Fambridge Yacht Haven Middle Distance Triathlon & Tri London Middle Distance Club Championships


Swim – 39 mins 45 secs (current & a tad lost!)
T1 – 01 min 58 secs

Bike – 2 hrs 44 mins (fastest female bike split)

T2 – 1 min 25 secs

Run – 1 hour 37 Mins

Total: 5hrs 5 mins 

Position: 

1st Female

1st Vet

1st (but only!) Tri London Female 

2nd Overall Tri Londoner

This is a small event held on the Dengie Peninsula in Essex.  I last raced here in 2011.  Transition is set up in the Fambridge Yacht Haven Boat Yard. The swim is in the tidal River Crouch and the bike is two loops on the quiet, undulating roads of the Dengie Peninsula. The run is four laps, predominantly off road along the river bank, through some fields and back to transition at the Yacht Club.

Five of us raced from Tri London for our own Club Middle Distance Championships –  as I was the only female I didn’t have much to do other than finish to win that trophy!  Unfortunately I think the race clashed with some qualifiers for Standard Distance European Champs so the field on the whole for the race was relatively small at circa 100 triathletes.

Dengie Events are a small organisation but slick. Registration was quick and simple, volunteers and marshals were friendly and well informed and the safety crew were knowledgeable, friendly and very reassuring.  (I always make friends with the safety crew with my history of allergies! 😉)

It was a dreary start to the day with drizzle and grey skies but a promising look on the horizon.

The Swim:

It was a deep water start after entering the water on the concrete slipway so only a tiny squeal from me as my feet found the warm, slimy mud at the end of the slip.  My swim time was slow for me. Five minutes slower than a couple of weeks ago. I can only put this down to the tide and associated currents. We seemed to have a fast swim out and then a slower return. Two loops of this and it is evident from my Garmin lap times that this was the case. Of course it wasn’t helped by me swimming off towards buoy 2 instead of buoy 1 on the first lap!  I’m sure my fingers also ended up inside a jelly fish at some point but thankfully I only found one.

T1

I entered transition with a couple of the Tri London lads just ahead. I know one of them is definitely a faster swimmer than me so was pretty happy that although my time was slow I wasn’t alone! The lads headed out on their bikes before me but that was a good thing the chase was on.

The Bike

I was fairly certain that one of the Tri London lads was headed out on the bike before I got into transition and two I had seen leave. That left one. He could well be ahead but if he wasn’t I was sure he would be before too long.

I hadn’t tapered for this event and had raced a hard 70.3 a couple of weeks prior so I was pretty pleased to be maintaining a 20.5 mph average speed on the undulating and breezy course.


Two well signposted loops. The sun was out now and it became progressively warmer as we cycled.  One chap overtook me as I left transition and I overtook several more and a handful of females. I had no idea how I was placed but did my best to keep the power to the pedals and continued my hunt for the Tri London lads. I wasn’t sure I’d catch them but it was a good focus for me. Every time I saw a glimpse of someone ahead I tried my hardest to catch up and pass. Eventually with five miles to go I caught sight of the familiar blue of the Tri London kit. Whoop! I had found one and another hit on his toes too. I didn’t manage to create much of a gap but was delighted to reach T2 ahead of them.

T2

Relatively quick for me. Now time to put my non-existent run legs to the test.

The Run:

I’m battling a retrocalcaneal bursitis and Achilles tendonitis courtesy of a “Haglund’s Deformity”. You can see the excess bony growth in the picture below which has a sharp edge rubbing against the bursa.

 

As a result I need surgery but I’m trying to muddle through until the end of the season.   I’m doing very little run training as a result and the little I do is 9:1 mins run/walk circa once a week for less than an hour. In spite of this so far I have managed to run reasonably respectably in races.  Dropping some weight has definitely helped my run times too.


With only one aid station on each lap I didn’t get many walking breaks. The off road run on uneven terrain was also difficult for my right foot. I’ve managed to adapt my gait pretty well to keep the stress through my Achilles down by planting my foot down and lifting it back up without powering through the forefoot. I maintained a steady pace, power-walking up a short hill on each lap to avoid over stressing my foot and also for a bit of a chance for it to off -load. I also walked the only aid station back at the start and finish. Unfortunately the bin was placed a bit close to the aid station itself so I frequently had to stop. It was seriously warm on the run and trying to maintain fluid levels was more important to me than my speed.

I had no idea of my position in the race but shortly after leaving the Yacht Club for my final lap I heard the commentator mention a female also on her last lap. That definitely spurred me on and I spent the entire lap looking over my shoulder for her determined to try and avoid her passing me. Fortunately she wasn’t gaining on me.  As an added bonus I found a Tri London lad melting in the heat during the last kilometre of the run. After a brief chat my legs picked up the pace to head to the finish. 

I crossed the finish line to learn that I was the first female and the first female vet! Wow! I had just won a triathlon. I know it was a small field but I’m still chuffed given that I thought I wouldn’t even be running at all this year!  Not only that only one of the Tri London lads was ahead of me – happy days!


Thanks Tri London lads for your fab company and helping me keep my focus for the race.

As ever huge thanks to Giant Radlett & Cadence Performance.  Along with my pride and joy – my trusted Liv Trinity W time trial bike the new race kit clearly helped! Can’t thank these guys enough for their ongoing support and maintenance of all things bike.

Thanks also to Simon Costain at The Gait and Posture Centre for keeping me on my feet during challenging times. Gareth Ziyambi is also a miracle man keeping on top of the aches, pains and strains with minimal input. Particularly with a recent troublesome ‘mouseitis’ that was giving me awful pain and discomfort in my arm and shoulder. 

@MattLovell holds all the secrets to helping me on my way to racing weight. All it takes is a little willpower but that’s easy when you can see the results!

All in all everything seemed to come together on the day. Long may that last. Looks like I might enter The British Middle Distance Championships after all!

I really like this event and hope to not leave it another 6 years before I’m back!

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