I started my triathlon adventures with an Olympic Distance event. For those of you unsure, an Olympic Distance triathlon is a 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run. I usually race just over double that distance. I really do not do many of these races but going into yesterdays race I really thought I was going to destroy it. Wollongong is a fast course with great road surfaces for the bike and a pancake flat run course. As I mentioned I got a new PB of 2:12 which is an improvement of 2 minutes. Anyway, I went into this race without a proper taper. I dropped my volume right down but was still doing some pretty decent speed work during the week. My rationale being that it is so short it won't take too big a toll on my body. I also went and had a massage on Saturday and walked away in more pain than I was before. Regardless I went to the start line feeling like my swim and run were in a good place and my bike would be about the same it was last year. The day did not quite go to plan.
When my wave start went I jumped straight in and tried to get to the front of the group to avoid a lot of the panic in the water. I am by no stretch a front pack swimmer but it I can hold a good pace for the first few hundred metres. With a series of boats to swim through I found the first few hundred metres to be quite rough and physical. I even had a bloke who get grabbing, not hitting, grabbing my feet. Once the swimmers started to disperse I focused on sighting and remember thinking as I swam out there the buoys were a lot further away than they looked from the shore. It was also very rough when you got out of the harbour. Anyway I kept swimming but couldn't kick too much because it felt like my calves were going to cramp. It felt like I was in the water for a long time which is not normally a good sign. I wanted to swim sub 25 minutes and based on my training I should do that quite comfortably. I got out of the swim and saw that I had swum 27 minutes. But I had also swam over 1700 metres. I am sure that I swam fairly straight and would assume that this was due to course inaccuracy rather than anything else. This is the third year I have done this race and the swim has been a different distance every year... SWIM SPLIT: 27:10
T1 took me a little longer than I expected but I got to try out my new Rudy Project Wing 57 and found it super easy to put on. Ready to go and off I went. T1 SPLIT: 1:43
Onto the bike. The bike is my strongest leg. Always has been. There is bit of a hill right at the start of the bike but nothing too serious. Otherwise it is a fast smooth course. I was surprised how good I felt. There were a few riders around me who I kept seeing. It was funny but I found my mind going into 70.3 mode where I would push as normal but not all the time. I realised this is only a 40km ride and decided to attack in the spots where there was a bit more wind or a slight incline. My breathing was out of control meaning that my HR was up. But I was trying to get as close to 1 hour for the 40kms. I came so close but once again just missed out. I came into T2. BIKE SLPIT: 1:00:44
T2 was pretty quick. Socks on, helmet off shoes on go. T2 SPLIT:1:20
I knew almost instantly that my legs were pretty fried. But it was my calf muscles which were the issue so it wasn't because of the cycling. When I would try and pick up the pace nothing would happen and I just couldn't get my pace under 4:00/kmh. People I had overtaken on the bike started to catch me. I kept going thinking to take care of those things I could control. I had a gel, drank sports drink, focused on my breathing as I was having a bit of a stitch. I even decided to try and negative split. Use the first 5kms to run myself into rhythm. I managed to pick up the pace with about 2kms to go which was nice but I knew that the sub 2:10 I wanted wasn't going to happen. I finished quite disappointed because I know I am a much stronger runner than I demonstrated. RUN SPLIT: 41:22
I really want to get my OD time down to 2:05 because it means that I have taken 2 hours off my first ever. In hindsight the issues I had yesterday were probably from the runs I went on during the week. I knew I shouldn't do it but that voice in my head telling me one more session would help. That and my arrogance to think that an Olympic would be easy. There is nothing easy about that distance. I am actually quite keen to sign up for a few more over the next 12 months as I think the speed of them will help to make me a faster 70.3 athlete. TOTAL TIME: 2:12:20. 20th in my Age Group and 75th overall.
So yes, despite all my bravado and saying that Olympic Races don't really matter that much I am guessing that they do. I know people will say that I still did a PB and that it is a good result. I expect a lot of myself and I want to keep moving forward. I suppose lately I just feel like I am not getting the results for the effort I am putting in. This is probably also an after-effect of the disaster I had at Western Sydney 70.3. I was positive I was going to go sub 4:30 that day and as of know I still have not done it. I am probably not going to get another decent shot at until September. However I have resigned myself to putting in another hard off season of training with a strong focus on my running speed and endurance. I am not afraid of the work that needs to be done.
Anyway that is enough of me feeling sorry for myself. If you know of any good races in the next few months list them in the comments as I am keen! Also a big congratulations to Mike 'Robo' Robinson on becoming an Iron Man on Saturday. He also had far from a perfect day and still managed a 10:38 for his first. What a legend. I know he is only going to get faster. As always a big thanks to my amazing wife Dez, my coach Ben Hammond and the entire crew of Team MaccaX!
Have a good week, trying hard and remember to TRI!