So the first big test arrives, a Half Ironman 70.3 race.
The week prior to the race I spent in the United States on business, luckily timings worked well as I was tapering to this race so no big volumes this week, I found a pool to swim in that wasnt full of fat Americans, the YMCA at Hackensack & it even opened at 0530 as well. $18 to swim in cool clean water in a 23 metre pool was great as the heat & humidity outside was debilitating. I arrived in NY around midnight Saturday, at 0600 Sunday morning I was out running 2 hours in 34 degrees & 130% humidity.
The heat was incredibly debilitating, thankfully Wednesdays Brick session was done in an air conditioned gym and Thursdays run was again done in 30+ degrees & 120+% humidity, hardcore!
Race day Sunday 14th July
A beautiful English summers day beckons, it's 7am I'm treading water in the Thames waiting for the off. The horn sounds and 1.9 km awaits. The washing machine is on full speed, arms crashing into other body parts, kicks in the face & head, thrashing the water to a foam, a few minutes go by & I settle into a rythm and try and draft another swimmer. The turn point comes around quickly, still a few swimmers around me at the turn, I spot swimmers ahead of me & I can see swimmers still swimming upstream 3-400 metres behind me so I'm not last. I can see the finish, I pick up the cadence & exit the water in 33 minutes. My best ever 1.9km by a long way, into transition.
On the bike and its a climb out of Marlow onto the Henley road for a 2.5 lap 56 mile bike course, only 2 hills, well 1 hill you ascend twice, its not steep just a long draggy climb for 3 miles. The roads are in shit state, potholed and rough as anything, I see lots of people punctured & a few walking bikes back to the start as they have destroyed their tubeless tyres.
Bike course uneventful for me and I complete in 2:51, into transition for the change to run.
The run course is 4 x 5 km laps, by now the temperature is into the 30s, 2 laps in and I see a lot of people suffering on the run course, also still a lot of people finishing the bike leg, even some people on TT bikes and pointy helmets, always nice to beat moneyed triathletes! Lap 4 done & into the finish chute, total time 5 hrs 10 minutes, my half marathon time was 1 hr 40 mins. Mentally I'd set a target of 6 hours, I smashed it.