Friday, 30 July 2010

ITU Hyde Park Triathlon Race Report

ITU series Olympic Distance Triathlon
Hyde Park, London

Having competed in this event in 2010, I was quick to register when 2011 entry opened. Although my focus this year has switched to 70.3 the location, the chance to better my time over the same course and the fact that this is a great event for supporters meant I was quite excited about taking part.

With my next 70.3 in mid August in mind, I viewed this as a great chance for a competitive, race scenario training session. I didn’t really break my training stride, just having slightly easier days on Friday and Saturday before the event. When I checked out the course, I realised that the swim, bike and run all followed slightly different paths from last year (with the bike coming up a few km’s short of 40km) meaning I wasn’t going to have comparable times, but in fact all the changes were for the better and I’m sure someone else will be writing about the changes so I won’t bother with the detail but the jist is: faster & less confusing.

Now, while having friends and family there to support you at events is great, I learnt the hard way that the competitor (me) should avoid being the one responsible for getting the supporters (my mother and sister) to the venue. Their sense of urgency is unlikely to match yours and the concept of adequate prep time doesn’t seem as important to them. The result of this pissing about was that I had to run to the swim start and arrived mid-briefing (which to be fair I wouldn’t have heard anyway due to the excellent but really loud Mars Volta track that was booming out of the speaker right next to us) and slightly sweaty from the 200m jog. Not the best prep to say the least, and an annoyance turned into a disaster when I was pulling my wetsuit on and the seams on one sleeve split right up both sides from wrist to elbow. “Shit!” pretty much sums it up.

I got into the water and soon realised that doing nothing was going to mean swimming with a small parachute attached to my arm – not good. I figured I had 2 options:
1. Get out, ditch the wetsuit and swim without it. The water was certainly warm enough and I wasn’t to daunted by a non-wetsuit swim.
2: Roll the sleeve up and tuck it out of the way.
The decision was made for me when the starter announced that we were 15 seconds from the gun, so I quickly rolled it up and tucked the flappy bits under as best I could.

Then we were off.

I would have thought that the problem with the suit would be a real head-messer, but I found that I embraced the challenge. I was treating this race as a training session, and I also thought that it was a good opportunity to cope with something unexpected – this was bound to happen eventually so now was as good a time as any.
The roll/tuck plan proved to be a ‘fail’ and after a few minutes, I was flapping like a hen at the knackers yard. “Fuck it” I thought, “Just get on with it”. So I did.
I felt like I was going OK – pretty strong and nearer the front of my wave than the back. The suit probably cost me a little bit of time, but I posted a good time for me – the lessons have definitely paid of so far.
Time: 25:50 (207th overall)

A long (350m) transition was made eventful by the sigh of my cheer squad holding a massive banner – “Go Paul Go!!” which really made me smile and was very much appreciated.
Time: 3:08

I love being on the bike, probably because it’s my strongest event. Plus I have a pretty frickin’ cool bike. I had the shoes already on the bike and it was a very smooth bike mount which was good – the last race I did wasn’t so smooth so that felt like an improvement. The course was 5 laps and technical in that there were 2 x 90 degree turns, and 2 very tight u-turns around traffic cones. But I spend the whole bike leg picking of people ahead of me and passing which is a feel good thing. I think I was only passed once, so not bad.
Time: 0:59:26 (42nd overall)

Time: 01:50

In 2010, the run was always a struggle and a disappointment. This season though, I’ve been working on this myself, and with The Running School and it seems to be working.
A completely different and less dull run course from last year, this was 4 laps around the Serpantine Lake which meant that the finish line was in sight for most of the run. Splits for laps 1-3 varied by about 40 seconds, but the last lap was almost 30 seconds quicker than any of the others and I definitely felt like I had left a bit of energy on the course, so I need to work on pacing a bit more. Still, a decent time posted and it was the run that brought me closest to my supporters, now joined by a few wives of friends who were also competing. They were about 300m from the finish so I got a really good boost and lots of nose as I came home.
Time: 42:17 (193rd overall)

Overall: 02:12:29

My final time put me 12th in my age group and 79th overall which I have to be happy with. PB’s in overall, swim and run were good too but I have to admit to being a little disappointed as I think if I had really gone for it I could have ended a few places up and well in the top 10 in cat. Looking at the splits, it’s clear that working on my run and swim times is important but I’m doing that and definitely improving, so heading in the right direction. I’ll just keep working and with luck, improving.

One other good thing was that my recovery was quick and with an easy day following the race I’ve gone straight back into my training schedule with no problems – in fact, I feel great.

Roll on 70.3 Germany!


Swim Finish 00:25:50 25:50
After Bike Start 00:28:58 03:08
Bike Check Lap1 00:30:48 01:50
Bike Check Lap2 00:42:13 11:25
Bike Check Lap3 00:53:43 11:30
Bike Check Lap4 01:05:12 11:29
Bike Check Lap5 01:16:32 11:20
After Bike Finish 01:28:23 11:51
After Run Start 01:30:12 01:49
Run Check Lap1 01:40:46 10:34
Run Check Lap2 01:51:33 10:47
Run Check Lap3 02:02:25 10:52

Finish 02:12:29 10:04

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