Cardiff Olympic Triathlon race report: Lyndsay Patterson
The lead up to the race, I think I seemed pretty relaxed, but I was questioning some things, such as; when should I put socks on (I never wear socks at sprints), and nutrition, Humm, how many gels should I pack and when should I take them.
I used SWYD Sprint as race prep so I doubled my gels, and hydro tabs and had the same breakfast (but added a coffee- as a 3:50 am start Sunday, it was going to be needed).
Collecting my race pack Saturday, I met up with my mate. And still seeing the venue, I was ok. I think it helped doing a bike recce a few weeks earlier and having my mate race it last year, I felt I had good knowledge what the course was like.
I still needed to pack my bag and getting home closer to late afternoon was not ideal. But I got it sorted and chilled out with an alcohol-free beer and some plain dinner for the evening.
Sunday alarm 3:50, up dressed and out the door with bag and bike in hand 30 minutes later. We arrived in good time with no stress parking at the venue. Transition was quiet and I was the first to rack in my area. The next guy showed up and put his bike the same way as mine. Then another guy on the other side did the same. So, I swapped my bike and rejigged my stuff to my annoyance. I still had lots of time, so it was ok. I met my friend and her mates and we headed down to the swim start. Craig gave me some last-minute words of encouragement walking up. I felt very calm, though one last nervous loo stop doesn't do any harm. The race was delayed by about 10-15 minutes and we hung around waiting to get in the pen. Still feeling calm and just chatting with my mate was helpful.
Now it’s my wave, it was a quick turnaround. Walked down to the dock and said to Ellie, 'is that deep enough just to jump in', yes and so I did. I did not need to dunk myself as I was fully submerged. I looked about and I was at the front- not where I wanted to be so I crawled back a little and positioned myself on the left towards the front. And we are off. It wasn't as bad as I thought being in a big group, but it was hard to sight, so I followed those in front until the first buoy was clear. I avoided thinking about being in the water and started to count 1-2 when I took a stroke to get into a rhythm. I did start out with a few head up front crawl just to get around people. I settled in the swim maybe within 200-300 m and only with a good few mouth fulls of water. Getting closer to the first buoy the next pack was on me and it got busy. I was at the corner with a few head up strokes I got round and off I went. I was prepared for the hissing sounds from the generators, which I’m glad I got a heads up about. I tried to stay on some feet but didn’t catch, though I used those in front to help sight as the buoys were on my none breathing side and I was aiming for the big building. The swim was comfortable and didn’t drag on too much. Then I made it, found the platform and that’s me out of the water, YES!!!!
Ran into transition (passed someone one along the way- I am on fire). Then I couldn’t find my bike! I did land mark it using a local sign but I guess I had my swim head on. Craig was there shouting to help me locate it, then instructions what to put on and pick up. It was a very smooth transition and off I went.
Lap 1 of the bike was under 30 minutes, wow I am flying. Did I seriously just do 13km in under 30 minutes. My legs were still adjusting to get moving but obviously what I felt and what I was actually turning out where two different things. Lap one done. Lap two, felt good, speed up when I could on the nicer parts of the course. I was passing people too which was a great feeling. On the second lap it was getting busier with the Sprint competitors, and it was hard not to draft. Third lap, I was second guessing myself and I had the bike computer on to show me the KM’s and I’m glad I did as this helped assure me, yes you have done 3 laps, yes you have flown around this bike course in under 1:30. I totally smashed that bike, I thought I would be out closer to 2 hours.
Transition, this was quick. Got my socks on and I was a good to go. It was heating up. I drank over a 750ml on the bike and took 4 gels, so I thought I will be fine. I started running but it felt more like a shuffle. But I got going. I glance at my watch every once in a while, and it ranged from 6:15 – 7:00 for a while. It seems like a long out and back but I saw people I knew along the way running so that was a good boost. I took two gels on the run (lap one and two). Took some water on lap two. Glad I did as it was heating up more. I saw Craig on lap two and he edge me on to catch the lady in front- no chance off she went. I thought it’s not far, get to the turnaround point and you will soon be running into the finish. Grabbed more water on the last leg, I was feeling the heat. I got around to the last 1km mark and Craig was running (well walking very fast) next to me and saying less than a 1km left. Giving me distractions. I said its good, I’m fine, I got this. I carried on, round the bend and there was the finish line. I said to myself on the run, you can do this in 3:15, you got this. I finished in 3:10:26!
When I signed up for this, I choose the longest time option that I thought I would complete this. Leading up to the race sub 4hr was realistic. Coming off the bike, I thought you can way better than sub 3:45. It’s amazing how you keep changing your goals when you know your race is going great. It helped edge me closer and kept me pushing myself. Having Craig there supporting me was wonderful and my sea of Pink Crappers being cheer squad was fantastic.
I just wanted to thank you coach Vicky. I got here because you are a great coach. I know you were doing what was right for me in my training and I trust you. There were days that were long, but I had a goal to complete this Olympic distance race that I signed up for in September and I smashed it. Thank you so much for all your hard work, time and patience with my long Training Peaks comments and random schedule!
Now I am looking at what Olympic I could do next. It briefly crossed my mind to step up again (I do mean briefly) but let’s do another Olympic first. I took a day off to recover and worked from home from the comfort of my sofa. I was dehydrated and it took me till Monday night to feel normal again. A lesson for me, drink more!