Cotswold Classic race review

It’s official, I’m a triathlete! Cotswold Classic middle distance triathlon – done. Another bucket list race ticked off, although as ever when you complete a challenge you’ve been building towards for a while it feels a little anti climatic. I probably spent more time getting my kit prepped for the race than actually doing the race, not to mention the many many hours of training. However (and I’ll whisper this quietly) despite saying after the race I’m not doing another one again I think I might add this race to my calendar for next year also.

I thought just doing the race would scratch the triathlon itch, but having done it I think I have a real chance to go quicker by making a few simple changes. I generally come away from races happy that I’ve done the best I can but this time it’s really nagging at me to have another crack. My plan was to try to improve my marathon time next year so we’ll have to see how it fits in.

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Cotswold Classic race preview

It’s the final countdown… (and yes I did sing that out loud as I wrote it) race day is Sunday, the Cotswold Classic is here, ¬†and I’m in that wonderful period pre race where I want to eat the whole contents of my fridge and am convinced that I have definitely not done enough training. The final week before a race is always a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions isn’t it? I was getting a bit of pain in my left leg yesterday and so of course starting imaging not being able to start the race let alone finish it, but a quick foam roller session seems to have sorted that out.

Realistically I’ve done as much training as I could have done with the time available, sure I missed a session here and there but I largely stuck to my plan. I’d have loved to get some more cycling in but family and work commitments made that hard. I’m sure with 6 months perfect training I could be faster but few people have that luxury. I’m happy with what I’ve achieved in training especially considering when I started way back in January I hadn’t ridden my bike for over a year and I can’t remember the last time I actually swam. […]

Who needs a race?

Completing any endurance challenge is as much about being strong in the mind as strong in the body. You have to go into the race with the mind set that you can do it, you can complete the challenge. Even if that requires you to lie to yourself a little about the reality of how prepared you are or even how capable you are. All through training for this triathlon I’ve been telling myself that it’s ok that my first triathlon will be a half ironman, that I’ve done plenty of big challenges now so my body knows how to get through it.

But I’ll be honest Mr ‘I’ve done 2 ultra marathons so a triathlon will be easy’ freaked out and panicked. Often happens as you approach the end of a training plan but still not something to ignore a month out from race day. Which is how I ended up standing next to the lake last week with my brother and 2 of his mates ready to do our own Olympic distance triathlon.

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What lies beneath

On the long and bumpy journey towards being a triathlete I have officially passed a major milestone; my first open water swim. Incidentally I did consider calling this post Free Willy, making a somewhat tenuous connection between me swimming free and the movie where the whale famously was set free, but decided that might give the impression I’d joined a naturist open water swimming club. Let’s be honest the lake is cold enough without exposing that part of your anatomy to it also.

But discussions about willy’s aside I have to say open water swimming is bloody awesome. I’ve always loved being around water, I think it’s where I’m most at peace and I spent a good chunk of my teenage years fishing on various lakes and rivers. I hoped it would feel like trail running does; free and natural which is why I run on trails and not roads, but I was a little nervous that I would hate it and it would put a big dent into my triathlon aspirations.

We got down to the lake at 6.30am, the sun was just coming up and it was peaceful apart from the other 6 swimmers who were already out splashing around the lake. Wetsuits and swimming hats were pulled on (it’s really not a glamorous sport is it?!) and we gingerly waded out into the lake. It was cold enough to take your breath away a little and make your face ache for the first few minutes but actually once you’re moving it was fine.

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