Tag Archives: Weymouth

Ironman Weymouth 70.3 – my A race for 2016

9 Nov

Woo hoo! I’ve now entered my final A race for 2016 (with the other two being Southampton Half Marathon in April and Long Course Weekend in July).

However, this wasn’t because I’d been repeatedly nagged to enter more Ironman events by Ironman:

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.45.37

There are a lot of other events that I’d like to try in 2016, but as usual, I need to try to be at least a bit restrained and not enter everything!!!

I’m really excited about doing Ironman Weymouth 70.3 for several reasons:

  • I loved doing Weymouth Half as my firs half iron distance race in 2014
  • It’s not too far from where I live
  • It has great crowd support
  • I’m hoping it will be good preparation for doing Ironman Weymouth in 2016

Have you planned your A races for next season yet? What do you want to enter and why?

The GU Energy Weymouth Bay Triathlon

12 Jul

This was the first Olympic distance triathlon that I did last year, so I decided to enter it to try to beat my time. I also thought it would be a good race to do as it involves a sea swim and I haven’t done any sea swims so far this year.

Unfortunately, the day didn’t start well. I spent yesterday evening organising everything and Stuart set a 5am alarm, before having an early night. I slept well… but probably a little too well. When I woke, I decided to check the time, rather than waiting for the alarm to go off – aarrgghh! It was just after 6am. We had hoped that getting up at 5 would ensure that we would be on the road before 6am, but that wasn’t to be.

Stuart and I dressed as quickly as possible and took our breakfasts out to the car. Stu managed to eat a slice of peanut butter on toast, but I realised that adding whey powder to my pre-race favourite of porridge with ground almonds and dried apricots had made it completely unpalatable. It had a strange texture and a really unpleasant taste, so I gave up trying to eat it and hoped that I would have enough energy to complete the race. At that point I also realised that all of the food I had carefully prepared to take with me was still in the fridge 😦

Race registration was due to close at 7:30am and we didn’t leave until 6:20am, so we knew there was a risk that we would miss the race. At times, there was some traffic, but we managed to get to the car park and we directed to a space that wasn’t far from registration (although we weren’t sure where registration was and wandered around the entire car park before going into the right building.

We took our race packs back to the car and stuck the labels on out bikes, bags and swimming hats, so that we would be able to enter transition. We put pur rucksacks on and cycled to the start.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to get ready, which made me a bit stressed. I had hoped to have enough time to get myself really well-organised. I’d also read this week about the importance of doing a ‘reverse tri’ before the start of a real triathlon – the article suggested that I should go for a 5 minute run, followed by a 5 minute bike run and then 5 minutes in the water. This sounded sensible – the run gets your heart-rate up, the ride ensures your bike is in the right gear and the time in the water helps you to acclimatise.

After the race briefing, I rushed back to transition as I needed to put my race belt down and grab my goggles, ear plugs and swimming hats (I hate the free latex hats that are given out at races, so I like to wear my own silicone hat underneath). We were then told to hurry down to the beach as the race was about to start.

I managed to get nearly waist deep in the water before we were told to return to shore. I had put my face in the water and although it was a bit cold (16.5 C) it didn’t feel too bad. In the briefing we had been told that the race would start in the water, but this wasn’t quite true – we had to start at the water’s edge. I was a little disappointed as I wanted to properly acclimatise, but it couldn’t be helped and at least we’d made the start.

 

Swim:

The start horn sounded and we were off. I was able to stride out a bit before I started swimming, but I found that I wasn’t able to breathe. I was also surprised by how much salt I could taste as soon as I put my face in the water (no, I wasn’t trying to drink it, but it was seeping in through my pores!)

I struggled to get my breathing under control and don’t think that my swimming strokes would be acceptable at tri club, but at least I was moving. I tried to swim normally, but it was very choppy, so if I swam the way I usually do, breathing every 3 strokes, I found that I kept getting a face-full of water. I decided to switch to an even pattern, so that I was just breathing to my left, but I was too panicky to breathe every four and found that I was hyperventilating when I tried to breathe every 2 strokes. The only thing that made me feel better was that I was surrounded by others swimmers and knew that I was ahead of a few people.

A positive about the swim was that we had to swim out a long way from the shore, whereas in previous years, we haven’t swum out as far and have had to swim a long way parallel to the shore which has looked much further from the shoreline.

I turned at the buoy and saw that the distance to the other marker buoy wasn’t far, which was good as there was quite a swell. Later on people told me that they saw quite a few jellyfish near to the buoys. I can see much better in the water than last year, but I didn’t notice any jellyfish, which was a relief.

The swim back to shore was much better. If I’m not bilateral breathing then I prefer to breathe to my right, however, I had my breathing under control and breathing every 3 seemed OK. I could also see that there were still plenty of swimmers in sight, which made me feel a sense of relief that I wasn’t going to be last on the swim.

The last 25m of the swim was fairly shallow, so I waded to the shore and then up onto the shingle. I was very close to three other women and could probably have beaten one or two of them if I hadn’t removed my goggles and then promptly dropped them in the sea – doh!

  • Last year: 53:38
  • This year: 33:06 (20:32 faster) 58/64

During the briefing, we had been reassured that the swim course was accurately measured. My Garmin made it a couple of hundred metres short, however, I can’t compare it with last year when I accidentally clicked the lap button on my watch halfway through the swim. Either way, I’m really pleased that there is evidence that I have made progress – I was 20:32 faster!

T1:

It had started raining a bit, so I struggled to get my socks on (yes, I do need them!) and I faffed around a bit. However, my lack of organisation held me back. I think I just about managed to squeak some progress on last year as I didn’t need to insert contact lenses!

  • Last year: 3:22
  • This year: 2:46 (0:38 faster) 50/64

Bike:

I glanced at my watch when I went out onto the bike and was surprised by how well my swim seemed to have gone. I could still see someone in the sea and started to wonder whether I had somehow taken on a short cut on the swim and would therefore be disqualified later. This was something I pondered several times during the race. Could I really have improved that much?

The bike course is an out and back to Wool that has a fairly long climb early on out of Weymouth before dropping back down to Wool.It started with a left hand turn before going around a roundabout and heading back past where we started. Somehow I ended up in the wrong lane and suddenly realised that I was going in the wrong direction. I managed to pull over, unclip one foot and then had to clamber across a traffic island to get back on track – oops!

I managed to pick up my speed a bit, but was soon passed by a female cyclist. Then it was on to the long, hard climb out of Weymouth. I managed to get about halfway up before I was passed by a male cyclist. I kept pushing as hard as I could as I was determined to beat my average pace from last year (and also wanted to hit an average pace over 25kph, which is the fastest pace I’ve ever managed to maintain). At that point I decided to have a cherry shot blok as the strong flavour would take away the salty taste in my mouth.

I started pushing harder and was really motivated when I got to the main turn and saw Stuart shortly afterwards. When I neared the turn, I was really cheered by seeing lots of cyclists who didn’t seem to be too far ahead – I started to believe that I could catch up with them.

When I got to the final turnaround point, I was averaging over 27kph and feeling strong. I got halfway around the roundabout… and was hit by the wind. I hadn’t realised there was a tailwind on the ride out (I just thought I was doing really well!) The ride back was really hard, but I could see a cyclist ahead and decided to do what I could to catch up with her and then pass her.

One thing that I didn’t like about the bike ride was the number of dead animals on the road, it was like this:

I finally caught up with the female cyclist ahead and managed to pass her. I then kept pushing and saw a male cyclist on the final hill heading back into Weymouth. He seemed to be struggling, so I decided to chase him down.

I had discussed my nutrition strategy with Sam and he advised me to eat some dark chocolate on the bike. I foolishly decided that I would eat a piece of chocolate whilst trying to go uphill. It was dry and wouldn’t melt, so I decided not to try another piece and had a bit of my nuun Kona cola drink.

The male cyclist got to the big downhill before me, and I’m still a bit nervous on hills (especially as the road was quite slick by that stage), so I couldn’t catch up with him. (I think he may have had some weight on his side too).

As I passed by the side of Lodmore Country Park, I saw Stuart turning on the run, so I shouted to him. He raised a hand in acknowledgement, which made me feel good. I knew that he would be more than 15 minutes ahead of me, so he must be on his second lap.

I wanted to save time in transition, so I decided to remove my Garmin from its bike mount and put it back onto the wrist strap. I couldn’t click it on and realised that I needed to brake at the roundabout, so I quickly put my watch down the front of my top. After the roundabout, I got my watch back out and put it on the wrist strap, but realised that I had pressed something and it was on a screen I didn’t recognise. I tried to get it back to normal, but couldn’t. I pressed the lap/reset button and saw it click onto T2 – oops! I had hoped to beat my time from last year, but now had no idea whether I was on track.

I finally passed the male cyclist on the road back to transition. I had wanted to remove my mitts and use my inhaler, but didn’t have enough time on the bike. I took my feet out of my shoes and nearly lost a shoe on the road as I couldn’t get it the right way up. Next time, I’ll not try to get my shoes off whilst cycling uphill.

  • Last year: 1:32:11 (23.9 kph)
  • This year: 1:33:20 (25.1 kph) (+1:09, but a longer course) 59/64

 

T2:

As it had rained hard when I was out on the bike, all of my kit was soaked, so I decided not to pick up my visor. It had also stopped raining, so I wasn’t too worried about having driving rain on my face. I put on my shoes, grabbed my inhaler and was off. As usual, T2 was my best discipline of the day, although I was not as good as Stu, who managed a 42 second T2 and was the fastest competitor of the day!

  • Last year: 1:42
  • This year: 1:02 (40 seconds faster) 17/64

 

Run:

My goal for the run was to finish in under an hour. I was a little concerned that I had perhaps run too hard at parkrun yesterday, so my strategy was to start in a steady manner and try to keep under 6:00/km.

Fortunately, the run started with a downhill section, which allowed me to make good progress without getting out of breath.

I like the run route as it reminded me of the triathlons that I did in Weymouth last year and all of the happy memories from that time. I passed a few spectators who told me  that i was running well, which gave me a boost.

After a while I saw another runner up ahead in a turquoise tshirt, so i decided to try to chase her down. It tok me a few more minutes, but I managed to pass the other runner and then headed into teh country park. There were some ladies from teh sprint distance walking two abreast, so I called out ‘excuse me’ to them and they stepped aside, so that I could pass. I then got to the junction: left for lap 2 and right for teh finish. I collected a wristband and then headed left for my second lap.

I was still feeling quite good although my pace had started to slow a little. When I got to the drinks station, I grabbed a cup of water and had a mouthful before picking the pace back up. I kept an eye on my average pace and was pleased that although I had slowed, I was still comfortably under 6:00/km.

There was another female runner up ahead, this time in a turquoise vest. She looked like she was slowing, so I put in a bit more effort and passed the other runner.

As I turned right at the final junction, I showed the marshal my wristband and straightened my race number. I had to cross a car park and could see someone else in a turquoise top – it was Stu waiting to cheer me in 🙂

IMG_5892 IMG_5893 IMG_5894 IMG_5895 IMG_5896

There was a slight incline towards the race finish, but I gave it everything I had and was delighted that I had beaten last year’s run time by over 10 minutes.

  • Last year: 1:08:49
  • This year: 54:50 (11:59 faster) 48/64

Total:

Overall, I had a fantastic race.

  • Last year: 3:39:42
  • This year: 3:05:04 (34:38 faster) 55/64

If only I could have dug a bit deeper and been 5 seconds faster!

GU Weymouth Classic goodies

The marshals from Bustinskin Tri Club were fantastic as always and there were some great goodies: a technical t-shirt, buff, water bottle and giant medal for everyone.

Preparation for Weymouth Half

15 Sep

The weekend of the big race was finally here. Stu and I finished packing and drove down to Weymouth, knowing that Liz and Suzanne were also on their way. We’d booked a hotel room in Dorchester, which is a 10 minute drive away. We thought it would be quieter there and it was also quite a bit cheaper. The traffic on the way to Weymouth was quite heavy, so we headed straight into Weymouth to register.

We headed towards the pavilion and saw the expo outside. I was a little surprised by how small the expo was. I’ve been to large-scale events like London Marathon and Paris Marathon, which had amazing expos, and to smaller races like Brighton, which still had a reasonable sized expo, but this expo seemed much closer in scale to what is at a local race. I didn’t need to buy anything, but it’s always nice to have a chance to browse new products.

We went in to register. I was given an envelope with my race numbers in it, transfers and stickers as well as some promotional info. I also picked up a magazine. We then had wristbands put on, proclaiming that we were ‘athletes’. We were then given three bags to include items for the two transitions and one for after the race. We also picked up our timing chips. I accidentally asked for 1787 instead of 1737. Fortunately, we had to run the chip over a mat to check that our names came up. The chip I had belonged to a man, so I checked my number and was able to swap it for the right one. I also realised that I had left my chip strap at home, so we went out to the Huub stand where I bought the last chip strap.

Calm sea at Weymouth

Calm sea at Weymouth

We then headed down towards Lodmore Country Park to rack our bikes. Stu found a nearby car park, so we got out bikes off the roof and attached our race numbers. Unfortunately, I tried to open my bike bag and the zip got stuck. I tried to close it again, but it just wouldn’t budge. Finally the zip moved, but it wasn’t actually closing the bag. Aaarrggghh! I was feeling really stressed and this was not what I needed. I removed the bike bag and decided that I would try to deal with it later.

The car park was gravelly, so I wasn’t able to ride my bike. I had hoped to be able to check which gear it was in to make it easier to leave transition in the morning. We queued up at the gate as transition wasn’t open. We then saw James, so went over to chat to him. There was a delay in opening transition, so one of the marshalls came around offering us electrolyte sachets. When we entered transition, we were also given drinks bottles.

It wasn’t easy to see where my bike should be racked. There were signs at the end of the rack, but we could only see the reverse sides, which had numbers printed it on them from a previous event. (We were entering transition from the other side during the event). I was able to find my bike at the back of the racks. Bikes were racked on alternate sides and as we were using bags, we could only leave items that were attached to bikes.

My bike in transition

My bike in transition

Bikes in transition

Transition filling up nicely © Liz Carter

View of transition

James had a fantastic view of transition from his hotel room © James Saunders

We left our bikes and headed back to the other end of Weymouth for the race briefing, where we were hoping to meet up with some of our friends. We were running a little late, so James, Stuart and I headed straight into the pavilion. James, Roelie, Gary and Ellie had got there a bit earlier, so they had spent some time sampling the Erdinger Alkoholfrei.

James Roelie and Gary

James N., Roelie and Gary © Eleanore Coulthard

James and Roelie

James and Roelie sampling the freebies © Eleanore Coulthard

The theatre where the race briefing was taking place was filling up when we entered. It seemed like a good place to have the briefing – lovely comfortable velvet seats, which makes a change from standing outside just before a race starts!

Race briefing

Race briefing

We could see James N, Roelie and Gary sitting in the row in front of us and Liz sent us a text, before coming to find us for a big hug. The briefing was clear and quite reassuring, although there seemed to be a number of people who hadn’t heard that the run was to be 25k/15 miles.

Stuart received a text from our friend, Clare, so we agreed to meet her outside after the briefing had finished. I didn’t manage to take a photo of Clare, but she took one of a group of us from Southampton Tri Club:

Group photograph

(L-R: Me, James S., Liz, Suzanne, Stuart, Jan. © Janice Goble)

The others left to rack their bikes, so Stu and I had a wander around the expo. A local bike shop (Mud Sweat N Gears) had bike bags, complete with repair kit and CO2 for £20. I was able to try it on a bike that had a very similar seat post to mine and it fitted, so I gratefully bought it and hoped that I wouldn’t need it.

Tweet about the Expo at Challenge Weymouth

Although there wasn’t a lot of choice, the expo had all of the essentials, including a new tyre for Liz and a bike bag for me.

Stu was tempted by some flapjack, so he bought a box of 24 for £10 from Dorset Flapjacks. We figured that we would get through them with all of the cycling that we’re planning to do.

The grandstand at the finish

The grandstand at the finish

We also tried some Erdinger. I don’t have any photographic evidence of me drinking it, but I can definitely say that it’s not for me. I nearly had 1/4 pint, and I don’t like to see myself as a quitter, but I just couldn’t drink it, so I donated it to Stu.

As I was admiring some lovely Salomon shorts, Liz arrived back in the expo. I was a little surprised as I had assumed that she would be at the other end of Weymouth in transition with Suzanne, but she’d had a bit of a disaster. She’d suddenly found that her tyre had perished, so she needed a new one. Fortunately, a lovely chap was not only able to sell her one, but he put it on her wheel and sorted it all out. Result – one extra happy, smiley Liz!

Stuart and I decided that it was time to head back to our hotel to unpack and get ourselves ready for the big day. We had some food at the nearby Carluccios (the courgette and gorgonzola risotto is lovely!) and then sorted out our transition bags.

I couldn’t believe how much stuff I needed to get organised. The red bag contained everything I needed for the bike part of the race: shoes, socks, race belt, mitts, arm warmers, cycle jersey, sunglasses, clear glasses, contact lenses, bottle of water and inhaler. The blue bag contained everything I needed for the run: spare socks, trainers, visor, sunglasses, bottle of water and another inhaler. The green bag included stuff for the swim and for after the race: two hats, two pairs of goggles, body glide, glasses case, wetsuit, cosy clothes, flip-flops, shoes, water, chocolate milk, snacks – I really included everything – next time, I probably won’t pack as much!

Transition bags ready!

Transition bags ready!

It was then time for an early night!

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My first Olympic Distance Triathlon

13 Jul

My first Olympic distance triathlon was the GU Energy Weymouth Bay Triathlon. As it was in Weymouth and started at a typically early time, Stu and I had to get up at 4:45am. We ate breakfast and then drove to Weymouth, where we parked the car and went to register.

It was our first Bustinskin event and we were impressed by the organisation. We collected envelopes with our race numbers and stickers (for bike, helmet, hat, wrist and bag) in them.

GU triathlon number

Lucky number 137

Racks were numbered, and I was pleased to see that I was next to Stuart, which is always reassuring. It’s helpful to have numbered bike racks as it’s a small decision taken away from me.

There were various distance events going on: sprint, standard and middle. I think probably quite a few of the people who had signed up for the middle distance event were using it as a warm up for Challenge Weymouth, so they had come from far and wide. There were also some local people that I recognised, including Brian Grierson (a fantastic veteran) and also Luke, from LRR.

Start of Gu Weymouth Middle distance

Watching the competitors line up for the start of the middle distance event.

After we watched the start of the Middle distance event, there was a bit of time for selfies with Liz, before our final race preparations.

Selfie with Liz Gu Weymouth

Quick selfie with Liz © Liz Carter

Group shot before Gu Weymouth

Group shot at the start (L-R Stuart, Suzanne, Me and Roelie) © Liz Carter

After my previous experiences at Weymouth, I was a little nervous about the jellyfish in the water. Fortunately, it was overcast, which meant it was harder to see the jellyfish. They were still there, but I couldn’t see as well, so I only saw 10-12, which was a massive improvement!

I was quite pleased with how my swimming went, as I knew I wasn’t the very last person and was also aware that I was quite close to other competitors. I felt I was doing really well, especially as I was swimming against the current, so I decided to press the lap button on my watch when I got to the turn around buoy. I thought this would help me to see the difference between the first half of my swim and the second half… But I forgot that the lap button is meant to signal T1, so my Garmin data makes it look like I was in transition for a very long time.

After the event, I did a few calculations. It was meant to be a 1500m swim, but I swam 890m to the turnaround point, so I think my sighting must have been a bit off. The first half of the swim took me 29:42, so the return swim must have taken me 23:56, which is nearly 6 minutes faster.

Swim: 00:53:38

Position: 39/41

 

As usual, for me, the transitions were the highlight – I managed to beat 4 people in T1, even though I had to put my contact lenses in! I hope to start smashing my T1 times next year when I’ve had laser eye surgery.

T1: 00:03:22

Position: 37/41

 

The bike started on a hill, which was an immediate challenge and by the time I got going, there were really any people in close proximity who I could chase. I think that as soon as I’ve improved my swimming and had laser eye surgery, my bike times will also start improving as well, because I do so much better when there are other people that I challenge myself to beat.

I found the bike course quite challenging and I struggled to eat or drink anything, which probably didn’t help me. As I cycled in, I saw Stuart finishing his run.

Bike: 01:32:11

Position: 39/41

 

T2 seems to be my discipline – it is the part of races where I perform best. I managed to beat 5 people 🙂
T2: 00:01:42

Position: 36/41

 

I was too far behind to chase anyone on the run, which was a little disappointing. Like the bike course, the run started on a steep hill. I had intended to use my inhaler on my bike, but I forgot, so I ended up getting out my inhaler on the hill. A woman ahead noticed me and decided that she would stop and try to run with me as it was her first event. This helped to encourage me, but the other triathlete was doing the sprint event, so as soon as we got to the downhill, I left her.

I quite enjoyed the run as it was two laps of a local park. There weren’t many other runners around, but I’m quite used to running on my own, so it was fine. The hardest part of the run was the final hill. I was a little frustrated that I struggled to maintain a good pace for the run, but it wa fantastic to be able to finish with a speedy run down the hill.

Run: 01:08:49

Position: 38/41

 

After crossing the finish line, I collected my medal, water bottle and t-shirt before meeting up with Suzanne, Roelie and Stuart to cheer Liz on.

Final result:

03:39:42

40/41 finishers

Massive well dones to Suzanne for being 3rd female finisher; Liz for being 3rd in her AG in her first attempt at this distance; Roelie for beating her PB and Stuart for finishing 14th overall in his first attempt at this distance.