Aberfeldy - British Middle Distance Triathlon Championships - August 2019
After a somewhat disappointing trip to Nottingham three weeks before, my colleague and I entered the Aberfeldy Middle Distance race, which was also the Scottish and British Middle Distance Championship event. The conditions were equally bad as they had been in Nottingham but there was no bike cancellation this time.
Having taking it out quite easy for the swim in Nottingham, and with this being a middle distance event, I pushed a bit harder in the swim this time. The water was a bit choppier and with only about half as many entrants as the Outlaw and a single lap swim, I struggled to find someone's feet to draft off and finished the swim in 30m 35s. On to the hilly bike and the route is about as scenic as it gets but the heavy rain, even hail at one point, along with wet roads did make it challenging at times, but I tried to keep in an aero position as much as possible and finished the bike leg in 3hr 3m. The run was out and back, up a gradual but gently undulating uphill on the way out. While I had done a number of shorter runs off the bike in training, I struggled in the latter half of the run and only managed a 1hr 56m half marathon to finish, a bit slower than what I was expecting but the 5hr 35m overall time I was pleased with: 116th overall and 11th in my category.
Outlaw Triathlon - July 2019
And so after over six months of training for the event, on 28th July 2019 the Outlaw Triathlon arrived. We'd travelled down from Edinburgh to Nottingham for the 3.8k swim, 180k bike, and 42.2k run. After some panic in T1 checking my tyre pressures and the valves blowing out, I got my wetsuit on and made my way to the start. It was raining heavily and this only added to the sense of excitement and community around what we were all about to undertake. Drummers and hand mass viking clapping in the water of the reservoir at the starts we treaded water among hundreds of fellow triathletes, all of whom had undoubtedly been looking forward to this moment for weeks or months.
The swim went well. It is my strongest of the three disciplines but I made a conscious effort to cruise at a comfortable pace, staying on the feet of another swimmer as much as possible for the drafting effect. Other than a couple of elbows, hands, or feet to the body now and then, they swim went by without major incident. The Australian exit (get out of the water, run along the pier, and dive back in) at half way is a nice touch and while I worried that my goggles would come off when diving in, all was ok. However, at the end of the 2nd lap, as I exited the water within a few seconds of some other participants, a man with a serious look on his face informed us that the bike leg had been cancelled (!). This was not something I had considered at all and took a few moments to sink in. Ir was disappointing but the news that the marathon would go ahead in an hour and a half or so allowed me to focus on that and not become too dejected by the news that there would be no long/full distance triathlon completed today.
And so, 1.5-2 hours later I approach the start line of the marathon, with runners being set off at 5 seconds intervals. My 'A' goal time was sub 3:30 so I set off at just under 5min/km for the first few km. The route was flat but partly off road, and with the weather conditions there were quite a lot of puddles to contend with. By 20km the 3:30 time was starting to look less feasible. I could still manage it but I'd have to have zero drop off in pace and that didn't seem realistic. As the kilometres ticked by, I could see my pace slipping slightly but unless I got injured I was at least going to beat my marathon PB from 2009, a 3:56, and probably go quite a bit under that. The last few km around the reservoir were tough but I came home in 3:40, a 16 minute PB. Strava entry here: https://www.strava.com/activities/2570563254
Overall (swim and run) I finished 107th of 936 (45th in the swim and 197th in the run). 19th M30-34.
I will revisit the long, or 'Ironman', distance triathlon one day and be back to tell the tale!
Malta - Spring 2019 - posted 20th July 2019
One week in Malta in Spring 2019. We flew direct from Edinburgh with Ryanair and stayed in an AirBnB in the north of the island. We rented a small car for a week which was useful for hopping around the island whenver we needed to.