I had to set the alarm for 04:30 this morning which meant early to bed. I was excited to be returning to the Northumberland Tri; the last time I entered, I did the Sprint Distance. This time it was going to be the full Standard distance event. This means a 1500m swim in the lake (two laps of the four buoys), 40Km on the bike and a 10km run.
Pre Event Nutrition
I started the day with an Isalean Shake (a balanced meal replacement providing whey protein, essential carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals). I find them a perfect light morning meal before an event. Only 240 calories and really easy to digest first thing in the morning and because you only add water, you are also properly hydrated.
Dad was keen to come along for the morning so we headed off at 05:15 towards Druridge Bay. I took my 750ml of Amped Hydrate (a refreshing and hydrating sports drink mix enriched with vitamin C, B-complex and a unique carbohydrate-electrolyte blend) on route. The perfect follow on from my Isalean Shake. The event location was the site of an old open cast mine, which now forms the main lake. We were one of the first to arrive again which is never a bad thing.
Unfortunately the rain had set in which is never ideal. The one thing about Triathlon is you can never predict the weather. It was going to be good training for IRONMAN Wales. After registering and racking up the bike it was time for a pre race e-shot (a convenient caffeine shot made with naturally sourced plant-based caffeine) and the race brief. No surprises, just lots of caution about the wet roads and roundabouts.
There were plenty of entries due to the number of events taking place, including, the Sprint, and Relays, so plenty to spectate. My event was due to kick off just after the Sprint event at 08:10, so we all had to be in the water just after the hour. We made way for the first wave of yellow hats, and then it was my turn; the red hats for the Standard Distance.
This was my first open water event of the season with the obligatory wet-suit. I was slightly apprehensive and developed an unhelpful anxious feeling. It is not uncommon because the water can be cold initially and if you don’t acclimatise well enough it can make breathing a bit challenging initially. I have been training hard pre season and knew I had the pace and stamina but unfortunately I got off to a bad start.
It took me about 600m before I felt comfortable to get my head down in the water and find my front crawl rhythm. A lot of swimmers had pulled away from me and I knew I was dropping back towards the rear third of the group. In the interest of safety and enjoyment, there was only one thing to do and that was relax without stopping. I had to get my breathing under control and keep going until I felt comfortable to pick up the pace. After a ropy start, I managed to pull back some time and finished the swim in 30min.
The thing about apprehension is that it can prevent you from pushing on outside of your comfort zone. Along with fear, doubt and uncertainty, I know that overcoming these four things is crucial to success in anything and in particular Triathlon. So this little incident in the water was an opportunity to flex that mental muscle and overcome one of them. It paid off.
Once out of the water it was off to transition and onto the bike. I still hadn’t tried fitting my shoes to the bike with elastic bands and I hadn’t tried cycling with bare feet. The transition takes less time in theory if you can master this. This time I elected to put on my socks and shoes and then pick up the bike and run to the mounting line. Elastics were going to be for another day!
Once on the bike the pace started to pick up. I was never going to catch the main groups so it had to be my own race; as it always should be. The aim was to finish in under 3 hrs.
The bike was two loops of a 20km route. It was generally flat, so I was able to maintain an average speed of more then 19.8km/hr, which I was happy with. I played a bit of cat and mouse with a few people, and off course there was no drafting! I’ll never forget being disqualified in my very first triathlon for doing this. It is basically riding behind someone to reduce wind resistance. The pro cyclists do it. Different sport!
A couple of people came off their bikes due to a tricky roundabout and wet conditions and I wasn’t taking any chances. Safety first, speed second! Having got back to transition for the second time, it was off with the bike shoes and helmet and on with the running shoes. The test then is to see how the legs feel after 40km on the bike?!
I was able to get into a comfortable stride, and although my legs felt pretty heavy, I felt confident I could sustain it for 10km. I was hoping to keep up a steady 5:30min/km pace around the lake for the four laps. It was hard to get to that and I managed to hold a steady 5:45min/km pace. The track was narrow, wet and slightly undulating but very pleasant. Four laps later and 10.6km done, I crossed the finish line in a time in a total time of 2:48:02. Always good to have a personalised call over the megaphone from the race organisers. I was happy with the final result.
Can I help you?
If you want to find out more about the nutrition I have been using to support my IRONMAN journey then I would be pleased to help at my site or just message me for the best and most cost effective solutions. Typically I support people who want to lose and maintain some weight easily, increase energy and improve performance, using evidenced based solutions, which come with a money back guarantee.
It isn’t for everyone but most people I have helped really benefit. This is especially true if like me you have found getting your nutrition right when living a busy life. I wanted an easy cost effective solution with quality nutrition I can depend on.