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Marazion Middle Distance 2008 - Race Report

 
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blackbird




Joined: 22 Sep 2007
Posts: 68
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 11:18 am    Post subject: Marazion Middle Distance 2008 - Race Report Reply with quote

My Marazion Middle Distance Triathlon race day report.

My first Middle – This is long, almost as long as the race Smile

Prep

4.27am

Woke 3 minutes before the alarm was due to sound. Into the kitchen and made my breakfast of cereal and yoghurt chased down by a bagel with jam, followed by a final pint of water.

Whist eating I thought I could hear the rain but didn't want to confirm it. A trip to the garage to get the bike got me soaking wet

5.10am

Left the house, bike and tri gear all packed.

5.40am

Arrived at transition and managed to find a free parking space only 300 meters away. A positive of being an early bird.

Put the bike together, gathered all my tri gear in a far too small box.

I then made my first mistake of the day by filling my aero bottle with an energy drink and then promptly dropping the bike whist trying to balance the said box and bike together. With some cursing and a litre less energy drink I made my way through the rain to the transition zone.

With some other early birds and volunteers we initially huddled under the one tent hoping for a break in the weather. Fortunately the forecast winds were being slow to materialise.

Due to the weather I decided not to lay my T1 & T2 kit out but leave it all in the box, T1 stuff on top. A good move it proved to be.

I now had plenty of time to meet fellow competitors, ruminate over the day to come and worry about many things.

6.20am

Time for me and my fellow 130ish competitors to wetsuit up.

Another mistake. I didn't bring a bin liner into which I could put the clothes I was wearing. Oopps. So I made a pile of wet belongings near the edge of transition hoping the girlfriend would turn up to collect them

6.30am

The race briefed delayed by 15 minutes to allow the swim buoys to be positioned. The rain was easing. I was cold. Looking around I was not alone, a lot of shivering going on.

6.45am

Race brief. Cricky this is going to happen

7.15ish

I've lost track of the time. We on masse make our way across the road, over the dune and come face to face with Mounts Bay and St Michaels Mount. Fortunately the steely grey sea is flat. Good news.

The swim has been laid out in a diamond pattern. None of us could see the outer buoy until it was pointed out. It seemed miles away. Now I'm worrying. I try to calm myself by remembering all the sea swimming that I've done in the last 6 weeks. That must help I keep telling myself.

7.20ish

We all tentatively make our way into the water, some diving straight in, some like me slowly easing in and risking a few strokes to see how cold the water was. Cold but warmer than I'm used to was the answer, another good sign.

5 minutes later we are call to the waters edge ready for the start. I make my way to the right, it being an anti clockwise swim hoping for some space.

My plan I keep telling myself as I wait for the whistle.

Wait 10 seconds

Then go very slowly

Get your breathing regulated first

Don't race

Go slow

A LOUD WHISTLE

The day starts


The Swim

One, two, three, four

I get to ten, I feel a few others near me are doing the same. I fix my view above the first buoy trying to pick out something on the headland behind that I will be able to fix on. Nothing, everything looks grey. Nothing stands out. Looks like I'll be following the splashing of the swimmers ahead.

Head in the water, the initial shock. I know this feeling

The taste of salt water. I know this taste

Breathe slowly, stroke slowly, no legs. Calm get the breathing right first.

You'll be working harder than you think. Go slow. Get the breathing right.

I keep repeating this in my head.

30 seconds gone, oh yes don't forget to sight. Every 5 strokes I start sighting.

A couple of hundred yards gone, I sight. I see a mass of splashing ahead. No buoy in sight. A little voice in my head shouts

“You can't do this. It's too far. Your going anaerobic”

I concentrate on breathing, slowly does it. My previous sea swims start to have an effect.

This swim is no different.

I've done 'cold'.

I've done 'can't see'

I've done ' swallow salt water'

I now notice a couple of swimmers to my right and a few more ahead and to my left. Beneath me I can just make out the sandy bottom. The sand is rippled.

I sight again. I see a canoeist, next to a large 6ft yellow buoy about 100 yards ahead, just off to my left.

I head for him. I pass the swimmers to my right.

Positive thoughts now make a welcome entrance. I'm doing this. My breathing is good.

I start to kick lightly. Take it easy. Save yourself.

I turn at the first buoy. I now know I'm heading into deeper water. The bottom disappears. Dark blue meets my eyes. There is no headland. There is water. It's choppy.

I can see canoeists ahead. I must be going the right way. The odd splash from other swimmers.

I tell myself concentrate on the breathing, the swell knocks me about. It feels like fun. Did I say that. I said that about sea swimming.

I pass a few other swimmers. I know my limitations I have 18 months worth of technique, I'm not quick

But I've found my pace and I know from my practice swims that I can go all day at this pace.

I hit the outer buoy, well nearly. 950 meters down.

Now heading for buoy 3, I can see St Michaels Mount when sighting. I'm heading home. I'm doing this. I never in my life thought I hear myself say this

'I'm really enjoying myself' I can now think of other things, what awaits me. My stroke, don't let the mind wander. I concentrate on the stroke.

The bottom comes back into view, seaweed encrusted rocky outcrops are islands in a desert of sand. I swim over one and spot a fish.

I pass a few more swimmers. I try to draft another but find it difficult. I keep hitting their feet. The bubbles are distracting me. I move out

Something to practice I mentally remind myself.

Turn left buoy 3

Heading for home

After 5 minutes I see the shore, people on the beach. I'm doing this. I take it easy. I don't want this to end. I could go on and on. I smile under water.

I am 200 yards out with a swimmer immediately to my left. We swim in unison. Stroke for stroke. Heading for the beach. We bottom gets nearer and nearer. He tries to stand. He is soon back swimming

I'm ahead now, 30 more yards then I reckon I can stand. Wait for it.

I reach, my toes strike sand. I'm upright. Wading through the shallows, reaching for my wetsuit pull cord.

Hat and goggles off, rip the wetsuit sleeves off and run up the beach. 1.9km done

Across the road into transition. I've done it,

Now, where is the bike


The bike

I reach transition. I hear the timing chip system beep as I pass through. Well at least I didn't leave that at the outer buoy

Rip off the rest of the wetsuit to reveal my one piece Orca trisuit (not the most flattering item of clothing). I look at the sky, still grey with rain in the air.

I dip into my box for a long sleeve cycle jersey that I've packed. Another positive I've done right. Remember my race belt and strap on the helmet and grab the bike.

It's a red one and looks slippery fast. That's my knowledge of bikes exhausted. This is only my 2nd outing for this tri race bike. I have never completed the 56 miles to follow on it, only on my training bike. Trepidation fills me.

I push pass the mount point and clamber aboard and head under heavy clouds and wet roads from Marazion, through Long Rock towards Penzance.

I try to take a sip through the straw attached to my aero bottle and nearly put myself in the hedge. I am such an idiot on a bike. I have the coordination of a drunken octopus.

Eventually I manage it, washing away the last of the salt water.

As I approach Penzance I try to recall my pre race plan.

Firstly

Don't race

Get the heart rate down to below 75% and keep it there.

Eat

If you feel good slow down.

Take it easy on the hills.

You are here to finish.

Remember 18 months ago you were a 40 year old 18 ½ stone ex cancer patient who could hardly walk up stairs. Finishing will be a win today.

I settle down to a long morning in the saddle.

My route will take me from Penzance along the A30 to Lands End, then back and left past the Lands End Aerodrome to St Just where we'd meet the steepest and longest hill of the day. Then back to Penzance to the aptly named Mount Misery roundabout where we'd start lap 2 of the same route.

For those unaccustomed to the area, West Cornwall doesn't do flat. The route is a mixture of many different hills of all colours and descriptions. Many with fine views. The total ascent on the bike will be about 3000ft

I'm getting the hang of these aero bars and drinking from the bar mounted bottle.

Fast people pass me. I wish them luck.

The first hill. I know this one to be a long drag getting sleeper at the top. I settle down and concentrate on my heart rate.

I get to the top, my first relief of the day, the gearing on the Tri bike works for me. That was an unknown I was worried about.

As I congratulate myself my first technical problem of the day raises it's head. My super slinky carbon pump is sliding down it's holder and is now inches from the ground. I attempt to fix this whilst riding. You may as well have asked a chimp to write Shakespeare.

I stop at the side of the road and make a running repair. A minute wasted. Oh well.

I head on down towards Lands End for the first time. More hills, but the road are drying and further rain look unlikely. I try to eat some of my energy bar but the rain has joined them together into a sticky mess. I get half of one free and begin to eat.

Remember I tell myself, eat and drink. I follow my orders.

About 12 miles gone and I hear a rattle, it take a while for me to work out it is my rear bottle cage coming apart. My second technical issue of the day. Fortunately I manage to remove my container housing all my repair gear before it goes bang into the hedge. £30 for 12 miles use. That was expensive. I fume. At least I am wearing a cycle jersey and can stuff everything in the pockets.

I pass my first puncture at the side of the road. I pray. I pray lots

I turn at Lands End and am met by the easterly wind. Stay low on the aero bars I berate myself. I start to see companions on the ride. I would pass them, they would pass me etc. We would pass comment to each other. It made for an easier time of it. They were pretty girls, that helped

We reach the St Just hill. I prepare myself, take it easy I mutter. Stay in the saddle as long as you can.

The hill goes on and on, steepens at the top where it turns right and you have a view back down the hill. I am there now. I see no view. I feel my lungs bursting, my eyes bulging, my legs straining. My aero bottle clanking back and forth. I feel pain.

Then

relief. It is done.

There are more hills out of St Just but soon a blessed easing as we reach a long down hill section back to the start of the lap. My back aches. Reminding me of the pain it's been all week. I try to stretch it on the down hill sections. It seems to help.


Lap 2, see lap 1 really but harder. Apart from anything else due to my last technical issue, my bike won't go into the large ring at the front. poo-poops, but at least it wasn't the small ring that wasn't usable.

Back at Mount Misery for the second time I now turn left back towards Penzance and the last drag up the dual carriageway. The sun has now broken through. I get cheered on by the girlfrind and her folks at the roadside. Thank you, in fact thanks to the cheering spectators the encouraging marshals. They all helped.

The last few miles at you pass the start area drags as you cycle the last few miles uphill on an exposed main road before you turn to enjoy the downhill back into the transition.

I stop at the dismount point and try to stand upright, the hardest act of the day. My back is killing me, spasms come and go, nearly buckling my legs.

T2 calls like a mirage in the desert.


The Run

I stumble into T2, 56 miles completed

I rack the bike, off with the cycle jersey and then the difficult ask of taking off my bike shoes and forcing on my running shoes. Oh thank you for Tri elasticated laces.

Try and straighten the back again out out through the timing gate. The run starts

.........oh no it doesn't I spot a port-a-loo

Intending a quick pee I enter.

Now another learning experience. Never let a 42 year old with poor flexibility wear a one piece lycra Tri Suit with a rear zip when he suddenly realises his body wants to deposit more than some liquid especially in the confines a small plastic space.

Lots of grunting, sweating and back spasming later I sit..................aaaarrhhhhhhhhhh

My god an elephant. Then the reality hits me. I look left, I look right and breath a huge sigh of putrid air. I've never been so glad to see a sheet or two of toilet paper.

I stumble out, still trying to raise the rear zip, cursing. My back in agony. f”*! it, I thought.

6 minutes later I'm finally off.

The run after the first ½ mile deviates onto an above beach pathway that follows the beach all the way from Marazion into Penzance. This had to be completed 3 times before finally returning to the transition / finish area, a total of 13.1 miles.

Once I hit the path all I could think of was the pain in my back and hoping that it would not totally seize up. I began to shuffle. I was mindful of reading somewhere that if you are to move at all. MOVE FORWARD

The sun was out by now, brightening up the day but not my mood. I was being overtaken by lots.

At the end of the first lap, I walked for the duration of taking on an energy drink. It eased somewhat. Bliss.

Off again. Get through this lap. Fortunately I am the most pig headed person I know. This trait came into it's own now. I kept repeating

'You are not stopping'

Lap 2 finally done, one more to do. A lot less people on the course now. The final time into Penzance took 42 weeks.........or perhaps I was hallucinating. Apparently if I looked left there would have been some tremendous view across the Mounts Bay, Crap...that's what I say.

Turn around for the final time and hobble towards the end.

I see the finish blow up thing in the distance, people at the roadside are cheering me on. People are even clapping. A last spurt and it's over

6hrs 22minutes after the first whistle blows I have stopped.


My final thoughts

Final time 6hrs 22 mins 18s

Breaks down into

Swim 39:32

T1 3:37

Bike 3.22:06

T2 1:53

Run 2.14:58

This was always meant to be a stepping stone, albeit the largest one on the way to the Ironman in September.

It was meant to be a learning experience. It was

I have foremost learnt that good things don't often come easy. Yesterday was no different.

I've learnt lots of race craft issues that can be sorted before September.

The swim was good, carry on the sea swimming.

The bike, apart from the technical issues was generally good. I was pleased with the average 16.63mph over a hilly course.

The run was 2+ hours of agony. This initially left me a little despondent but the girlfriend put some perspective into it.

“Remember, this time last year you had not entered any triathlon.”

“You expect too much of yourself”

It made me reflect. I have to remember I am a 42 year old ex cancer patient with a partly knackered body who a couple of years ago was 5 stone heavier who did no exercise. That person would have laughed at the idea of completing a half ironman distance triathlon. Even if he'd ever heard of it.

But that person did complete it. I did it, Today therefore I am proud.

I now move forward. Always MOVE FORWARD

As an aside, I notice that although the run was appalling and 6 minutes of it was spent in a port-a-loo it was a half marathon PB for me. Perspective is a fickle beast.

Blackbird
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IMUK for the Lymphoma Association http://www.justgiving.com/markwherryukim

2008 Marazion Middle Distance 6hrs22min
2008 Ironman UK
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Rofster




Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 4109
Location: Running on empty

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It feels great doesn't it? Very Happy

Bl00dy well done, give yourself a BIG pat on the back, oh and plan your next one before you realise teh insanity of it all Wink
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Even if the result is not what you expected, just wake up and do it again...
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Cyanide Sabre




Joined: 08 Jan 2007
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Location: Tywardreath, Nr. St. Austell

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good report and very well done!!
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2 scheds




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Location: The comeback trail

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one BB! Smile
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MrsTricky




Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 1278
Location: Newark

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done on a great race Winner

Loved your report - I felt like I was there with you Very Happy
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Silje




Joined: 02 Oct 2006
Posts: 182
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done on your race Exclamation And what an excellent race report Very Happy
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Melba




Joined: 22 Apr 2008
Posts: 51
Location: Kenilworth

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my God what inspirational reading - fantastic job! You did soooo well and sounds like you are a natural - the run is always going to be a tough ask after all those miles on the bike!

Well done and good luck for the iron man- I will look forward to your next report!!

Mel x
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caesar




Joined: 01 Sep 2006
Posts: 595
Location: Dorking

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic effort and a great report - i think i must have got something in my eye while reading that!

Well done
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blackbird




Joined: 22 Sep 2007
Posts: 68
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys for all the support.

As I sit here I'm already working out where I can shave off 23 minutes to get the under the 6 hrs next year. Smile

Now back to the training for Sherborne

Blackbird
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2008 Marazion Middle Distance 6hrs22min
2008 Ironman UK
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caesar




Joined: 01 Sep 2006
Posts: 595
Location: Dorking

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well with a bit of practice you should be able to get "the fourth discipline" down to 2 minutes rather than 6!!
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RichO




Joined: 09 Feb 2006
Posts: 819
Location: Cornwall or Azerbaijan

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done BB and a great report - you managed to articulate the doubt that many of us experience.........and you'll find a 2-piece combo of tri-top and shorts makes that 4th discipline easier!
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2008: IMA, IMUK
2009: IT band, strained back....Knocked off bike.....2009 cancelled....
2010: Busted collar bone, IM Lanzarote, KernowMan, New Forest Middle
2011: Taunton mara, Boskman, IMUK70.3
2012: Duchy mara, IM France
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Cooter




Joined: 21 May 2007
Posts: 110
Location: Hayle, Cornwall

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to thank everyone for their kind words, and we are taking all suggestions forward to next years event
For your Diaries its looking like May 31st the end of Half Term
Some Photo's for you to rimind you of the day
http://cooter.photium.com/
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PHILIPAEC




Joined: 11 May 2006
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Location: Essex

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic report on a great race...real inspiration and insight for someone doing their first middle distance later this year.....me.
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Bainsy




Joined: 11 Jan 2006
Posts: 2314
Location: TUnbridge Wells

PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just read this as part of my TT awards research - great report.

Hope that you managed IM..........
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2006 IM CH, 2007 IMF, 2008 Norseman, 2009 100 hour Raid Pyrenees, 2010 Marazion, 2011 AXtri, 2012 - White Horse Challenge, Tonbridge, 2nd baby, 2013 - Aberdeen to Southampton bike, 2014 Gauntlet

2015 ?
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