Race Update – The Vitruvian, British Middle Distance Championships

Ali Rainey – The Vitruvian

I was really looking forward to this race and a bit nervous …my first middle distance event. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the step up in distance. I’d originally been aiming for Edinburgh 70.3, but had to pull out, so I was glad when Jen suggested a group of us should go down to do vitruvian.

I was very relieved Jen & jacqui agreed to put up with my chat for the 6-7h drive down, it would have been a long journey solo. Highlight of the trip down was seeing jacqui’s face when we realised I had accidentally booked us a double room rather than twin ? (sorry jacqui!)

Bike racking /registration was the night before the race. Got a wee look around the very complicated looking transition area (separate boy & girls), had to run up a hill through the guys lovely tarmac area onto a muddy bit of grass where girls transition was. Decided this was deliberate, because girls are tougher than guys ?

Race briefing was 6am, so up early & pitch black. Thought we had a lot of time, but discovered a huge queue of cars getting into the only car park entrance. Time for warm up and the obligatory 3 portaloo trips was gone once transition was set up. Our wave start time was “sunrise”…very pretty…but made for difficulty sighting! After rushing to briefing, got quick dip in the water …17C, tropical! We were told there was a highly contagious shrimp infestation in the water, but I didn’t care, it was warm! Had my first buoy & route planned when the race director informed us it was a run in beach start. Eek, hadn’t planned for this, but the race started shortly after and I had no time to work out where to place myself. Picked a bad spot in front of a pack of wild animals (middle aged men). Got a bit of a mauling & inhaled some of the shrimp water. Still not good with mass starts and ended up finding myself right near the back of the pack fighting to get through for the first 950m. Had to get out the water onto beach/ scramble over bodies then get back in to start lap two, so two mass starts for the price of one.

Glad to get the swim done, although i had in my head not to look at my swim time coming out, I did…5 min slower than I was hoping for. Yikes. Well I decided I would make it up on the run and bike. Fairly smooth T1 I thought, then I was stopped at bike mount line to be informed i had no race number on! Tried to bargain with the BTF official for a while to let me go…she wasn’t up for it, ran back to T1, searched through my stuff, found number scrunched up in leg of wet suit! …decided I was very warm by then, so didn’t need any extra layers (7am, 10C..oops) back to bike mount line, and off I went. Took me a good ten min or so to get my head out of the bad start. Got into a rhythm and realised it was a very nice, but very very cold morning! Got up to my bike power and started to pick of girls, this gradually improved my mood and distracted me from hypothermia. The bike course was lovely but trickier than I expected, two loops which involved going back through the transition area and a couple of fairly punchy hills. The second lap was busy with cars / traffic and a few angry drivers (did my first emergency stop on a TT bike!) but definitely made progress and felt good. Got into T2 and saw not too many bikes racked, phew!

Onto the run, this was a big unknown in terms of how I’d be feeling by now. The run route was 2 X out and back along the side of the lake, this was good as it allowed me to see who was in front & able to be chased down. The first km or so was over a bumpy bit of grass, then onto a fairly smooth path with only one hill. It was sunny but very windy, so had to revise my pacing plan. Run felt great, so glad to be warm finally & really enjoyed it. Was feeling good until 16k, a few threats of cramp made me slow a bit, tried a gel, thought I might be sick, haven’t been able to master eating / running yet! Decided to ignore sore legs and push on until the finish, luckily they behaved and let me cross the finish line!

My goal and the start was to race well, enjoy it and finish, which I think I did after a ropey start. Finished 8th overall and 3rd in age group, much more than I had been hoping for. Had a really great time & enjoyed the race a lot. I would recommend vitruvian, its a big and busy event, but it was friendly, well organised and they gave out wine with the medals and (alcohol free) beer!

Thanks to all at fusion for making training so much fun, to Natalie for dragging me through some hard run sets in the lead up and to John for brilliant coaching, encouragement and getting me to have a bit more confidence racing. Itching to do another one now!
posted by Ali Rainey on