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Cotswolds 113 race review
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buzzing




Joined: 06 Aug 2014
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:45 pm    Post subject: Cotswolds 113 race review Reply with quote

Sorry, this is really long, think I needed to get it out of my system. Absolutely no offence taken if nobody bothers to read it!

Short version - first half, did is slowly, but did it! And I genuinely think that if I can, anyone can.

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Iím not sure if race reports are a thing on here any more but Iíve always really enjoyed reading them and have found them pretty inspirational so thought I would add mine to the archivesÖ

And let me preface this by saying that I am not really a triathlete, well, obviously I am, but Iím not super fit, Iím a 29 minute parkrunner at best, Iíve never swum 400m in less than 10 minutes & I canít climb a hill on a bike to save my life (more on that later). I donít spend hours every week training, triathlons fit around my life, not the other way round.

But there is something about triathlons that I love, that it is a pure challenge against myself & my own abilities, and over the past 8 years Iíve completed lots of sprint distance events, and did my first Olympic distance last year.

Doing a half ironman has always appealed, to be honest I would love to do a full ironman but baby steps & all that. And of them all, itís always been the Cotswolds 113 that I knew I would do. The relatively flat bike course appealed, the friendliness of the communications and the fact that there are no cut off times for any section, I knew it was the one for me.

So, in September last year I signed up & paid my cash, now for the hard bit. I donít really do training plans, working, two young children, a life blah blahÖ I did buy a turbo & even use it a few times over the winter months. I swam a bit, maybe 2 or 3 times a month. I did though run regularly, not great distances, but I rarely miss a parkrun & get together with friends at least once in the week for a jog & a catch up.

Fast forward to May and sh1t was getting real. I was getting out on the bike a bit, though the longest ride of 63km on the hottest bank holiday in early May resulted in me getting heat exhaustion. I got into a lake to test out open water swimming & spent the first half struggling to get my breath Ė so frustrating when I know I can do the distance with ease in a pool but something happens when I get in a lake that I donít quite understand. With 5 weeks to go even my husband was saying he wasnít sure I could do it, cheers for the support (or was it reverse psychology?)

Roll forward to the weekend, very little sleep the night before, alarm went off at 3.40am, arrived at the lake to find that we couldnít see the water due to fog. I was due to set off in Wave 1 at 6am but this was put back to 6.30, then 7am. Cannot fault the 113 team at all Ė they did everything they could to get us out on the water, they communicated clearly & regularly though I was disappointed at the thought that they may have to cut the swim short, I came to do a half ironman & by golly I was going to do one. Eventually all cleared and we got the go ahead to start at 7.30am. Quick messages sent to those coming to support me later on that they could have a lie in & we were off. Swim started well in so much as I was actually doing front crawl, then the regular panic breathing issues set in and I was struggling to get a proper breath in, I resorted to breaststroke with a little head out of water front crawl, trying not to berate myself too much. I was expecting a chunk of Wave 2 to overtake me & I soon saw their pink hats around me. By this time I was settling in a half decent rhythm and even managing some ďproperĒ front crawl, though still annoyed that I hadnít managed it from the start. A couple of the Wave 3 swimmers also got past me towards the end but as I was, literally, hauled out of the water at the end (superstars every one of the guys that had that role) I was fairly pleased with my swim. Target time: 50 minutes; Actual time: 47m27s.

Into T1, quick chat with the woman next to me as we struggled out of our wetsuits, quick suck of a gel, took the time to properly dry my feet, and I was out. My bike nearly finished before it started as the guy next to me wobbled trying to get his feet in and nearly took me out in the process.

Now, cycling, Iím really not very confident at, too little time in the saddle. So, in no particular order, Iím rubbish at getting my bottle in and out to drink from while cycling, I struggle to get up hills and also struggle to stop on hills as I canít get my feet off the pedals quickly enough, downhill petrifies me & I spend the whole time thinking about how much my arse hurts. As my Dad said, cycling really isnít for you, is it.

Straight away I realised that my bike computer wasnít working so I had no idea how far or fast I was going. Being a bit of a numbers geek, I worked out that if I was to achieve my hoped for time of 4 hours every 12 minutes represented 5% of my total time on the bike. Just think about the next 12 minutes, no more, got me through the first hour of the ride. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was overtaking me, lots gave me some encouragement which was both appreciated & needed. There was one competitor, Nicky (love having names on our numbers), who was cycling at a similar speed and we took turns to overtake each other several times having a brief chat each time.

As we approached Neilís Hill, the only real hill on the course, I was nervous. There is a similar hill near me that I have been trying, and failing to get up, and I knew this was going to be hard. Then disaster struck, as I was going down the gears I tried to go down one more but was already at the limit & my chain came off. Many expletives were shouted as I fell gracefully (not) to the ground Ė cut knee & very bruised ego. Many people asked if I was ok, including the lovely Nicky who was just behind me at that point. I used my chain as the excuse but really I just canít climb hills. Took the time to eat and drink as I pushed my bike to the top of the hill. Chain back on and I was good to go again.

Kept on until the drinks stop by which point my belly was churning & I really really needed a poo. Tactical stop in the portaloo & also took on more food & water. Watched in amazement at the cyclists able to take a bottle from the marshals and swap all over without so much as wobbling, then got back on my bike to finish lap 1. Reached the turn around point in around 1h55m so knew I was on track Ė just needed to do the lap again. This time I bailed at the bottom of Neilís Hill, I wasnít the only one this time and just got on with it, again eating and drinking, and ignoring my churning belly.

Had a bit of wobble (emotionally, not literally), towards the end of the bike, I had no idea how I was going to complete a half marathon. Saw husband & daughters as I got off the bike which was great, managed, just about, not to cry over them as I jogged on into transition. Ride done. Target time: 4 hours; Actual time: 3h54m10s. Bloody chuffed!

Friend Steph was there waiting at my transition spot which was just what I needed, we chatted while I got myself sorted for the run. I had a plan for the run which was 4 minutes running, 1 minute walking. I can do a stand alone half marathon in 2h 20m but had no idea what to expect today and thought this might help me keep focussed (I do love my numbers!). Beepers set on phone to keep me on track & I was off. Bumped into another friend Annie on her way back from the loo for a motivational hug and lap 1 started. Both were planning to run me on the next two laps if it were possible but the course was pretty narrow in places & I was worried about them getting in others way. Half way round the lap Adrian, a dad from school, caught me up. He started an hour after me & I had expected him to pass on the cycle, but it was great to see him and have a chat. We ran together for a bit then he jogged on ahead.

My belly was really suffering and I alternated between thinking I needed a poo to thinking I was going to be sick, or maybe both at the same time. As I finished lap one I briefly stopped to see my family and had a real wobble going past transition to start lap 2, was glad I had my sunglasses on so nobody could see the tears. I knew had I stopped, and I really wanted to, I wouldnít have started again. Then, like the angels that they are Steph & Annie appeared and insisted they were running with me for lap 2. Their chat and giggles got me half way round lap 2 when I thought that this time I would actually be sick. As I leant over the most enormous burp came out of me (my daughters were very proud when I described it later), and after that it was like the fog had lifted & I honestly felt amazing. At that point, I knew I would do this. I saw the family again at the end of lap 2 who spurred me on again and the final lap went in a bit of blur of run / walk / chat / congratulate other runners / repeat.

I lifted my arms as I crossed the finish line & they called my name, I honestly felt like a hero. On really minimal training I had exceeded everything I ever felt possible. Even now it feels a little like a dream, like an out of body experience. And, if I can learn how to ride properly maybe, just maybe, an ironman isnít out of reach (if I can find a flat one).

For someone who would not describe themselves as fit, or an athlete, I achieved something that I consider pretty phenomenal, I learned that I am tougher mentally than I give myself credit for, and that I am pretty bl00dy minded if someone suggests that I canít do something ;-p I had another little cry in the car the following morning, the whole thing has made me an emotional wreck.

Run target time: 3 hours; Actual time: 2h48m06s.

Total time target: 8 hours; Actual time: 7h39m50s. Whoop!

Final shout out to every single marshal, from the ones who hauled me out of the water, to the ones who lied when they told me I looked good on the bike, and the ones who told me I could do it on the run. The organisation & enthusiasm is second to none and I would highly recommend this event to anyone considering stepping up to half ironman.
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stenard




Joined: 04 Sep 2013
Posts: 1823

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good read and well done.
It is a great event to do your first middle distance at. I was the same with the Classic back in 2014.

You're right about race reports. I think for that reason I've not really posted up mine separately, but have started blogging. I did share a few of those links in threads where I'd been talking about a particular upcoming race with others.

Maybe you can restart the trend! It is always interesting to hear how other people have got on at different events. We all have our own experiences after all, even at the same race.
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TRO Saracen




Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 1233

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely report and well done on your achievement!

I have raced the Cotswold 113 and loved it too (despite the apocalyptic rain we got during the run).
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LiveFastTriYoung




Joined: 03 Aug 2007
Posts: 796
Location: Monmouthshire

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the reports from people at the back of the field with me. Congrats on getting it done.

Here's mine - http://davidandkathryn.com/blog/2018/06/12/cotswold-113-race-report/
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"how can an event that takes me the best part of 90 minutes be considered a sprint?!"

2012 Events Cosmeston Sprint, BRAT Olympic
2013 Outlaw Half, Outlaw
2015 Staffs 70.3
2016 Outlaw Half
2017 Haugesund 70.3
2018 Mallorca 70.3, Cotswold 113
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buzzing




Joined: 06 Aug 2014
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LiveFast - we met!

We kept passing each other on the final lap as I was doing the run / walk with my friend keeping me company (I was in the mirror glasses & backwards cap, on reviewing the photos I appear to have done a half ironman in the 1990s!).

Glad to read that your injury wasn't too serious, was very impressed that you didn't make more of a fuss as you were completing the course.

Heal strong
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Wheezy




Joined: 10 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fab report Buzzing! Well done. Let us know which Ironman you sign up for. Wink
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buzzing




Joined: 06 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha! I *may* have googled "easiest ironman" today...!
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JeffB




Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 1268
Location: Middlesbrough

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

buzzing wrote:
Ha! I *may* have googled "easiest ironman" today...!


I'm guessing it came back with Barcelona! Despite it's detractors at the front end of the race with drafting it's actually a very good race for families and first timers. Loads of cheap accomodation (it's not in Barcelona though), nice seaside setting. Easy to get to, short transitions, flat bike & run.

The only downside for you might be the sea swim which can be a bit choppy, but if you can do a half in 47 minutes you'll be well inside the cut-off time.

The full race cutoff is about 15 hours though, so without sounding harsh you'd probably need to do a bit more bike training!

Well done for completing the race, I miss the race reports so enjoyed reading them both even if you did have a few bad moments, it's not often you get through a race of that distance without a few low moments.

I thought it was a really well ran race when I did it a few years ago, it was a shame it was ruined by the rain which gave me the yips on the bike, but did mean the dirty part of the run was just what I liked!

Jeff
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gingerbongo




Joined: 21 Sep 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely report and well done!!!

I also love that race, my one and only half so far. Would deffo like to go back one day.
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SidSnot




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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

buzzing wrote:
Ha! I *may* have googled "easiest ironman" today...!


None are easy, but a good first time one is Outlaw. Easy for logistics, great for spectators, flat course...run can be a bit dull going round the lake, but you know its going to be flat
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buzzing




Joined: 06 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Outlaw actually came out top in the reviews I was reading, any thoughts? - Barcelona was mentioned but got points knocked off because of the 15 hour cut off.

And you're right, I need to get a hell of a lot better on the bike, though in my slight defence, I only did 230km total on the bike since mid April to prepare of this event. I'll never be fast but I can get a bit quicker (my bum'll thank the extra training as well).
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LiveFastTriYoung




Joined: 03 Aug 2007
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Location: Monmouthshire

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

buzzing wrote:
The Outlaw actually came out top in the reviews I was reading, any thoughts? - Barcelona was mentioned but got points knocked off because of the 15 hour cut off.

And you're right, I need to get a hell of a lot better on the bike, though in my slight defence, I only did 230km total on the bike since mid April to prepare of this event. I'll never be fast but I can get a bit quicker (my bum'll thank the extra training as well).


I did outlaw as my first and only full distance and can't fault it. However as I've blagged a half or two every year since I can tell you don't try to blag a full. Don't worry too much about your swimming and running (if you're happy to run/walk) but you need to put serious bike miles in your legs. It's not fun to be racing cutoffs all day.

The difference between 56 miles and 112 is almost unimaginable. Terrain wise Outlaw is very similar with one decent hill which is quite short which you do just the once and other than that some slopes over the main roads.

Go for it.
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"how can an event that takes me the best part of 90 minutes be considered a sprint?!"

2012 Events Cosmeston Sprint, BRAT Olympic
2013 Outlaw Half, Outlaw
2015 Staffs 70.3
2016 Outlaw Half
2017 Haugesund 70.3
2018 Mallorca 70.3, Cotswold 113
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Bluepoolshark




Joined: 09 May 2006
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Location: Swimming with icebergs

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report and well done! Smile

Been looking at doing Cotswold 113 myself for next year as I have done every distance apart from a half ironman and this one doesn't seem to ever get a bad review so may be my race of choice
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Jorgan




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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SidSnot wrote:

None are easy, but a good first time one is Outlaw. Easy for logistics, great for spectators, flat course...run can be a bit dull going round the lake, but you know its going to be flat


Outlaw is definitely the most soul destroying iron dist run I've done; basically because of the 4x around the rowing lake. Even the old canal run course in Roth was better than that, as you felt you were going somewhere!

I suppose it's hard sometimes to be objective about marathon courses, as you tend to think your better days were on the better courses, but not necessarily so. I still think the IM Regensburg was my best run course though, despite it being my PB. Four laps through the city centre and around the park and along the river made for some good changes of scenery, which I find really helpful. Austria is pretty good, for support, shade and variety - but it does get congested on the second lap.
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LiveFastTriYoung




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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The likelihood of non-wetsuit swims always puts me off Austria
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"how can an event that takes me the best part of 90 minutes be considered a sprint?!"

2012 Events Cosmeston Sprint, BRAT Olympic
2013 Outlaw Half, Outlaw
2015 Staffs 70.3
2016 Outlaw Half
2017 Haugesund 70.3
2018 Mallorca 70.3, Cotswold 113
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