Sunday, 27 May 2012

BUCS Olympic Triathlon

Today was BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) standard distance triathlon in Nottingham. The Bath Uni team of 10 athletes and 1 supporter headed up to a hotel in Loughborough the night before where we stayed the night and had a club meal out.

Andy, Alex, Jansen, Boydy, Toby, Matt, Matt, Rob, Michela & me after a hard & hot day of racing 

Race day was swelteringly hot. Probably well over 27degrees Celsius, the course was based around the county's purpose built rowing lake where there was no shade. The elite women were off at 9am, supersprint athletes at 12 and elite men at 2pm. In hindsight I was quite lucky setting off earlier in the morning, though I still finished with some superb triathlon suit tan (burn) lines.

Elite women entering the water to start the 1500m swim

The wetsuit swim was two laps of a 750m course, with a short run in between before we jumped in to start our second lap. I exited the water in 8th place and then transition led us out onto an 8lap 40km bike course. In total there were 28 elite women racing, so the course (each lap is 5km) was not too crowded. The bike leg for me was even more exciting, as The Triathlon Shop had very kindly lent me a carbon fibre Scott bike to race for the day, which was a great opportunity and a great support. As a consequence, I biked a non-draft 1hr12 for the 40km bike leg, which considering this was a training race and I had clocked up 300km of bike training that week, I was delighted with!

A hot 40km bike ride
(here is the lovely SCOTT bike loaned from THE TRIATHLON SHOP)

I wasn't the only one who suffered on the bike with hydration. Many athletes only had one bottle cage on their bike and there were no water stops allowed on the bike leg, nor were athletes allowed friends/spectators to pass them water as this would qualify as "outside assistance" which would result in DQ. This rule is understandable under many circumstances, but in these conditions, with the heat and athletes dropping out, it may have been a rule worth tweaking or reconsidering for an amateur race.

The run was no less warm, a 10km run which was two 5km laps of the lake, following the path of the bike course. 2 water stations on each lap, which was a godsend! I came of the bike in 6th place and ran down 3minutes to finish the race in 3rd place :) Strict orders from coach to take the run easy-ish, as Blenheim elite triathlon in two weeks in the main focus, and running hard would only delay recovery and training for that race. Therefore the run was taken as a tempo rather than at race pace, I was delighted therefore to put in the  fastest run split of the race.

The Bath team put in a sterling effort, many top ten finishers, pb's broken and new race distances covered. It was a really hot day for everyone, unusual conditions for Britain with only the day before the news revealing it was hotter than Lanzarote or certain areas of France! Well done Bath!

1st Loughborough, 2nd Birmingham, 3rd Bath

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bristol 10km

This Sunday was the Bristol 10km, where almost 15,000 runners gathered by @Bristol for the start at 9.30am. Perfect race conditions, dry with a cool wind. The course snaked out of the city centre along the Portway and back into the centre to finish by the Harbourside.

Bristol 10km for our family has always been a bit of a family affair, with Dad and I having run the race together (competitively!) in 2009, 10, 11 and 2012!  Below are a couple of photos for 2009 and 2010, a lack of photos for the last two years! Dad has been concentrating on his marathons for the last few years, having done 16 now in total and aims to do 20 (his next one is in Berlin!) before he settles into the shorter distances, 10km is considerably shorter for him! He clocked in 42.30 for the 10km, Matt who ran too, all be it slightly under the weather ran a great 37.27 and I finished in 38.07 (Garmin). Mum supported very well, rushing around the course to see as many of the three of us as she could in the space of 40minutes!

Dad and I Bristol 10km 2010

Dad and I at Bristol 10km 2009

Sunday, 6 May 2012

BUCS Sprint Championships or 'Cake Day'

Sunday 6th May, off to Calne in Wiltshire (all be it just down the road for the team of 20 Bath Triathletes!) for the annual BUCS Sprint race. Huge entry list this year of over 400 athletes from Universities up and down the country. Great atmosphere and the sunshine peaked out from the 2 weeks of rain especially for us.

St Mary's school hosts the event, the 25m indoor pool for a 30 length swim to make 750m, a one lap bike course of undulating 25km and a out and back 5km to finish. All in all a great little venue with everything on hand.

My own performance wasn't quite as good as had hoped (or planned!) but a cold hit me a few days before the event which as much as I tryed to ignore, annoying affected my performance like it would any other athlete. Though had a great swim swimming a new personal best for 750m, 10minutes30seconds, and finished 4th female in the run which I was delighted with. The bike course was hard, much power and strength required, and just wasn't really my day to shine. 
Nice fields of cows and horses to pass the time though ;) 

I came in to the finish line after a tough but what felt like a smashing run, to the whole team who had finished their heats earlier in the day, and some lovely birthday (29th April for those who forgot ;) ) cupcakes, make by the team.

More importantly the Bath Team put in a fantastic effort, with our top spot of the day going to Doug Hall who finished 3rd in the mens race. Everyone else thoroughly enjoyed the day, with PBs being smashed, fast bike splits and every last ounce of energy used on the run. Great work team!

Maybe the highlight of the day (look away coach) was the evening social meal, in the infamous 'Jimmy Spices', an all you can eat restaurant, notorious amongst hungry students, triathletes in particular. It was also a week after my birthday and I had a few surprises yet to come! After over 6 courses (the plates are small), I was sung 'Happy Birthday' and presented with a rather large, chocolate fudge cake.