I chose this race because I had read a lot about it, and knew it was flat, so I wanted to see what kind of time I could do on a flat course. I also went to University in Nottingham, so I know the area a bit and managed to catch up with a friend.
We travelled up on Thursday, so that we could have a bit of a break as it was half term. We arrived in the late afternoon and took the boys out for dinner at a yummy restaurant Yamas which we kind of stumbled into, as it looked like the kind of place that they wouldn’t mind 2 tired children. The owner was from Cyprus, and he was very welcoming and friendly.
The next day I had planned to meet up with my friend and her 2 boys while Patrick got the bus to Derby and met one of his friends, so I spent the afternoon at Nottingham Castle having a catch up and then took the boys to the book shop, (they were pretty tired by now with the city life, swimming, crazy golf, castle, bookshop all in one day) On Saturday Patrick arrived back in the morning so I cycled to Holme Pierrepont to register and go to the race briefing. I bumped into Rachel, and we arranged to meet up for dinner.
In the afternoon we had a look at my old university building and the graduate shows, and discovered the Arboretum, which I never went to, while in Nottingham, I suppose I was trying to escape the countryside!! I felt quite calm pre race as I had done quite a lot of mental preparation, and the weather was looking pretty perfect. On Sunday I woke up at 4am as I started to hear bikes being wheeled down the hotel corridor, and tyres being pumped up, so I had my peanut butter sandwiches, and cycled back to Holme Pierrepont to set up transition.
The Swim garmin data here (31st in gender 10th in category)
Our wave was the last one at 7am, so we were hanging about for a while in transition then trying to find lockers and last minute toilet breaks! I had heard that the water temperature was 16 degrees and it felt pretty warm. I had my usual anxiety which I managed by breathing out with my face in the water. The water stank, there were a lot of weeds, and it tasted pretty weird. I tried not to drink too much of it, but I always manage a few mouthfuls. The weather was calm and clear so it was a pretty easy swim I tried to get in with a pack, but seemed to be going from group to group. On the way back from the top buoy there were some swimmers in orange caps from the wave before us, I felt sorry for them as our pack caught up and swam over them! I managed to stay with another woman on the return leg and we drafted each other. When I got out I was pleasantly surprised with my swim time of 32.57
T1 garmin data here (26th in gender 9th in category)
T1 was pretty uneventful, apart from my shoe flying off my bike, which fortunately didn’t cause too much drama!
The bike garmin data here (24th in gender 10th in category)
The great thing about being in the last wave was that we were passing people from the wave before pretty much the whole way round.
I had my garmin set to beep when I went under 150W, but my power meter kept dropping out every few minutes so there was a lot of beeping! I ignored it, and tried to keep consistent which was pretty easy as the course is sooo flat! There were a few hills, and people were attacking them but I tried to keep my head and stay under threshold.
The course is on some closed roads and some which are not. When the course had cars on it I got held up a couple of times behind cars that couldn’t overtake slower athletes which was a bit frustrating, and people in the opposite direction thought we were drafting!
I ended up playing cat and mouse with another woman. We were together for a while, then a couple of women that we had passed earlier came by and she went with them, while I stopped to pee in a hedge. I thought I may be able to run a few down and wanted to stick to my plan so I didn’t try to catch them again. At the second feed station I made the same mistake as at Wimbleball and didn’t pick up water, so I ran out towards the end of the bike. MUST make sure I don’t do this in Ironman! The last bit of the bike is over some speed bumps (which they had ramped) and gravelly roads which weren’t very nice, so I took it fairly easy coming into T2.
T2 garmin data here (63rd in gender 17th in category)
No issues here, I had some water, and a pee, then was off.
The run garmin data here (8th in gender 3rd in category)
As I started the run I felt like my left quad was going to cramp up, but I was OK I made sure I alternated between high 5 and water at the feed stations and walked through most of them so I could rehydrate, it was getting quite warm now.
The first bit of the run goes along the canal towpath, which is quite nice and shady, but also narrow with athletes going down both ways which made it a bit hard to overtake, which I was having to do quite often! When you get on to the tarmac you get the first of your wristbands which was a great boost, even though I had only done 3 miles or so at this point. I managed to overtake a couple of the women who had passed me on the bike, and went past the finish to start the second lap. Patrick and the boys were near the finish with a surprise for me!
I started the second lap, saw Rachel coming the other way, and gave her a shout. I was feeling like I was slowing down a bit now and managed to pace myself with someone, but then lost him as I walked the feed station. The end was in sight though and I knew I was on course for a good time, so enjoyed the finish.
I wandered about a bit, went to sit in the massage queue and then thought I should find my boys, so I went and found them, then went back, and this is when it went a bit pear shaped! I went for my massage (waited for a long time, should have stayed in the first queue!) then went to get my time. They had prizes for the top 3 age groupers and I had looked at last years results so thought I may have been in the top 3. When I went to get my print out it was blank, with no time on it, so I now started running around trying to find someone who could help me. It turned out that I had been given the wrong chip, I ended up going to ask the woman doing the prize giving what the times were so that I could make sure I didn’t need to stay, she obviously didn’t want to tell me and was a bit rude, but thankfully it meant we could get back to the hotel and pack up to go home!
This has been stuck to my fridge for the last 7 months or so, and so I was really pleased with my time. My swim was faster, my bike was at the top end, and my run was in the middle. I haven’t been doing the same amount of run training as I did last year and may have pushed harder on the bike so found the run more difficult, but overall I was very happy, I wasn’t really worried about my position, as you never know who is going to enter these races but I just managed to sneak in at 10th place 🙂
Full Results here