This weekend was the Long Course weekend in Tenby. I entered this after my failed attempt at the Tour of Pembrokeshire 76 mile route, as I wanted to do a longish sportive before Ironman Wales. When I told Patrick that I had entered all 3 events he was a bit surprised, but then he decided to enter the Half Marathon on the Sunday. Luckily for us my mum was on hand to look after the kids so we could both run!
The swim is a 2 lap course and conditions were pretty perfect, swim starts are always a bit nerve racking, but I am getting more confident now. I have learned not to listen to the stories people tell about the start and just focus on what I’m doing. There were 2 men behind me chatting and saying how it would be a scrum to the first buoy. I decided I didn’t really want to listen to that conversation so moved away from them. It’s one of the things that irritates me when people perpetuate fear and anxiety to make themselves look good! It really isn’t that bad, and telling people how awful something is really doesn’t help anyone. The start was busy and I did get a couple of elbows in my goggles, but I was soon in clear space and feeling great. I stroked a few jellyfish, and was on my second lap. The pace at the end of the second lap around the last buoy picked up so I hitched a ride with a massive group, we were flying, and all scrambled out together.
The swim was a bit of a test for Ironman Wales. I was hoping to complete the swim in about 1 hour and 5 to 1 hour 10. I was very surprised, and on a bit of a high when I came out of the water in 57.28. Didn’t sleep very well that night!
There is a choice of 40, 70, or 112 mile routes for the sportive. It follows the same route as the Ironman course. If you are doing 112 miles you do both the 40 and 70 mile loops. I chose to do 70 miles because I didn’t want to exhaust myself over the weekend and be unable to train the week after. I decided to park in New Hedges and cycle down to Tenby to avoid the chaos of parking in town. When I arrived I spotted Clair, and we had a quick hello, then I made my way down to the start. I was super early so decided to spend my emergency cash on a macchiato from the teeny tiny coffee van. At the start I shoved in next to Clair, she was meeting Tom (her other half) en route and he was going to pace her on the ride.
At this point I had a bit of a battle going on in my head. I had planned to try and stick to about 150-160 watts the whole way round, but I thought it also may be good to push a bit and see what I could do. When we started I thought I would try and stick with Clair, as it might be easier to have someone to ride with, but it became clear in the first half hour that they were going for it, and I decided to err on the side of caution and drop back! I was on my own then from Lamphey to Castlemartin, where I tried to hang on the back of another group I managed to stay with them until after Angle then got spat out the back. The rest of the ride I was solo, but it was good to see how hard I could push it. I was feeling pretty tired and when a few people passed me that I knew, it was nice to hear a bit of encouragement.
I averaged 156 watts on the course but, for Ironman, my pacing will be a lot different! I was happy with my time though, as I was aiming for about 4 and a half hours. Clair did an amazing time of 3 hours 55, there was no way I could have caught her! Fortunately she was still at the finish when I arrived and she very kindly gave me a lift back up the hill to New Hedges, (very grateful!)
I got home and was about to do my stretching when I had an overwhelming urge to have a sleep so I had a nap for an hour (luxury sleeping during the day :-))
P.S. I was glad of my delicious portables that I had brought! (short blog post about that here).
When I finished the bike I said I would jog the run on Sunday. Patrick had entered too, and was also planning on taking it steady. The run starts in Pembroke, and you run to Tenby, after a bit of discussion we had decided to take the train from Narberth. When we stopped in Tenby quite a few other runners got on, and we arrived in time to march up the high street with the band to the start. The only problem with the train, was that I had change jangling in my back pocket the whole way to Tenby! (extra weight too ;-))
We were off and I kept an eye on my heart rate, as I know how easy it is to start following people. I kept a steady 152 average which is upper endurance for me ,probably a bit faster than I should have gone, but I was feeling pretty relaxed and strong. I had to tell myself to slow down a few times and let people go that I normally would have chased!
Anyway I was very happy with my time, I was 2nd in my age category, and not too exhausted afterwards. Patrick came in 4 minutes after me and I was there to watch his sprint finish, very impressive on only a couple of runs a week! We then headed down to the beach for a BBQ with the boys.
The weekend was fantastic, support on the course is amazing, and there is such a good atmosphere everywhere. The weather was pretty good, and I had a successful testing weekend which will have benefitted my training a lot. No posts for a while now as we’re off to Asturias for a couple of weeks, looking forward to riding in the Picos!