report for Cotswolds 113, June 6 2021
I have just completed the Costwolds 113 Middle distance triathlon race and LOVED it. It’s very rare that all the bits of the jigsaw fall into place and when they do it just feels amazing. This was that race.
Things had been good through training with a Covid spin off being the lack of coughs and colds around the place. Taper was relaxed, if slightly short in my eyes, at five days. For once I focused on the last few sessions and did them properly. I am always tempted to skimp these. It’s as if all the hard work is done and what difference will an extra 20 minute spin do? Lists, list and more lists with race plans, kit lists and morning routine all written out numerous times. And I knew the course, having raced it last year. A huge bonus was that my daughter was racing as well.
3.20am start, ug. Trialling new race breakfast of tinned rice pudding, ug. But if I can stomach it at 3.20 I can stomach it any time. Could have done with a rear light for a quick leg spin on the bike before racking, and would have preferred my water bottle not to leak all over my race socks in my transition bag. But being on site 2.5 hours before race start allowed me loads of time to faff and I arrived at the start relaxed after some deep breathing and internal chanting of my new race mantra – smooth (swim) speed (bike) spring (run).
Swim is in a warm pond – yeahhhhhh! Having spent all my open water practice moaning about water in Windermere at 10 degrees and unable to splash more than 800 metres landing in 19.6 degrees felt like a bath! This ‘Covid secure walk into the water one after the other’ starting lark is great. Means there are always people around to kind of suck you along. Sighting good, about every 20 strokes and I didn’t get lost, unlike last year. New mirror prescription goggles helped this! Made about 2 metres on people at the turns using corkscrew turns and leapt out happily in a time of 34:12 which is a lake swim pb for me and placed me 2nd in age group.
Remembered all the right buttons on my watch, always a challenge, and my new wetsuit literally fell off which gave me 8th out of transition amongst 222 women.
Settled on the bike. Ate, drank, considered my power. Coach and I had discussed 120 – 130 watts, watch was
showing around 140. Humm, will I blow up? Then first five mile split came up and I realised I could do average speed of over 20 mph which was a long term dream. Heart rate was sustainable and RPE was fine. So it had to be worth a go. It’s a flat course, but with a very, very bumpy road surface and there was no wind. Despite a forecast of sun it then rained and I got fairly cold. Then dried, then rained again. Passed my daughter looking like she was stopping, worried for her, until I saw her again later with a big grin. Eat, drink, check stats, keep consistent. A neck/shoulder issue I’ve been really struggling with held together just fine, what a relief. All good until Paddy was at the dismount line shouting warnings about the slippery, damp surface. Thanks to Vicki Farrington at Sports Recovery Kendal for all the strength training, it’s paid off. Landed safely in T2 with a time of 2:45:38 and an average speed of 20.1mph. How happy am I! Third in age group. Slightly slower in T2 as I have to put socks on.
The run, oh, the dreaded run. Think ‘spring’ and get on with it. I hated this run last year, almost to the point of threatening to give up racing. Considerably more practice on the bike, doing bricks, and lots of strength and mobility work has paid off. This time I could stand upright without pain! Eased into things as both hamstrings were threatening to cramp. So I finally achieved the slow start to the run my coach is always going on about and I always ignore in ‘race fever’. And, guess what, I then ran consistent splits until the end instead of tailing off. Maybe he’s got something here! My monkey and I had to have a few chats but he came to my aid. I was able to visualise him wrapped round my calf when it hurt, soothing it with a very soft tail. I now owe him a papaya. It’s on the shopping list. A solid run, and I was happy, that is a major victory. Third in age group.
Delighted to finish in 5:26:21, third in age group, although with that amount of energy on the finish line I surely could have found the extra 30 seconds to take 2nd! Just to keep my feet on the ground the winner of my age group won the female category outright, leaving me behind in a cloud of dust. Huge respect, what an athlete.
Also delighted my daughter also finished in one piece, declaring she was ‘over this tri lark’. 48 hrs later she is considering which ironman to enter! Massive thanks to my chauffeur, mount line marshal and supporter. It’s not an easy job.