Having raced the Slateman triathlon the weekend before, I didn’t feel fully recovered until maybe the Thursday or Friday and so I had little expectation on my performance at the Poseidon. I simply wanted to enjoy the race without pressure on goals or times. Having said that I was aware of my two fellow race buddies having already put down podium performances in Race Force colours - so maybe there was a bit of competitive spirit in me!
The swim was a beach start and after a brief warm up in the lake we all gathered roughly ankle deep in water ready for the off. Although I said I didn’t have any expectations for this race, I did have a specific goal for the swim - to swim in a straight line! This sounds silly, but so often in races I end up swimming 100-200m further than the specified distance. I was determined to sight more frequently and really concentrate on where I was heading. As the gun went I was quick to dolphin dive in and find some clear water. Having done a swim in the lake the night before, I knew that the temperature was reasonably warm – well in comparison to Snowdonia the week before anyway! The swim was two laps, with an Australian exit separating the two laps. My plan was to push hard to the first buoy so as to get some clear water and then settle into a decent rhythm for the rest of the first lap. I felt pretty good. In fact, I came out of lap 1 in first place. After a quick look behind to see where the competition was, a flurry of high 5’s with the kids, I dolphin dived back in for lap 2. Wow – I’d never been leading a swim before. At this point, heading towards the first buoy again, my concentration lapsed and I drifted to the right slightly. Another swimmer passed me just as I got to the buoy. I stayed relaxed, kept my rhythm and stuck to his feet all the way to the end of lap 2. Swim done – 2nd place. I had a quick glance at my watch, 20:30. Really? I’d just swum a 5-minute PB!! Having done a lot of mileage in the pool this winter I was really happy to see some real gains here.
I had a quick T1, overtaking the lead swimmer and headed out onto the bike in first place. This was great! I’d never actually been at the front of a race. I’m usually a few minutes down coming out of the water. Adrenaline was definitely pumping. I was re-overtaken quickly as we left the park and headed out onto the main road. I knew two things about the course; it was flat but slightly longer than 40km. I kept the lead cyclist in sight for probably the first 10km, but I was focusing on my own power output and what I knew I could hold without blowing up. Maybe I could catch him on the run. The bike was two laps and as I neared the end of the first I was still in second position, feeling strong but feeling chased. I kept checking behind to see if anyone was catching me, surely they would. Sure enough, another cyclist passed me just before the start of the second lap. I started to pick off some of the sprint competitors on the second lap who had started 45 minutes behind our wave. The second half of the lap was very windy, so I focused on staying as aero as possible and kept hitting the power numbers. As my garmin ticked over to 46km I headed into T2 focused on a decent run.
Off the bike and into T2, I was in third. I never quite know what running legs I’m going to find off the bike, especially this early in the season. As I exited T2 my left hamstring felt super tight and that was when I knew this run was going to be about one thing – survival! The run was three laps on a mixture of grass, tarmac and loose gravel. There were 2 dead turns on each lap which, coupled with the loose gravel that didn’t quite give the same rebound as the tarmac, made the run tough going. I kept pushing and eventually crossed the line in 3rd!
The race itself was well organised and had a great friendly atmosphere. I would like to thank Mark Livesey and Functional Fitness Events for putting on a great race. I look forward to flying the Race Force flag at the Rubicon.
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February 24, 2017
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