We’re the fast guys

Or near enough. 9th overall, 3rd in my age group at this morning’s Duathlon. Not too shabby, but it was a pretty small field this year with more significant races drawing away a lot of entrants and the pissy weather putting people off. To roughly quote the conversation with my mate before the race start.

I’m not sure who the fast guys are here. Who am I going to pace myself off?
We’re the fast guys.

I then spent most of the race somewhere around 30 seconds behind him, never quite managing to bridge the gap. Some excuses… I had to wait for a car at the compulsory stop on the bike course and I dropped my arm warmers and started to head back to pick them up, before thinking WTF it’s a race. They’re expensive arm warmers, I can’t just throw them away. Fortunately they were still there so I picked them up as I set off home.

Thoughts from the weekend… Firstly, petrol is really expensive now… Driving round the M25 with a nearly empty tank I was relieved to make a service station then the price of the petrol led me to audibly swear on the forecourt. I could have saved 2 quid if I’d filled up back near home. I spent the evening in one of the more depressing Travelodges I’ve been in, quite an achievement. Things I check in these places – presence of Channel 5 on the TV, biscuits with the complementary tea and coffee, free shower gel and room temperature… Pretty much lacking on all fronts and surprisingly sparse too. On the plus it was cheap by booking early and the bed was comfortable enough. So it was a fairly dull evening in with nothing on TV and only Infinite Crisis to keep me company. It was a guilty pleasure, over the top superhero story telling, really poor plotting, but kind of entertaining.

Woke up race morning and it was grey and drizzling. What crossed my mind is whether I really wanted to be doing this… It’s good to note though that regular early mornings means the race morning early start isn’t too much of a problem now. In an unusual move I was at the race start early and didn’t have to rush about, instead I could spend more time complaining about the cold and the damp. Which once I met my friends I did plenty of.

Getting to the point of things – the race. Overall I’m happy with things, a solid race, nothing spectacular, but starting off the season it’s not so bad. I’m not used to working at that intensity though, largely due to the Ironman focus meaning I don’t often race with a heart rate in the 160s-170s. I didn’t really feel good until I was nearing the end of the bike to be honest, at that point I felt settled in and could have done a couple more laps. That said the wind and the rain was a bit brutal at points and made you work for your speed at points of the course. Running is OK, didn’t feel I was at my fastest though, but a solid pace I could have held for a bit longer.

The issues? My left ITB is playing up a bit, very tight and sore at high intensity, I need to spend a lot of time massaging and stretching it to get the most out of intense training. It was a limiter for a period of last year too so it’s an issue I know of and have to deal with.

Annoyingly the zip snapped on my 2XU top as I tried to open it on the second lap. I really like the 2XU endurance shorts, but have had trouble with the tops on a couple of occasions. The under arm tends to rub and in longer races it’s a bit uncomfortable by the end. This may be an excuse to try another brand of tri suit and see if I can find the perfect race kit. I am liking the look of the Zoot Ultra range, hard to get here, but I might try to import some to try. The retailer at the event had some of the Zoot shoes on display too, looked quite nice and you could have fully matching kit…

For the coming week I think I need to start working on my nutrition, quality not quantity, too much cheap food and fats in there. I need to start getting more sleep and I need to get myself sorted on actually filling in my training diary properly rather than tracking it all in my head. Also there’s planning a mission statement and goals for my year or two as a full time athlete, so many races, so little time and to truly improve you have to focus. More on this sort of stuff another time. Another weekend in Spain is coming up and some nice warm weather to look forward to.