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Stratford 220 09

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Stratford-upon-Avon, in the heart of England or, at the very least Warwickshire.  It's a very touristy town, what with Anne Hathaways cottage, and being the hometown of Bill the Bard.  Apparently.  One day I'll actually stop and take a look around.

My third visit to Stratford is, like my previous two, for the purpose of triathlon and, as before, approached with the usual degree of trepidation.  I'm writing this whilst in dire need of sleep, with the sounds of the new OSI album 'Blood' playing before me; I read somewhere it's not so much prog-rock as avant-garde metal.  Whatever, it's good.

So, awake at 4:30, up a few minutes late and some pink sludge for breakfast (Maximuscle will be so pleased to hear their Promax Diet strawberry flavour so called).  A final check of the bag (not thorough enough - see later) and a loading of the car so me leave at 5:20 - but not before waking D2 in order that she could prepare herself for her trip to the Radio 1 Big Weekend.

Arrived at Stratford around 6:45, a good journey with plenty of wildlife (mostly rabbit but one fox) to be enjoyed along the way.  I should point out that D1 stayed in bed, and the g/f woke long enough to send me a txt just as I was rising to wish me luck - love that woman!

Registered, made the first of several 'stops' before indulging in a SpecialK breakfast.  Well, with 90 minutes to go, no reason why it should hurt.  Besides, after the previous evenings veggie pastabol where I ended up having most of the garlic ciabatta (plus a whole home-baked baguette) and a couple of glasses of cheap cooking-only S African wine, you'd think I'd given up on the day.

Watched the start of the swim, arranged 180 degrees from previous (due to some muppet breaking the key in the lock of the fire door!) before returning to the car (via you-know-where) to think about racking.  Realised I'd forgotten to pack my swim goggles, so rushed in to by a pair from the TotalFitnessBath stall and finally got myself sorted out with around 30 minutes to go.  Things were looking good, I'd worked out where I was in transition - unlike last October - and was all set to go swim when I realised I'd forgotten my heart monitor strap.  So, back to the car....

Finally, via another 'stop' I made it poolside (via another 'stop' - I can't help it, really) and I was soon called to start.  Managed two lengths on the crawl, before resorting to the breast stroke.  Even so, I wasn't overtaken by too many and even overtook one crawler.  Hooray for me.

Out in around 9:30, a short run into T1 where socks were donned, helmet on, shoes on and a couple of chews grabbed (one had been taken prior to going in for the swim).  Out on the bike for a single 23 (advertised - more like 24) kilometre ride, and finally all those spin sessions began to make sense.  I didn't stand along the way, but made good use of gear changes along the way, once I got going (those chews take a while to lose).

One thing that bothered me about the ride was the pins and needles effect on the right hand, made gear changing tricky (must talk to the boys at TBAS about that).  Even so, fairly happy with a 45 minute ride - that new Cube Aerium I'm riding is a nice bike.

In T2 a quick change of shoes, and I'm off for the run (noting a time of around 58 minutes).  Nothing furious, just slow n steady.  Reached the far turn in around 8 minutes, which gave me a target of 23 for the second time.  Eased through the run, stopped for a few paces to take some water at the halfway point - so near to the finish yet so far - and I was pleased to note a far turn in just over 22 minutes.  Didn't go crazy, chatted with a walker whom I got running again (239 as it turned out) and made steady progress back to the finish.  Got past 239 and had a go at upping the tempo to the finish - pleased to note there is still life in the legs, even after everything else.

Finished in 1:26.12, an improvement of 6:22 minutes on last years event (or over 13 on last Octobers).  Good time, really happy.  Had a nice chat with Russ (266) at the finish, collected bike and had a pleasant chat with Andre (223) - good to meet you guys.  Packed the car, had a Multimuscle shake and came home to see Kathy for a coffee before hitting the gym for a steam and shower.  Sheer bliss - and the steam/shower was good too!

As usual, great organisation, good crowd and a great competition.  Nice t-shirt too which, for the money charged, is something IMG could learn from (big hint to Blenheim/London there).

According to the website, I finished 392 out of 612 men.  Add in the women (204) and relay (29) for a final of 466/845.  Splits are swim - 9:45, bike (inc T2 and probably T1) - 48:54, and a decent run to finish in 27:33.  Still room to improve, especially on the swim but, like I said, I'm really pleased.  Looking forward to Blenheim now on June 7th.

 
Last updated: 11/05/2009 18:43:35
Shogem 2009