Outlaw Half 2019

I won’t drag this one out too long but will set the scene first as I’ve not written in a while.

After the Cotswold 113 last year I ended up with Grade 3 subluxation of the AC joint. Confirmed with and MRI and treated with several sessions of physio. I couldn’t really train going into LCW and there was no way I was managing the swim so I ended up doing the bike and run. Should never have taken the TT bike and really struggled- I should blog about that day as so much happened – but the run went OK-ish and was enjoyable enough as I took it relatively easy.

I managed my sub 3 target in the Cotswold Classic relay although couldn’t really ride aero so once that was done I settled on a block of running going into Cardiff Half Marathon. I’d targeted going sub 2 hours and ran a really well paced negative split.

From there things went downhill. I needed a toenail avulsion operation which put me out for a couple of months and then I probably started back too hard and too fast. Several parkruns around the Christmas and new year period and I started to notice a calf/Achilles problem in my right leg. So I’d rest it for a bit and then try again but it wasn’t getting any better. Shockwave therapy had been recommended to me so I gave that a go and it made a world of difference. I was by no means 100% but I could at least train a bit.

However, I approached Outlaw Half with very little training in the bank – no swim in 49 weeks, 2 outdoor rides with the longest being half race distance and a handful of runs but the most being 8 km. Even by my standards I was undercooked. I did however resolve that it was very much a B race, and if I did the swim and bike and then pulled the pin it was a good training day.

We camped in the campsite opposite which made the logistics very easy. I’d recommend it greatly for anyone doing Outlaw events in Nottingham. Kathryn did the Nottingham Sprint Tri on the Saturday and did brilliantly given her worries about the swim section and riding with “proper pedals”.

I was in wave 4 on the Sunday and set off at what felt like my usual steady pace. Problem was it was “too steady” – I hit the half way point and checked my watch and realised I was on course to miss the cut-off. I used to stress about that but hadn’t considered it an issue this time – being more worried about the lack of bike miles and inability to run properly. It meant I burnt a few too many matches on the return leg of the swim and still only made it with 90 seconds to spare. I should say they let plenty through after the 70 minutes but I wouldn’t have felt it right had I missed the published cut off so I was glad I made it properly.

I started the bike and just had real trouble getting up to speed – there weren’t many people from waves 5 and 6 who hadn’t already passed me and I was passed by a few in the first couple of miles.

After that I was passing someone every couple miles but the course just seemed to go on and on. By 40km I’d actually had enough and almost called it a day. I kept going but the average speed just kept going down and I was freewheeling as much as I was riding. In the last 15km so many of the riders I’d overtaken came past me and I was feeling pretty fed up about it all to be honest.

T2 eventually came, proving to me at least that I wasn’t actually in purgatory, and I headed out on the run. I felt good and ran well….. for about 10 minutes. Then my left calf – not the supposed injured one just gave up on me. So I’d run a bit and walk a bit but I couldn’t keep going at even a very slow run for more than a couple of minutes. At the half way point I took the decision to walk around the lake and had a nice chat for the duration with someone from Tenby so we discussed all aspects of triathlon in Wales and Tenby etc. It took my mind off and as she kept running the whole time it was nice to be able to walk at a fast pace while chatting with someone. For the second lap I was able to run walk again a bit more and for the final lap of the lake I made the effort to use the distance boards to help – I’d run to a 500m board, walk for 20 seconds and then run to the next 500m and repeat. The finish eventually came and I crossed the line in something like 7h45.

Job done but no real sense of achievement given. Not much more to say.

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