Just the small matter of a race

I let this go under the radar for a while, because until the horn went off at 7:50 this morning I really wasn’t that excited about another race. This time race 4 in the local sprint tri series. Again hosted up in Robina, but a slightly longer course (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run). Despite the reluctance with which I went along I finished up really enjoying myself. Not particularly because of performance, but having the opportunity to race and push myself a little was good fun. Not that I was well prepared in any way, shape or form!

Allow me to indulge in the age old tradition of providing my excuses for performance. Since my big day in the saddle I haven’t done any really large days of training, but I have still trained solidly. Friday I cruised around on the bike at an embarrassingly low pace. Though I did ensure I put a little effort in so the bloke commuting on his mountain bike didn’t keep up with me, I have some dignity! I also stopped off on the way home to finally try one of the muffins at Barchino. I realise it’s unlikely many people reading this will ever go to the place, but if you do – the muffins actually look better than they are. Sad, but true. The coffee was good and free thanks to my tenth stamp on the loyalty scheme.

The only other session on Friday was a trip to the pool. Maintaining the theme of poor time management for the day I went during peak hours. Mostly I sing the praises of Aussie pools – size and availability of lanes is excellent. Especially if your lifestyle lets you go when only the elderly and unemployed are free. What I learnt is that Friday evening is busy with squad swimming leaving at most 4 lanes free. Ok, I realise by UK standards that’s practically an empty pool, but I’ve been spoilt lately. For the first time I had to share a lane with people who interfered with my workout. Mostly the frustration of not being able to turn on the wall because they left no space and I’m not mean enough to tumble turn into someone. Still if I’m honest I still managed to do a really good interval session mixing paddle work in there despite all of this. Certainly the hassle of having one interval in a set of 12 interrupted by the fat, slow man in the lane is nothing compared to home.

Not content with badly managing my time on Friday I carried it over into Saturday. I wake up early as intended planning to get out on a long run and then the long run fear hits me. I can’t really explain it, but I find it so hard to get out on the long run at times, feeling my legs are too tired and I’ll be forced to walk! I arsed about on the internet instead and finally kicked myself into gear by going back to the pool! This time though no paddles as my shoulders were starting to hurt. Instead a nice big endurance set and another 5K knocked out. Oddly the slight soreness in my right shoulder was helpful in forcing me to properly engage the lats.

I got back from the pool and headed straight off to Yoga which was mercifully the easiest session I’ve been to! Lots of focus on stretching and a fair bit of core work it was just what I needed. We finished with a single meditation on the sound of om for those interested in that side of things. I did wonder if we were too pressed for time to meditate on it any more? Still much as I can’t get into the spiritual side to yoga it does relax me. Given I was spending the day rushing about it was really appreciated. I headed straight home and had a very lazy lunch. Not in the relaxed, indulgent sense of the phrase. I made a bowl of porridge, ate some fruit and some tuna straight from the tin. What? That got me some carbs and protein!

I finally overcame the long run fear and got myself out on the road. As I mentioned after last weeks long run the plan was to run South this time to learn more about the potential to run one end of the coast to the other. Unfortunately the mission had to be aborted about 50 minutes in at Palm Beach as it started to drizzle. Too much time in the heat and sun has clearly softened me to typical British conditions as I quickly turned round and headed north again! Reaching Palm Beach in 45 minutes makes me suspect it’s at most 90 minutes to Point Danger from Mermaid Beach so I think The Spit to Point Danger would come in under 3 hours fairly comfortably. It’s potentially a fun long run, though I now need to work out the logistics of getting to the starting point and back again!

Back from my run, a couple of handfuls of dried fruit to eat, a very quick rinse in the shower and it was off to Pete’s gym for a massage. Like I said poor time management was a theme for the past two days. This weeks massage rated much lower on the pain scale and not for want of trying. Relatively my legs aren’t so bad and the little knot in my right quad is finally gone. My right shoulder was fun. Pete asks me to let him know when he hits the good spot which basically means where the pain is most excruciating! Generally my swearing makes it pretty obvious anyway and once it’s found he just pressed down harder. And that was it, race prep done!

That was a very long way of explaining that I wasn’t fresh for the race. Still I’d entered and I’ll give it my best shot whatever. By handily being a difference distance to the previous course I can’t directly compare results. However my placement in my age group was 10th this time, though there were fewer people. I’m pleased that my relative swim placement was improved over my last effort, I certainly felt better in the water. Both my bike and run were a little off though. I’m not entirely surprised by this I felt a nagging ache in my left ITB throughout the race. I actually rode harder on my hill climbing session earlier in the week going by the powermeter file! And 19 minutes for a 5K run is pretty poor really. I didn’t quite have access to my top end, finding it hard to get and maintain my heart rate anything above 150.

Still I didn’t write all this up to make excuses. For a start I had a lot of fun and feel it was a good training session. I’ve come away wishing there were more sprint races like this available. I’d happily throw one into the mix every couple of weeks to get a bit of extra work in there. I’ve relaxed for most of the rest of today though I am planning an easy run in a little while. I have one more big day to come as the rest day on Monday has put this weeks training block a bit out of line. Then it’s off to New Zealand!