After finishing the race, I sat on the bank in the sun, and talked to Phil who was in a grump. He was slower overall than last year, his swim was abysmal (he thought) and he just couldn't push it on the run. He was not a happy camper. In fact- for a change I had a taste of what it's like to be the partner of the brat, rather than being the brat myself!
I sat him down and lectured him:
"I know you're grumpy and it's disappointing, but that's what racing is about. Sometimes it sucks. Last year, the swim was short, maybe 1300m max. This year, it was at least 1500m, if not more, and you haven't been swimming! You beat your bike time, and not only that, felt miles better on the bike than last year. You may not have been able to push hard on the run, but you ran nearly the same time,even though you're still sick. And you know full well you can run. And you can run off the bike. You just didn't today, and that's OK. In fact, I'd take the success on the bike, all while feeling better than last year, and take that as one in the bank for the Half."
Then I got home, found out I was not, as I had thought, 5-10 minutes faster than last year. In fact, I may have been 2 minutes slower. And I had my own stampy, bratty tantrum, while Phil was off getting pizza, and I grumbled on facebook, and on the blog.
But now, I'm ready to listen to my own advice, and the advice of my coach and virtual training buddy, who know better than me, and be proud instead of bratty and stampy.
So, here we go: Contact Tri Series 2008 & 2009- A comparative race report
Last year: forgot to put goggles on, short course, deserted bike racks, out of the water in 25:53, and out of T1 in 28:12 (I think.. the official results are by memory)
This year: started well, felt strong. The Great Contact Lens Experiment of 2009 has been a grand success, so I didn't have the sighting problems I've often had in the past, and I was able to stick with a group much more effectively. Reached the turn around buoy in 14:40, I think, and was out of the water in 29:13. Not the best of times, even for a 1500m course, but could be worse. The run up to T1 was long, and I fumbled around a bit getting myself sorted for the tough bike, but I was in and out in a little over 2 minutes.
Last year: The five lap course was more painful every time, and by the end I wanted to top myself, and then go postal on everyone else. I was riding the carbonless wonder, and had three chain rings, so was shifting all over the place to deal with the easy climbs, steep climbs, long climbs, power-sections and technical descents. My average lap time was about 22:00- arrived in T2, to a full, full, bike rack, at 1:49:xx, and was out on the run at 1:51:04.
This year: My splits were pretty consistent (20:30; 20:37; 20:37, 20:50 and 21:19, which includes entering T2), though my button pressing wasn't quite on the nose, and the first lap (with an elevated post-swim heart rate) felt much harder than the last. My average cadence was between 85 and 87 for each lap, and my AHR sat in the 160s, with my max (apart from lap 1) in the low 170s. My compact cranks were an absolute godsend, and I remembered to stay in my big chain ring as much as I could. Having decent componentry also meant I didn't have to anticipate the claims, and shift in advance, as I did last year! I passed far more women than last year, wasn't passed by Phil, and I never once felt like stopping (apart from briefly toyed with skipping the last lap (kidding!)
Last year: Apart from seeing Phil at the beginning, the run was very, very lonely indeed, and I felt like I was coming last. Peoplew ere packing up the drink stations. I held an OK pace, and I think my finish time was 1:05:54, for what I think is just slightly over 11km. During the second lap, I chased down a lady in purple, and crossed the finish line with her. My average pace according to the Garmin was about 5:48/k overall, but the official number is more like 6:00/k (ugh)
This year: The run felt far less lonely, even though I didn't see Phil. I held a good pace down from transition into the beach, and then focussed on keeping my average Garmin pace below 5:30/k for the first loop, and succeeded until about 3/4 of the way through. A couple of NZ-team-kit clad ladies passed me, and I kept them in sight for as long as I could, and also picked off one lady in purple during the first loop. First loop time was 30:30, and Garmin says my average pace was 5:37/k. AHR in the 160s, so lower than usual.
The sun came up during the second loop, so I walked the beach drink station the second time, and took a bit to get going, which took my lap pace to over 6:11/k. The second loop was all about passing, and watching that average pace go down, which was most satisfying. After passing a couple of dudes (yes, dudes!) I created an imaginary opponent (I wasn't creative to name her, so she just stayed "Imaginary Opponent") who lurked at every corner, beckoning on. At a couple of points, she morphed into a Real Opponent, but the real opponents were all on their first loops, passing them lacked any real sense of satisfaction, so I relied on Garmin, and the Imaginary Opponent to get me through. I hoped to finish by 1pm (which was the time I finished last year, but we started later), but came out of the woods a couple of minutes later, ran across the beach, leapt the ditch, and crossed the finish line at 1:02pm. My second lap pace was 5:48 by the Garmin, but my official run time was
On reflection, I can see that I am in better half-IM shape than last year. I had a much more successful bike ride, shaved nearly
Lastly, I need to learn to leave myself out on the course in a tri. I have left my whole self out there in three half marathons this year. Sure- my triathlon AHR should be lower, but I'm not convinced I'm pushing hard enough.