The Gauntlet aka The Hever Castle Half Ironman

On the positive side, another completed race (still no DNF’s for me) and a ruck sack as part of the goody bag.

You know it’s not a good race when one of the positives is the goody bag! Especially when I achieved a PB!

Let me explain.

The swim was awesome. 1,900 metres – all the talk of it being really cold, shallow and dirty were wrong. The water temp was OK, the swim was strong and straight (as in I followed the course) and I did the swim in 36.27 mins previous swim PB for 1,900 metre event was 36.34. It was a bit ‘aggressive’ mainly swimmers not swimming straight – but I don’t mind if it’s a bit of a bun fight.

Run up to T1 and a T1 time of 3.30. Not the fasted, but I put on socks and a cycling top as it was a bit chilly.

The bike was hard. I rode it as a recce a few weeks ago and it took 2 hours to ride it at a hard pace but with some stops to point out where marshals would be etc. So I was hoping for 3.45 – 4 hours. So to do it in 3.48 I was happy with that. A 1.48 for lap one and 1.58 for lap 2.

T2 2.46 – including a long run from dismount to my space in transition.

And that’s where the fun ended. I knew I was in trouble on the run within 2K. I do a lot of running as part of brick sessions (a ride and a run or a swim and a run, one after the other ) and I am comfortable running off the bike. I also usually go off fast (too fast) for the first 5K and regret it after, but this time I started slowly and even then I was in trouble.

I won’t bore you with tales of pain, anguish, gritted teeth, dark periods (most of the run) more pain etc.

Suffice to say I did the run in 2.31. My worst half marathon time ever. Previous worst 2.24 blamed on the heat.

So a total time of 7hrs 02 mins.

The PB (and this is also a way of explanation for the time) this is the first full half (if you get what I mean) I have done. Previous ‘half’s’ have had reduced swims or 80K rides (not 90K) or both. This is the first full distance. So the bike was 10K longer and also harder then any previous event. So my official half PB is 7 hrs 02.

I am not sure what went wrong today. I have had a cold for the past week or so, but I felt fine this morning and the past few days leading up to the race.

It’s been a long season, two half’s, an Olympic, a sprint, two boot camps, a 150K bike ride, a few 10K’s, a half marathon. But it has also been a perfectly planned season by an excellent coach. So if it was too much he would have said.

But we do need to plan the winter and that is what triathlon and triathletes is all about. After a ‘bad’ race it isn’t ‘sod this I am going to take up darts’ it’s ‘right what needs to be improved and how’.

Thanks to Sam for coming and Chloe and Sophia for keeping her entertained and for Russ and Camilla for coming up to watch me cross the finish line. Much appreciated.

Thanks for reading.

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