Race day began at 1.00am and then again at 3.45am when poor Noddie had nightmares. That last hour of sleep would have come in really handy had it actually happened, sigh….. and maybe I wouldn’t have forgotten my transition towels and had to go back to get them. I reckon I rummaged in my bag for helmet, bike shoe, bike shoe, running shoe, running shoe, ok, I’ve got everything about a dozen times on the way there…but I’d definitely packed my thermos of tea so all was well. Clearly I hadn’t had enough tea though – I met B and G at our bikes; while they were all chatty and perky I felt sluggish and dopey and could barely form a coherent sentence. There were so many people milling around! In the drizzly half dark it was like a city of ghosts, lycra-clad ghosts exuding a faint air of panic. We set up ‘base camp’ (my picnic rug) at the back of the finishing grandstand, prime real estate when trying to keep track of each other over the day and to watch the finishers. When we went down to the beach to cheer B off, I still felt sluggish and stupid, but managed to appreciate the many fine, fine athletes galloping from the beach back to transition. All I felt like doing was sleeping so I went back to base camp for another cuppa, until M tactfully pointed out that I didn’t have long before speedy B got back. I heaved myself up and staggered down for a warmup swim, then squeezed into our transition corral. It was just nuts – thirty or forty anxious triathletes all jiggling from foot to foot, craning to see their first runner coming and yelling crazily when they did. Here came B! Fifty-five minutes! She smoked it! That was when I started feeling anxious and inadequate. The not-good-enough fairy was riding with me and try as I might I could not scrape her off.
The swim was argy-bargy and biffo from start to finish – don’t suddenly start doing breaststroke, don’t cut me off, mate, and stop hitting me! - but my stroke rate was up, my elbows were up and my blood was up. Grrrrrr! There was a bit of a side sweep but at least that meant I wasn't getting kicked. I rode a nice swell into the beach, whee!
This event should be called a runathlon with a bit of swimming and riding thrown in. It was at least 400m from the handover corral to the beach, then we had to run back the whooooole length of the the oval, then halfway back again to my bike, then run with the bike to the mount line….you get the picture I am sure. Thank goodness I’d taken the no-wetsuit option; I’d have suffocated running that far in neoprene.
M told me the thing she likes best about the BRW was that you actually get to pass people on the bike (she, like me, tends toward the back of the field), and oh, she was right! Of course there were the pointy-helmet disc-wheel people (and many many others) who zoomed past me like I was glued to the road, but I’m used to that. Mary’s wise words They’re pushing their envelopes, I’m pushing mine soothed me once again. My aim was to keep my pedalling cadence up as high as I could, just go as fast as I could the whole way, and worry about the run when I was running. That b#$%* not-good-enough fairy messed with my head during the ride. I was too slow. I was letting everyone down. Do it for M – she’d give her eyeteeth to be out here. Try harder. Ride harder. I got myself into such a state that I’m getting all blinky recalling it. Damn PMS.
The run from the dismount line to transition was so long that my legs were quite warmed up for the start of the run. For some reason I was very worried about running off while still wearing my helmet, but managed to avert that disaster. I took off like a very slow bat out of hell. Racing a lot has its advantages, I discovered: of course my legs hurt, of course I’m breathing hard, it’s all cool and it will be over soon. At one point, I was overcome with I’m so terrible at this I might as well walk, just once – and immediately, a bloke patted my shoulder and said 'keep running, you can do it!' So I did. I ran so hard I felt sick. It hurt. And I kept on going. Usually I use a “if you can’t keep it up, slow it down” policy – don’t walk, just slow down. Sunday was different. Team LBTEPA adopted a let’s see how long we can keep this up strategy. Just keep running I want to stop keep running I’m so slow I’m letting everyone down just count the lampposts, after ten you can walk for thirty seconds, I promise oooh there’s Nathan Buckley, hasn’t he kept in shape? keep running we’re nearly there, just keep running…
I ran and ran. I couldn’t see G in the handover corral and then there he was. Some swearing while I got the #$%& chip off and almost threw it at him and I was finished.
We went under three hours for the whole thing, which was great. B and G were thrilled; I was busy flicking the not-good-enough fairy off my shoulder. She'd been enough of a pain today. It was a long walk back to the car and when I got home I crashed like a stone for two hours.
Guess what? When the times were posted, it turned out I averaged 30km/hr for the bike, which is massive for me! *edit: bugger, my maths is as crap as my riding. The actual figures reveal close to my usual, ahem, speed.
Most fabulous of all, I ran SIX MINUTE KMS!!! That's a minute per k faster than my normal 5k speed! Take that, NGE fairy!
So there you go.
Now all I have to do is taper for the Olympic distance I'm doing this weekend....