Yay, the multisport race season is upon us and on Sunday I took part in the Taunton Aquathlon. No biking involved yet (although that's no great loss) just 1000m of swimming and 10k of running, even if it did turn out both were a little on the short side.
More of that later though, let's get to the training. There's been LOADS!!! Or at least there was loads until last week when it all went a bit pear shaped, I'm still in line to break the 50hour barrier for February though which is pretty much double what I would normally do. As expected almost all of the extra time has been put in on the bike, my swimming is actually down on normal and my running is about the same. With close to 60hrs done on the bike already this year though I'm almost three times my normal training after two months - let's hope it all pays off.
With my swim/run training actually being slightly down on normal and with a desperation 4hr bike ride (it'd been a bad week) on Saturday it's no real surprise that I didn't exactly set the world alight on Sunday. Still despite me feeling 'off' for the whole race my performance wasn't too bad.
I've got a bit (a lot) of history with the Taunton races and I know many of the club members there well. A bit of history with swimming the incorrect amount of lengths at their Triathlon (3 years on the bounce), I think I just mesmerise their marshalls. So when I walked onto poolside, saw my old buddy Andy was counting my lane and he joked that he was going to count me an extra few lengths it was a sign!!! I told him it would all go wrong now and we both had a laugh 'about the past!'.
We set off for out 40 length (1,000m) swim with 4 to a lane and starting at 10sec intervals. I was 3rd off in my lane and within 200m I'd passed the two people ahead of me one of whom decided to take a draft off me (which is fine) and keep slapping my toes (which is NOT fine!!!). If he'd behaved I'd have happily dragged him through the whole swim, my feet hardly move so it's easy enough to tuck in. But after 2 lengths of tap tap tap he'd got on my nerves so I engaged my kick for a couple of lengths, let him swim in my washing machine type bubbles and dropped him like a stone. Sorted!!
I could see the lads in the top lane were flying and I was going to have to do some chasing down on the run if I was going to do any good today. This just added to the frustration of my not really enjoying the swim, my splits after the first 100m had been drifting the wrong way for my liking but I was still chugging along reasonably well and the run was to come. Then as I turned after 36 lengths I thought I felt my foot catch something, strange! As I continued I decided it could only have been the '2 lengths to go' board and a glance at my watch on the next turn confirmed that I'd still got 3 lengths left, I must have been imagining things. Then as I turned with 2 lengths to go I felt a hand grab the back of my Trisuit and almost haul me clean out of the water. I stopped, stood up, looked around and there were 3-4 people yelling at me to get out of the water because I was done. What could I do? Not a lot really, I was stood still and the clock was ticking so I jumped out of the water and looked at my watch - 13:10, that was NOT 1,000m!!!
The first mile of the run course is pretty flat, maybe even downhill, but after that it climbs solidly for a mile and is simply never flat. Early on I was gaining on Will and feeling pretty good but as soon as the hills kicked in my legs threw a temper tantrum and didn't want to play. I kept him in sight up the first long climb but I'd gone too hard too soon and from the moment I reached the top I knew it wasn't going to be. I kept running of course and kept the pace solid, but there was no zipp in the legs and even when I got over taken (by the eventual winner and two relay runners) I couldn't persuade my legs to go with them.
Next up? Oh yeah, that'll be Bideford Half Marathon this Sunday. I can't remember the last time I ran a Half Marathon and I certainly can't remember the last time I ran over 80mins for one. I think I could be in for a shock. Fingers crossed.
Taunton Aquathlon Results Here!