Wednesday, 22 October 2014

What Watts? Port 63.7

It's official. Summer is here. And that's not just the sunburn talking... First race of the season under the belt in Port Macquarie definitely marks the beginning of Summer.


Port Macquarie in all it's morning beauty

It has been an up and down kind of winter, and a damn cold one at times... My running has come a long way which has been a good positive. Which reminds me, I never followed up on my last blog with an ambitious goal of 56min for the City-2-Surf... Well I'm happy to say that something clicked that day and I pulled out a 55:16... Winning!

That final painful km of the C2S

So really from a results perspective it was a great winter, perhaps the only up and down bit was inconsistent training and some mindless personal issues that are seemingly irrelevant. I can live with that.

So roll on the first race of the season. One of the most honest courses on the calendar but also one of the most scenic, Port Macquarie 70.3. It's a great tough course in a great little bogan town, and I say that with endearment.

This race has gone from a goal race, to a B race, to a don't care race, back to a training race and then to a what the hell have a crack race and back to a training race (see above personal ups and downs over the winter! haha) so when I checked the bike in on Saturday I really had no expectations at all and stomach full of nerves... go figure? At least I had my #1 fan up there with me this year to take me out to a pretty cracking lunch on the Saturday and put up with a 5:30pm dinner :)

Aimee's stellar lunch from Grape & Petal

This year was a strange start, we were herded into the carpark at the swim entry before the race start (missed out on a warmup swim!) and held until our wave was ready to start, then funneled into the water and out to the start bouys where we floated around and joked about waiting for instruction and then a horn went off! I guess that was the start then? Good thing we all knew what was going on... A 30 second warning would have been nice, but I guess not!

So the usual 25-29 age group start was amplified as we grew this year to include 18-29 which ensured that we started like there was a shark in the water (maybe that's what the horn was?). Pretty sure that I didn't punch anyone in the head this year which is nice, considering that I didn't get punched in the head either, maybe we are getting soft?

Swim start, no punches thrown...?
Spot's voice was ringing in my head as usual and this year I did listen (a little) and backed off a bit. The pack did it's usual swim the wrong way trick so by the time they had figured it out, corrected and half of them blown up already I was pretty much swimming next to them all again. I didn't jump on the back as they were still all over the place so I just swam my own way again. Turns out it wasn't a bad idea as I had a pretty good swim for me, well that or they all got lost out there somewhere... 27:14 and 11th in my division... I'll take that (and damn right it was short! haha). Even saved a spectators sunnies as I ran up the carpet to T1 (at the cost of my Huub goggles which I dropped...! :( )

Doing my duty, note the flying sunnies top left ;)

Heading out on to the bike I figured I had a pretty good swim, although I don't wear my watch in the swim so had no idea really, but I felt good and that's all that matters. I did wonder though if I had put in enough work on the bike lately to get through the next 90km on the bike at the speed my head wanted me to ride... Only one way to find out, hit the road and keep an eye on the power.
I said keep an eye on the power.
Power meter not working... at all... Reset watch... Nope... No HR either...
Watts? What watts?
This is gonna be fun
I'd love to know what I was actually riding at out there, although it was great to ride blind to some degree as it definitely helps you to understand your body rather than rely on numbers, I think I may have pushed a little too hard considering the lead up I have had... haha. Not sure exactly when I figured that bit out, perhaps when somebody tried to slow me down by sticking 2 dozen knives in my quads the second time up Mathew Flinders... Fun

Heading out for Lap 2

The bike course was the same as I remember, just with less people. Maybe the early start wave? maybe the better swim from me? Or just less people in the field? All 3 I think.
Whatever it was, for the most part I didn't have anyone infront or behind. Was a pretty lonely 90kms, aside from the adoring fans up Mathew Flinders and my #1 fan clapping solo for me as I rode through the outskirts of town. I kinda like it that way.
Just wish I knew why the course was so slow this year...? I'm sure that we must have ridden over carpet at some point. 10mins slower than last year... anyway, that's starting to sound like an excuse, so I'll stop.

Coming back in to T2 feeling a sting in the legs

Coming in to T2 I felt every minute on my black pocket rocket. The quads were shot to pieces. Woo Hoo! So load up the crotch with some chamois cream, throw the Mizuno's on and hit the pavement. At least my watch decided to display my pace on the run, still no HR, but it was an improvement.

Feeling good at the 7km mark

Like I said, I felt pretty average, so forgot about the pace and just focused on form. I settled down eventually and the legs started to come around. Not where I would have liked them, but I was looking down the road at a 1:35 and thought I'd settle for that. This is a training race anyway. Right? I'm confused.
I carried on through the first lap holding that together somewhat, slowing a little up the hill in the back end which is normal. Although my body forgot to speed back up again. I got stuck in that gear. Either that or someone poured concrete in my legs while I was distracted. It took every ounce of mental strength not to stop when the nice lady gave me my 1st lap completed wrist band... The energy I had left after that went towards the walk/jog second lap. Hrmmm... Never quite had an explosion like this one. I had nothing. Slipped back to a 1:49. Ouch. Should have made this one a 63.7 rather than a 70.3...

Pretty glad that is over...

Nice to know that I found my limit. Now as I try and pick up the pieces and put the puzzle together I just hope that I can learn from this so that it doesn't happen again. I know that it might take a while (like forever) to get the balance right, but it was not a nice way to finish what started as a reasonable day in the water (no, I'm not a swimmer, stop smiling) so I need to take some lessons away

Now I have 2 weeks to remember how to walk before ripping what's left of my body to pieces in Noosa! Hell, at least there is a holiday and one hell of a party attached to that race. See you up there!

*note: I have learnt a lesson from this that is unrelated to my racing, although it's a lesson none the less... If someone has a bad race, you don't have to try and tell them it was a good race, they know they had a bad race, they are not looking for someone to pump them up and make them feel like they are a winner, not everyone wins a prize, it's OK to have had a bad race. I had a bad end to a race, that's OK, I know that, I'm not looking for sympathy, it's just a race, shit happens.
NB: I am absolutely totally 100% guilty of being 'that person' who tries to pump others up after a bad race... guilty as charged! I'll save you the long list of apologies that are due, but those people know who they are, and to them; "I'm sorry, you had a shit race hey" :)

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