Taunton was always going to be an odd race, mostly because I’d no idea what sort of shape I was in. The aim of the day was to put in a good solid performance after I totally imploded on the run here last year. The swim was as always a formality, 40 lengths of the 25m Wellington pool where I can normally predict my time within seconds. The run was a new (shorter) course this year with plenty of long dragging hills to work the legs, this was where I was unsure.(clubmates Steph, Steve and Damian can smile when I'm not around) We drove the 50miles to Wellington and my legs felt like lumps of jelly, the weeks increase in cycling must have been taking its toll. Once at the Leisure Centre I registered, collected my goodies and chatted with a few friends and clubmates. With plenty of time on my hands and my legs still feeling shot I decided to break with 15 years of tradition by putting my trainers on and actually going for a warm up. 10mins later I was back feeling exactly the same, ah well.
So onto the race.
We started the 40 length pool swim with 4 to a lane and setting off at 10min intervals. The expected race winner was in the lane next to me and starting 10secs ahead. My lane was as varied a lane as I’ve ever swum in, there was a one legged man wearing board shorts and there was a super serious swimmer wearing full length speedo swim leggings. Neither of those compared though to the lad who for whatever reason ended up in our lane swimming breaststroke. The start times are decided by the predicted swim times you put on the entry forms, whether this lad had put the wrong time down or taken the place of a faster swimmer I’ve no idea, but I was passing him every three lengths. He blatently shouldn’t have been there but rather than feeling angry about him getting in my way all the time I really felt for him because Mr Serious Swimmer didn’t strike me as the most considerate lane mate, he certainly wasn’t too pleased when I lapped him. Being the fastest swimmer in our lane I lost a bundle of time stuck behind people waiting for an opportunity to pass them. Swim time – 14:14, around 40secs slower than last year.
Mr Race Favourite in the lane next door had the totally opposite experience. He’s faster than me in the pool anyway but we both got smoked by the fastest girl in the water, all he had to do though was let her pass and then sit on her feet taking in the draft. They were almost 4 lengths up on me out of the water, he too was slower than last year though.
Into Transition I threw on my trainers, glass, hat and my number belt before running out of the door fastening up my Garmin. In a serious race the Garmin would have stayed at home and I’d have been a lot quicker, but there was no rush.
Almost as soon as I left the pool I clattered my left foot into a wall, it hurt a lot. My toes took a beating and I dragged my elbow along the brickwork to keep me upright, soon though the pain was forgotten and I was back concentrating on the running. The aim of the Garmin was to slow my early pace down to stop me exploding, so I kept checking it and holding the pace around 6min/mile pace. Throughout the whole run I felt solid, obviously my pace increased and decreased depending on the road gradient, there were plenty of hills. Half way through the run we hit a descent and I heard feet pounding along behind me. Somebody was obviously shifting because I was still on 6min pace, I looked over my shoulder and clocked his blue number, blue numbers meant relay teams, phew all was still good.
That was it really, the run was fine and strong although a little short (5.8miles) but I was solid all the way through and finished having averaged 6:02’s which I’m happy with considering the amount of climbing in it. I posted the fastest individual run of the day (35:05) only beaten by 2 smoking fast relay runners.
So it was a 2nd place finish overall which was nice because I didn’t really want to be lumped in that dreaded 40+ category.
The toe!!!! Ahh the toe!!! It was fine for the entire run and then as soon as I’d finished it was agony and I could hardly walk on it. There was a short visit to the medics just to check it was only bruising (and plenty of it) rather than any breakages, I was given the all clear though. Now after 3 days of rest it’s still bruised and pretty coloured but it’s getting there slowly, I don’t expect it’s going to cause any long term suffering.
Grizzly next, 10 days to get myself sorted.