Saturday, November 19, 2011

West Sydney Worlds & The Week Beyond

So last Sunday saw the 30th running of the West Sydney Worlds, at the comparatively new location of the Penrith Lakes. I had some fairly clear goals laid out this time round, having spent a number of years pretending the time didn't matter. All the time dragging my finishing the down with each new attempt on the current return to such events over the past five or so years.

The preparation had been adequate. With a lot more swimming than I have done since Uni, which to be fair is now long enough ago to sound a little sad when I reference it as a point of athletic performance. Cycling had been mixed with significant increases in the weekend long ride, but way to few mid week rides to add that bit extra really needed to continue improving here. Whilst running just ticks along really. Some good weeks some poor. All the time with very little change to running seed.

2011 was about clocking some times that in my mind place me back in a competitive grouping. Although not at the pointy end of it, just close enough to feel comfortable mixing my name back in the conversation really. Targets had been set with a desire to go sub 18mins for the swim, sub 50mins for the ride and sub 40mins for the run. Giving a sub 1hr 50min including transitions.

The day was perfect for solid racing with enough cloud cover to prevent temps going crazy hot. But warm enough to make getting into the water quite pleasant. A no wetsuit swim is never on my wish list but what can you do. Decided the best option was to push out past the boat and utilise the second line of lane markers. Providing clean water to swim in rather than battling the whole way for position over the 1st chain. The focus was from the outset on maintaining technique and at time I found myself quite surprisingly swimming round tiring swimmers ahead of me. On standing a glance at the watch provided evidence of my thoughts over the final few metres. A touch too easy with an 18min 12sec swim to the ramp. 12 sec's off the target but still a good 2 mins plus up on the past few years.

Transitions just happen after 20 odd years. However it was with absolute frustration that I reversed from the final meters prior to the mount line to gather the race number I had left lying on the ground at the rack. I believe the verbalisation in screaming "Beginner" at myself may have alerted a few surrounding people to my frustration with myself. The bike was bizarre really. I fluctuated from comfort to feeling like I was turning the bike inside out at times and then back to comfort all ride. Never really settling into a rhythm but never unhappy that I wasn't building power into the bike. In the end a bike computer measured 49mins ##sec ride for a 51min ##sec transition included ride put me parallel to 2010 for bike times. Satisfactory but not overwhelming.

Onto the run and I knew from the outset it would be a better run than 2010. An immediate comfort in my stride at a tempo I knew would build to discomfort over the middle third and yet allow a pickup in pace over the final kms. The feeling of satisfaction as you keep passing the faster rider/swimmer but slower runner egging me on targeting one back after another. Looking for fellow Panther Tri Club members amongst the crowd to set specific targets ahead. The first lap sat right on the verge of my target time, hitting the half way a touch under 4min km pace. However as always the back straight on the lakes for the second lap is my mental hurdle. It was here that splits began to slide a bit with km pace falling above the desired 4min pace and dragging me outside the target time. Despite a strong final 2km it was just short again with a 40min 17 sec run again being some 1min 30sec better than 2010, but again falling short of the target.

Over all. A 1hr 50min 5#sec race time for a near on 3 minute PB on this course. Thankful for the improvement but tainted slightly in the knowledge I had missed the targets across the board by such small margins. On the trip home it was suggested I don't look like Im putting in, and in reflection Im beginning to question if this is in fact the case. At the time I would swear Im pushing hard, but in reflection am I pushing hard enough? Have I learnt after 20+ years to hide from this extra level of hurt that has previously lead to vomiting post race/training session? Who knows, I guess I will find out over the next 6 months to Ironman.

The week following has not been the best in training. I pretended I would move straight back into a week of full training in planning the preseason phase. However fatigue on Monday followed by a ridiculous week at work soon instituted the flexibility clause. A couple of good runs, 1 swim (all be it filled with butterfly) and no rides till tomorrow morning hardly equates to a week to look back on with pride.

Next week however is booked in with the animal, and though he doesn't know it yet Dr Phil. As a week of no missed sessions. Canberra is now 3 weeks off and whilst it is far from a goal race for the current season, I still have redemption on my mind following a dismal performance there last year.

And so as I prepare to move into a week worth reporting, a song for Evie. Enjoy:

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