This year I had done the Half, and had been training quite consistently, so I hoped I'll do alright. But my hip injury started flaring up again (mildly) again, and for the preceding week, Id been feeling really tired. On Friday I had a scheduled day off, and I was not feeling great, and felt like I was coming down with something. So I started pumping myself with vitamins, etc, and took Saturday off too. Come Sunday, I was feeling ok - not 100%, and still a bit tired, but not so bad that racing was a bad idea.
The weather this year was amazing. The water warm, little wind, and barely a cloud in the sky. So whatever happened, it was a great day for it.
I struggled at Karapiro. A lot. But I have seen improvements in the last couple of weeks, and had a couple of hard sessions at squad (I may have overdone it slightly). Last year I was abysmal, and took 34 minutes (including T1), so it could only get better.
I started off wide, and had a good, hard, first 200m. I lost the feet in front of me, then unfortunately had clear water, so swam to the first buoy by myself. I started feeling decidedly average, and worried about whether I was over the lurgy. I saw a slow fat dude to my left, so decided to follow him. And follow him I did. I was right on his feet for over 1km, and apart from about 2 - 3 minutes when I lost him, and worked hard to get back, I got sucked along. He wasn't fast, and it was criminally easy, but I figured that if I wasn't going to be fast anyway, I might as well put no effort in.
Having got out of the water, and run up to transition, I checked the Garmin, and it said I'd been 30 (including the run). I had a very slow T1 (just not feeling like hurrying), but I officially took 31:47 including the run up to T1, until the point I excited transition on the bike - so I would have been sub-30, which ain't flash, but not too bad either, in the circumstances.
I'm also a bit surprised, because my Blue Seventy is being repaired (one of the seems came undone), so I had to swim in the Xterra. I didn't realise before now, but it take in a lot more water than the Blue Seventy - which certainly feels like it slows me down!
The course this year had changed. It has two instead of five laps, and heads out towards Lake Tarawera. It's not all that much easier than last year, so was still tough work!
By dint of my slow swim, I had no friends on the bike (no change there). I felt pretty good, and was able to hold a good average pace for the bike. Before the 1/3ish way through turn-around I saw a guy from Wellington we know (and, swimming aside, I should be faster than), so I kept pushing hard to try and catch him. I continued passing people, never got passed, and although I didn't catch my targets, I wasn't far off.
I averaged 201 watts, with a normalized power of 224 watts - not too bad for 1:24:46 of riding (I have cut pushing the bike, etc from that time). AHR 170, max HR 187.
I was strong on the hills, but couldn't push as hard as I would have liked on the downhills/false flats - something to work on I suspect!
Felt really average to start he run, and was worried about whether I had the energy. I started off at an ok pace, but it quickly slowed from there, and I was running pretty pathetically.
I got passed by a couple of guys starting their second laps, but when I got passed by a chick on her first, I decided to buck up, and started following her. After a few uphills, I got my groove back, realised she was slowing me down, and I pulled away. I caught quite a few people from then on, and was not passed again. I didn't push the second lap hard, just tried to keep an ok pace. I knew I was down on energy, so didn't want to do anything silly.
I took 54:12 - about the same as last year, when I wasn't very pleased. This year I was happy to be able to pick up the pace when needed, but otherwise just didn't have the energy.
Overall pace was 4:51 mins/km, normalized pace of 4:34. AHR 169, max HR 175 - so certainly not as high as I should be able to hold for the run, and indicative, I think, of general fatigue.
Not too bad. A tactically (if not technically) good swim, an ok bike, and a slow, but strangely satisfying run.
I was clearly lacking energy, and unlike last year, have a whole heap more training/fatigue in my legs. I was really tired after the race, and today decided to take swimming off, to get over whatever I'm suffering from, and generally freshen up a bit.
Until next week, when I see if I can do better than last year at Tinman =)