This years Cotswold 113 was a little different, athletes started in waves based on your surname in alphabetical order. The waves were in 15 minute blocks and within the wave athletes started 5 seconds apart. The wave I started in was wave 2 which started between 7:15 – 7:30. Another change was that we initially started on land and then you run over a timing mat to start your race time. This gave me a chance to get a few steps into the water and then dive in. Personally, I think my dive was very graceful but a large mouthful of water may say otherwise. This mouthful of water came straight back out and made me slightly sick and my pre-race caffeine shot came up to leaving a rather sour taste in my mouth. Lovely.
After this short mishap, I got straight into my rhythm and started pushing on in the swim. Fortunately for me, my swimming seems to have improved over the last few months so I felt strong and kept on pushing. Coming to the end of the swim, I had another bout of sickness, which is far from ideal and I’m still unsure why I was sick.
I finished the swim in 28:26, which was over a minute better than my personal best of the previous year, which I was very pleased with and felt I was in a good position. The transition was slow after being told to walk and also having to wait to allow people around my bike racking to finish before I went up to my bike. I then put on my race belt, socks, cycling shoes and helmet and took my bike to go out of transition. Again this was slow as I got caught up behind a few other athletes and had to walk out to the mount line.
After a slow mount onto the bike, I settled into the bike for the first couple of km’s. The bike this year consisted of an out lap, two laps and then an in lap. I then slowly bought it up to target race pace. I think I got into the ride a bit too much and went up to the higher end of my race pace power goal in the first 20 minutes. This bought us onto the first lap of 2. It was a very flat and fast course, however there was a large tail wind going past RAF Fairford. But fortunately we turned around just after that and got the tailwind the opposite way. I kept an average of 23.8 mph up to the end of the first lap and during the second lap I dropped my power slightly down to the lower end of my target race pace and my speed dropped to 23.7 mph. When my power started to drop, I was thinking if I should pick up my power again, but I decided against it as I knew that might scupper my chances of a good run split. I finished the bike in 2:21 which was a 8 minute improvement over the previous year and my power numbers were up by 60 watts as well. So overall I was very pleased with this improvement and know where I can improve over the next couple of years.
I started the run and took about half a km to get into my stride and then settled into my goal race pace for roughly around a 1.20 half marathon. My previous best time for a standalone half marathon was about 2 months ago when I ran a hilly 1:22:00. The run course was 3 laps of about 4.3 miles and it was very flat. The run loop is a mix of tarmac, grass and a hard mud trail with a-lot of tree routes.
My first lap was on my target race pace and my heart rate was alot lower than I expected which was a huge positive. This was perfect on target pace and feeling good…
(Cue the Photo) This all changed very quickly…
During the early stages of the second lap, with no warning, I was violently sick… Looking back on this moment and after a discussion with my coach, we decided that this was due to me eating solid foods when on the bike and not digesting it quick enough before the run. This caused me to slow down on this lap. What did I expect – I felt empty and felt like I had no energy at all … 2 gels weren’t enough to get me back to race pace. So now I needed to get into a rhythm to get through the 2nd half of the run. Fortunately I managed to do this… I came through with a 1.24 half marathon which was only 4 minutes off my target and only 2 minutes slower than my personal best. This was an improvement of 13 minutes from last year!
The event was great! Especially in these times. A huge thank you to the 113 team for putting the race on and giving us the opportunity to have a race.
I would like to thank my sponsors, Smith Heath for their continued support in me, Infrastar for the amazing race and training kit that I get to wear. Spinavita for keeping me in shape and able to race and also Chloe Witts for my ongoing sports therapy and recovery sessions. Greeper Laces for allowing me to have fast transitions and a great run split. Finally my coach from T3, Mark Threlfall for all the coaching and support! It has made a massive impact on my triathlon and I couldn’t be more grateful to you all.
Please don’t hesitate to email me any questions or advice that you have for me, and follow me on Instagram and Facebook (see link at the bottom of my page) so we can go through our triathlon journeys together.
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Top job Ryan. Excellent result. Especially when considering the constraints the lock down has placed on your training.
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