This weekend race day was a little different to normal… Instead of getting up early I woke up at 8am, went to the stables, took my horse out for a hack… Came home, had breakfast, had a nap. I woke up for lunch and then went back to bed to lie down for a bit. This was no ordinary race day, this was Midnight Man race day and as the title suggests racing would be taking place through the night.
I genuinely thought racing late in the day would play to my strengths. I’m not good at getting up and going in the mornings, and I hate eating early in the day, it makes me feel quite sick. So surely having a day to wake up and eat should have been a benefit? This didn’t seem to be the case, actually I didn’t really know what I should or shouldn’t do during the day, or what I should or shouldn’t eat.
3.30pm, car packed and we headed off to the event. Adam had entered the quarter distance while I had entered the half so we were both racing the same event meaning the car was pretty packed with both our bikes and all our Tri kit. The benefits of racing close to home meant we were in the event car park 20mins later. It is a small event in comparison to some triathlons, therefore registration and racking was a quick and easy process and a few minutes later we were sat on the grass with friends.
Quick race briefing at 5pm with an explanation of the course, much needed as it was a lapped course with a number of turns in all 3 disciplines. Then wetsuits on and at 6pm we were off.
The water felt really cold when I first got in, however there was plenty of acclimatisation time allowed and when the starting horn sounded I was more than ready for the swim. A bit of hustle and bustle as we headed off the start line as people converged on the race line from quite a wide start but everyone soon settled into their pace and spread out.
There were 10 water safety boats on the lake so it felt safe. First lap passed reasonably quickly but I seemed to slow down a lot on my second lap and therefore wasn’t out of the water until 49 minutes later.
Into transition, wetsuit off, helmet and shoes on and off out onto the bike. Earlier on in the week I had worried that it would be cold as we had had a few days of 13 degrees and pouring rain, but the weather had brightened up considerably so no extra layers were needed.
The bike course was described as flat and fast, and this is pretty accurate, although as its a lapped course after a few laps you become aware of every little incline and change in the road surface. The first 4-5 laps passed by quickly enough, but laps 6-8 I found a little soul destroying, it was quite lonely out on the course, it was now dark, and self motivation is not my strong point, plus I like to relax and put my pyjamas on about 9.30pm, I’m not used to cycling at this time of night so I was getting sleepy.
However a group of lovely friends were on the start/lap line shouting encouragement every time I rode by and this was hugely appreciated.
I also need to mention the highlight of my bike section was a lovely lady cycling past and shouting out ‘I love your blog’ this genuinely left a smile on my face for at least 2 laps and shows me that our amazing kit by 2XU is helping our followers to recognise us at events!
56 miles and 3hrs 11 mins later the bike was done. I have no desire to ride a circular lap of a dual carriageway again in a hurry but hats off to the organisers as a road closure of that magnitude cant be easy to arrange and it did make for a fast and safe course.
Into transition and as I put my trainers on a man held his bike light up to help me see, he had decided to stop as he was finding it difficult to motivate himself and lived very close to the event, therefore said he found it too easy to opt out. We all have these days. I sympathised with him, thanked him for the light and I was out onto the run, 4 laps of 5.25km, I jogged round my first lap, testing my legs and it didn’t feel too bad. Then disaster… (mild disaster) I needed to pee…
Now, after I have stopped or walked once I find it really difficult to get moving again… Think giant tyre, once rolling, keeps rolling or gathers momentum, once stopped, flat, heavy and difficult to get moving… Yep, that’s me. I spent my 4th -5th km debating if I could just put up with my uncomfortable bladder but that’s not a wise move, so I paused to use the portaloo.
Shortly after the loos was a water station so I took a cup of water, then tried to plod onwards, but by now my legs had realised there was an easier option – to walk, so lap 2 was a mix of walk/run, based on nothing technical, purely on how I felt. This made me a lot slower than I had intended but also meant I didn’t end up too tired (it was 11pm by this point). Lap 3 was a bit more run than walk, Lap 4 Adam met me at the drinks station and walked a little way up the road with me.
Last lap! Laps are tough and require more mental motivation than I can muster, especially in the dark with no other competitors anywhere close by.
Then it was over… 6hrs 24mins and 45 seconds later! Over 10 minutes quicker than my effort in Dubai in January, and 2hrs quicker than my plod around Staffordshire 70.3 after my operation! I am now almost 5 months post ankle operation, so I think my race on Saturday night was something to be proud of?
After my race Adam asked if I wanted a recovery shake, we had bought my usual Torq recovery with us but actually the thought of drinking it made me feel quite ill. Instead I had 2 cups of coke, a bottle of water and we stopped at McDonalds on the way home so I could get a cheeseburger happy meal…
As someone who normally avoids McDonalds I can’t quite explain why I did this but it was obviously what I wanted to eat and after over 6hrs of exercise I wasn’t going to argue myself into a healthier alternative. A little bit of what you fancy does you good, or at least makes you happy! And it was 2am!