Oxford Tri News 3 May
Open Water and Pre Blenheim Swims
The first of our pre Blenheim open water sessions starts tomorrow, to allow these sessions to go ahead our club swim during May is at the earlier time of 7.00am. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered to help out already at these sessions.There are still places available for these sessions so please spread the word. You can find more details and book here.
PedalSure Blenheim Entries
PedalSure, as one of the main sponsors of this year's race, have kindly offered us some complimentary entries to the Bloodwise Blenheim Palace Triathlon, which this year it falls on the weekend of Saturday 1st June and Sunday 2nd June. As a thank you for volunteering the names of all pre Blenheim swim volunteers will go into a draw for these places. To be eligible for to be included you will need to be signed up by Sunday evening as I need to submit the names of winners first thing next week.
PedalSure will also offer a 15% discount to club members.
Our BaRRT (Bike and Run Time Trial) will be returning on Tuesday, as the first of the season this will also be followed by a social - we are still awaiting confirmation of details but will let you know ASAP.
If you are new to the club, BARTTs are a series of fortnightly evening run–bike-run events throughout the summer. These are based by Oxsrad and are timed so that you can track your progress throughout the season. They are great race-pace training and also give you plenty of opportunities to practice your bike-to-run transition. We also run a little season championship with your best five results counting. There is also a final handicap event at the end of the season. You can find further details.here.
This year we will only be running a standard distance race of approximately a 1 mile run, 13 mile bike and 2 mile run (1 lap, 2 lap, 2 lap), if you do want to come along and do the shorter distance you are still welcome but this won't be counted in the results or qualify for inclusion in the end of season handicap race. To qualify to be included in these you will also need to have volunteered once and taken part in at least two events.
Doug is running a couple of transition workshops over the next few weeks. They'll be at 7pm at Oxsrad on Tuesdays 14th and 28th of May.
Broadly, the first will be around what to expect in transition, what you need, how to be quick and effective and some skills work like running with the bike. The second one will expand on that and also look at mounting and dismounting the bike (flying mounts optional!). Both sessions will be very much hands on, with lots of practice and maybe some fun competitive elements!
He'd like to tailor the sessions more to what people want so please feel free to let him know if you're planning on going and there's something in particular you'd like him to cover.
This week we have a race report from London Marathon from Lucy Dighton, winner of the Oxford Tri EA slot.
So it’s fair to say I was in two minds about entering the club ballot for a London place, but I had heard so many amazing things about what an experience it was I decided I would go for it (in the knowledge that I was unlikely to get a place!).
Neil had read the newsletter before I got home and so sneakily videoed me as I read it and found out I was the lucky one who got the place. It’s not PG rated due to bad language. Once it sunk in I was at least as excited as I was terrified. At that point I had never run more than 10k. I started my training pretty much straight away - trying to stick to the 10 per cent per week increase rule. I used the ASICS marathon training plan although I was only doing three runs a week rather than the four on the plan. Even doing that meant precious little time on the bike or swimming.
I managed to stick to the plan up until the beginning of March when it all went wrong after the last XC league race at Henley. It was a fun race but a tough course with lots of mud and cambers. I was stiff afterwards but didn’t really worry about it until four or five days later when the pain in my left foot was still pretty excruciating.
A test run of half a mile confirmed that I definitely couldn’t run on it and I joined the almost 50 per cent of those training for London who get an injury during training. The timing was not ideal to say the least with my runs supposed to be building from 16 miles (which I had already completed) to 20 miles during March, as well as my first ever half marathon race. I knew if I wanted to be in with a chance of running at London that I had to get on and do something about it and was lucky to get a cancellation appointment at a local physio practice.
The physio diagnosed I had been overusing the muscular chain down the front of my leg and the tightness in my calves had put too much strain on the fascia in my foot which was full of micro tears. During March I was supposed to run about 150 miles on my plan. I managed five. I did what I was told and rested the foot and religiously followed the strength and conditioning regime prescribed by my physio, as well as physio appointments and massages. After the first week or so I was also cleared to cycle so did as many long rides as I could to keep the cardio fitness up.
At the beginning of April it was time to start running again. My first run was 5 miles and a week later I managed a painful and lonely 15 miles. After that I knew trying to build the distance any further before London would be counter-productive and could mean I couldn’t do it at all. At that point I was really in two minds about whether I should try to defer. I had done just about enough for it not to be crazy to run but I knew my target time was out of the window. Having committed to it and put so much into it I really wanted to do it, so heart beat head and I decided to go for it.
Registration at the expo on the Thursday before the race and it was my first taste of the excitement and atmosphere that surrounds the whole experience. At that point the pre-race nerves kicked in - too soon really as I didn’t sleep well the last few nights.
On to to race day itself. Marathons have the advantage that they don’t start as stupidly early as triathlons so we traveled up to London on the 6am Oxford Tube. After a very smooth transfer by overground train and a nice conversation with the random bloke next to me, I arrived at the blue start on Blackheath at about 8.30am. I was far too early and not wearing enough for the biting cold wind that was blowing across the heath. I sat down to wait and got chatting to another nice random runner who lent me a towel to put over my legs and keep me warm. Two hours was a lot of time to kill especially given the level of nervous anticipation! It went surprisingly quickly once I had queued for the loo a couple of times and dropped my bag off at the baggage truck. Then it was into the start pens and more waiting in the chilly wind until finally we inched towards the line and I finally crossed it next to someone dressed as Wonder Woman.
The first eight or so miles went through suburban London and there was a good level of support which meant that the miles seemed to fly past pretty effortlessly. We merged with the other starts and it got busy, but everyone was so upbeat. All the bands along the way were fantastic and I enjoyed seeing all the signs that the spectators had made. Any lull in my energy and I went to run next to the crowd and high fived any small child holding out their hand. It’s surprising what that little bit of human contact can do for your mood. I managed not too go off too fast, but it was hard with the atmosphere making it all feel pretty effortless.
Running past the Cutty Sark was beautiful. Reality started to kick in at 10/11 miles but I knew Tower Bridge and my first chance to see Neil and the kids was only a couple of miles away so I was still feeling good. Coming over Tower Bridge was amazing and my favourite part of the race (apart from the finish). I kept a good look out for Neil and the kids (and they were doing the same) but when I got to 14 miles it was pretty clear I had missed them. Having watched other runners greeting and hugging loved ones I had really been looking forward to seeing them and it was quite a low point to realise I had missed them just at the point where things were starting to feel hard, but the only thing to do was to carry on and hopefully see them somewhere around mile 22/23. Fortunately I did manage to see my parents at about mile 15 and gave them a quick hug while stretching out my foot which was starting to feel quite sore. That gave me enough of a lift to carry on into Canary Wharf/Docklands.
The crowds get more spread out at this point and the mile markers suddenly start to feel like they are getting further apart (this feeling continued until the end of the race). The GPS on my watch struggled to cope with the tall buildings and it told me I ran a couple of seven-minute miles. This was really annoying as the total distance on my watch was out by about 1.4 miles after Canary Wharf and I kept getting a nasty surprise when I got to the mile markers. Up until this point I had been following my nutrition strategy of one gel every three miles plus drinking to thirst (and being v careful about over drinking). I had done the same on all my long runs, but at about 18/19 miles when it was time for my next gel I was starting to feel quite sick and knew I couldn’t stomach it. I don’t know if it was just the cumulative amount of carbs or just my digestion shutting down as the running got really hard, but that was it for carbs for the rest of the race.
Miles 19 to 23 were tough and I went into a bit of a daze of pain. I don’t remember a distinct hitting the wall instance, just that it was really tough and everything hurt. I had to start interspersing the occasional period of walking but it was a bit of a nasty shock to find walking was at least as painful as running. Just after mile 23 I finally saw Neil and the kids and stopped for a minute to hug them all and have another quick stretch. Carrying on again was tough. Soon after this the injury in my foot which had been niggling all day got really bad. But with just over two miles to go there was no way I was not going to finish! I was worried about what long term damage I could be doing and walked for a longer stretch to try and keep the stress on it to a minimum. When thinking about the race beforehand I had thought that by 24 miles it would start to feel like the home stretch and I would get a boost from that. In reality it felt like I still had a long way to go. Eventually I made it to the 1km mark and decided foot or not I would run the last km. It was definitely the longest km of my life but soon enough I was rounding the corner and coming down the finishing stretch on the mall. I crossed the finish line in a happy daze of relief at 5:49:57 and amazement and couldn’t stop smiling as I collected my medal. I managed to keep moving and eat some crisps from my finishers’ bag which settled my stomach a bit. I would be lying if I said I was completely happy with my time, but after the injury I was just so happy to finish and to run nearly all the way. Given that when I started couch to 5km less than two years ago, running for a minute at a time seemed like a pretty big challenge, I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that I finished a marathon. I definitely have no regrets and it was an amazing experience from start to finish (admittedly with some low points) and I will definitely be back one day to improve on my time - I already entered the ballot for again for next year. If you can fit the training into your life, it’s such an amazing thing to be part of that I would recommend it to anyone!
We would like to make this section as interactive as possible so please send any questions to us about anything triathlon related we would be happy to answer them (or if we can’t answer we will find someone more qualified!) Sarah and Dan
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