I went into Sundays race feeling tired after a long week at work and 4hrs of training on Saturday, but none of that matters a jot when you hit the start line. A quick scan through the entrants showed no familiar names that were likely to kick my backside, the biggest danger that I knew of would be Martin Rogers, the organiser of the Burnham on Sea serires(http://www.bospool.com/) who'd no doubt be chasing me down with a blistering run split. That didn't of course mean there wasn't someone unknown to me there who was likely to make me look like a chump.
With this being the first multisport race of my season the normal chaos had reigned over the weekend with me trying to find all manor of goodies that I would need for the race. Shelly had been on hand to find my number belt, especially as I'd threatened to race 'Faris Style' if I had to go old school and pin my number to an old tee-shirt. No amount of searching however could find (and still hasn't found) my race shoes from the last 2 years which have in them my only pair of elastic laces. I decided that now was as good a time as any to christen the Asics Hyper-Speeds that I bought during the week, I was just going to have to bit the bullet and lose (precious??) time tying laces up before heading out on the run.
At the pool I met up with my clubmates who were racing (Damian, Steph, Chiara & Mandy) and plenty of race day friends from various clubs who I hadn't seen since last season. Soon I was registered, numbered up and ready to hit the water.
For the long course race (1000m swim, 10km run) we were setting off in waves every 30mins, I was off in the last wave where we had 3 to a lane setting off at 10 second intervals. One of the other swimmers in my lane I caught, passed and then lapped during the 40 length swim. The other swimmer I seemed to pass every 5-6 lengths, it must have been awful for him having me coming splashing past him all the time but either he was golden or our timings just worked out well because I never once got held up behind him. I was far from the fastest swimmer in the pool though and I feared the worst when I noticed someone about to lap me after only 30 lengths, strangely though for the next 10 lengths we stayed side by side. Maybe he got tired, maybe he was saving some energy for the run, maybe he thought I was a danger and wanted to keep an eye one the gap between us thinking the 40 seconds his two length advantage would give him was enough. Who knows, but as I got the two lengths to go board I looked across the pool to see him jumping out of the water, along with someone else. I finished my swim, jumped out of the pool and headed to my run gear. Bend down, glasses on, cap on, left trainer on, tie my lace, right trainer on, right trainer off, straighten the insole, right trainer on, getting dizzy now, stand up, shake head, bend down, tie lace, grab number belt, get the hell onto the run course! While I was doing that 4-5 other athletes had left the pool, blazed through transition and headed out on the run ahead of me.
Onto the run and it actually helps me to have a line of fellow athletes down the road because for the first 1km I always feel absolutely shocking and if I can feel rough but still be catching people then mentally it's a huge boost. Soon I got to the front of the line and started to push on, I asked one of the marshalls how many folks were ahead and he said three, but he thought two of them were relay runners. I didn't have to worry about relay teams so that (hopefully) made me 2nd on the road, presuming of course that nobody in the earlier waves had gone round quicker. Soon the leader on my individual wave was in sight and I caught him just before the climbs started, it's a tough course and I didn't want to wreck myself early on as I had done the first year I raced it so I just cruised on past and happily let him sit on my shoulder, half way up the climb though he started dropping off. Now I'd just got the hard running Martin to worry about.
The run course is horrible, mostly because I just haven't got a clue where I am. It finishes with you running the last 6-800m along a dirt road which starts at the top of one of the climbs, the problem was that the last week was now catching up with me and I tailed off terribly in the last couple of miles, there were several climbs and at every one I was praying to see the turn off at the top only to be disappointed when I got there. Finally though I spotted the turn off and as I looked over my shoulder I noticed a figure at the bottom of the hill, I recognised that figure and breathed a big sigh of relief because I knew the gap was too big to close. I crossed the finish line a relieved man, I was 3mins behind the two relay teams ahead but more importantly Martin didn't cross the line for another 15secs.
So, onto the presentation and I did manage to pick up the win, closely followed by Martin. Both of us are over 40, so where are you youngsters coming up to knock us off our perch??? Bring it on kiddies ;-)
I'm not 100% sure of my times because they're all over the place on the official results, but the best I can work out based on who came out of the water around me are -
14:34 - 1000m swim +Transition
35:50 - 10km run
50:24 - Total time :-)