Thursday, 19 May 2011

Triathlon Training Camp 2011 - Part 4

It's a well known fact that you never try anything new on race day. Everything from your bike set-up to clothing to what you put in your drinks bottle must be tried and tested. Today was our training camp 'race day', but the difference was that it was a chance to try out anything we wanted to see what would work and what you would never do again.

Whilst the rest of the girls were gearing themselves up for an all out battle on the super sprint, Marie and I were trying to determine how long we would be out for on our extended course and therefore how much food we should bring.

This 'testing race' for me wasn't just about trying out kit and food choices. It was going to be the longest distance I had ever attempted in terms of triathlon and so it was also about testing whether or not I was physically able!

Originally the bike course was going to be all the way up to Col de la Columbiere and back but a last minute change of course (due to my unpredictable gut and Jon making the very sensible decision of staying closer to home) had us doing two ascents of Plaine Joux: a pretty tough and winding route up to a teeny ski resort. 

A 2k swim kicked off the race. I managed to find a good pace and stuck with it for the whole swim, I was chuffed to bits to make it to the end feeling reasonably fresh as I ran out of the water. The first bike ascent up to Plaine Joux was steady but after scoffing my face with loads of treats, the second ascent actually felt a bit easier. It was at that point I realised I had been daydreaming and dawdling, the race focus had been lost. I realised how much attention I hadn't been paying when the sign I was expecting to say I had 8km to the top said I had only 4. Whilst part of me was very happy that I only had another 4km of climbing left, the rest of me knew I hadn't been pushing hard enough, so I made sure that last 4km was as fast as possible. Every single part of my face was dripping with sweat as I span as hard as I could. The second descent was also much faster as I knew the bends and the confidence was building.

It had all been going so well up until T2. Once the trainers were on and a huge glug of electrolytes had been taken, I learnt very quickly that I appeared to have lost the ability to run. The combination of a bigger swim and absolutely caning it on the bike had rendered my whole body completely useless. The first 1.5 mile lap of the lake felt like I was barely moving and the second wasn't much better - I was close to saying that enough was enough and stopping completely. By the third lap I had settled into a bit more of a rhythm and felt a teeny bit quicker, but it didn't last long and as much as I pushed on the final lap, I just couldn't go any faster.

So what did I learn from this race? I learnt that it IS possible to knacker myself out. I was dead to the world and didn't want to do as much as a single sit up let alone any secret squirrel training or sneaking off to the Parcours Sportif later! I had been defeated, and it felt absolutely marvellous!

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