• Coming 5th… So near, and yet so far…

    Nic Walton – #thetrilifereporter – Month 5

    It’s been quite an eventful month.  First of all, my travels with work have slowed so I can’t keep pedalling that excuse.  Perhaps one of the best things I’ve done since the Mallorca race was to get my swim analysed with Liz from thetrilife.  Holly came as well as she’s signed up with me to do 2 long swims this year – the Bantham swoosh and the dart 10k.  The analysis was really interesting and quite positive, but perhaps not initially… I’d never been in an ‘endless’ pool before, you swim against a jet of water, it took me a while to get used to.  The positive part is that my swimming can get a lot better, the less positive part is my technique has a long way to go!  “You’ve not got a catch and pull to your stroke Nic!”  Basically I’ve picked up bad habits, but I’m now really thinking about my stroke and each part of it.  Trouble is there is so much wrong with it!  I was also given the task to try to breath on both sides.  I only breathed to the left prior to the analysis.  It’s been like trying to relearn how to swim over the last 5 weeks!  Holly really enjoyed the analysis too and it gave her something to focus on in the build up to the Bantham swoosh.

    NW5I’ve stepped up my general training in the last 6 weeks and I’ve doing longer runs off the bike and forcing myself to go harder in both the bike and run.  Targeting various strava sections helps with the interval sessions.

    So the Bantham swoosh, I’ve only swum 6km (it says its 6km, but actually the garmin says its 500metres short of that) once before, so I was mildly apprehensive.  I didn’t tell Holly that otherwise it would have freaked her out.  She did so well in completing it, even getting a nosebleed from some @#£$ that thought he’d start in the leisurely zone and then start splashing around like jaws was after him.

    My major aim this year is the iron distance race, Elbaman.  That said I’ve done the Gauntlet event at Hever Castle for the last 2 years and I wanted to better my time this year.  I was actually 3 minutes slower in 2015 than my first attempt in 2014.  So whilst I couldn’t do the half iron distance event in September this year, as I’m doing Elba, they are running it twice this year.  The regular slot in September and a new slot in July.

    My previous best was 5hrs 35mins in 2014, as I said I was slower in 2015, but it was wetter under foot on the run….  Anyway I set my target of sub 5hrs 30mins and as I’ve read somewhere you should write these targets down I went a little better than that and gave my target as my intro or little bio when entering.  That is so they read it out if they have time… I actually heard it twice, once coming out of the swim and once on the finish chute.

    So how did it go… I took a minute off my swim, but then comparing my T1 time I lost a minute there compared to last year – all that effort on the swim lost mincing in transition!

    I also took 10 minutes off my cycle compared with last September.  What is it with my events this year, it was super cloudy and drizzling all the way through the cycle with some gusty winds in spots.  The low cloud was akin to the Mallorca 70.3 race in May, but more expected as we’re in Kent.

    In T2 two guys behind me overtook me, they skipped under the barriers as I was mincing round them.

    Finally, the run.  Which is a fairly lumpy trail circuit and one of the most enjoyable.  It was quite dry underfoot with a cooling breeze.  I also caught and passed one of those guys that’d passed me in transition (I saw him drafting on the cycle, without a penalty so he could not be allowed to beat me!).  I took 18 minutes off my run time from last September.

    All in I finished in 05.09.00.  That’s 29 minutes better than 2015, 26 minutes better than my previous best and of course I beat my objective by 21 minutes.  I’m pleased with that, but the podium was only a couple of minutes away, I came 5th.   So near yet so far, there is hard work ahead!