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This was the 'big one' that I've been training for the last several months for. Pretty nervous the morning of the event (our wave didnt go until 1:15pm). Had brekky as normal, and then some beans on toast about 9am? We got there around 10:30 I think, pleny of time, but still ended up feeling a little rushed as we got our wetsuits on ready for the start. I had a gel about 20-30 minutes before the swim started.

Swim

Jumped staight into the water and it was fine, not cold, no sharp breathing. Fresh water, green but could see my feet. I swam over to between the buoys marking the start line, and looked over to what I thought was the turn marker. A bit of a chat with fellow swimmers and we realised that was barely halfway, there was a further marker buoy barely visible to me a long way away. We treaded water for several minutes (maybe up to 10?) but there wasn't any crowding,  I had plenty of room al around and the kayakers prevented anyone from getting a head start. The announcer started saying something I couldnt quite hear (two swim caps on (one for the gps watch, then the official green one on top) but I finally heard go.

I started the 310xt and set off, virtually on the start line. Within seconds it was mayhem, arms and legs from swimmers all around. I couldn't swim properly without hitting someone with my arms, and every time I breathed there were arms very close or even hitting me. Several times I had to do breaststroke just to get some room, it seemed like people were coming in from all angles, and some were slowing down in front and holding mer and others up, who then tried to get around them and caused even more issues.  I swalloed several mouthfuls of water during the swim, but it tasted fine.

I veered off to the left hoping there might be some room there, but for virtually the whole of the first leg to the bouy there was a real danger of being hit hard by someone. After going around the second buoy I again veered quite far left and finally had some clear water, but my breathing was a mess by now. I focused on breathing out fully underwater and tried to slow my stroke rate. As I got close to where we'd jumped in I expected the swimmers in front to start veering right, but they kept going straight. I eventually saw another marker bouy a considerable way past where we'd jumped in. I was pretty fed up of the seim by now and plodded on, just wanting to get out.

I rounded the last buoy and followed the orange marker line all the way back to the exit. I got up onto the platform fine, someone unzipped me and I was off. My legs were fine straight out of the water, perhaps because I hadn't been swimming at 100%? My overall measured pace was about 1:45 min/100m, which is easilt 7 or 8 seconds off recent pace - dissappointing.

The gps watch in my swimcap measured it as 1593 meters, and it certainly felt long.

T1

I had my arms out of the wetsuit by the time I turned the corner, and saw a load of plastic bags but no clear indicator of what to do... I took a bag but followed behind someone who still had their wetsuit on, until we came to the water cup table. I decided to stop there, had a quick swig of water and then took my wetsuit off - not very quickly. I shoved it into the bag along with my goggles, swim caps and watch (which I did stop recording) and then carried the bag in both arms as I ran into the building and up a flight of steps.

In the building there was a long run around the outside (we'd scoped this out and I was ready for it) and I found my bike row easily, but did lose a few seconds while I jogged slowly down the aisle looking for my bike - I didnt want to run past it. I found the bike, dropped the bag, pulled shoes on, glasses on, helmet on, unracked the bike and jogged over to the start line. No problems, just not especially quick. 

I ate a gel as I ran to the mount line.

Bike

I completely messed up the mount - I just couldn't get clipped in with my first foot. I must have wasted 20-30 seconds just getting started - though that may have let my hr drop a bit and generally calm down, but its still annoying. Going down the ramp into the dark was a bit unnerving, but after that it was full speed ahead. I worked hard the whole 1 hour and 1 minute it took, rarely letting off the pace but had to occasionally as there were so many riders out going at various speeds there were the odd traffic jams through the tighter sections.

My gears were playing up a bit but luckily didnt need them much, just when exitting the tunnel and then up the final ramp. Very happy with my time, but would dearly love to know the actual distance - the gps failed inside the tunnels, and my speed kept ressetting itself as I'd put it between the aero bars and the buttons got pushed against the water bottle.

I drank maybe a litre of water (had to refill the aero bar bottle), and ate a gel a few miles in, and another about half way round.

T2

Can't remember much now. There were very few bikes back on their racks when I got there. No issues, and I quickly got out on the run.

Run

The start was a ramp down to ground level so my feet slapped down that, for all 3 laps. My initial pace was sub 7, but each mile had some time inside the Excel bulding so I couldn't trust the pace the watch showed me. I felt good though, much much better than Bedford rti 3 weeks ago. I kept a keen eye out for Ste but didn't see him until I was into the last mile - I knew I'd beaten him then! In the end it didnt feel like 10k long, but I was glad when it was over. The ball of my left foot began to hurt quite a lot near the end, but hasnt hurt since. I even managed to 'sprint' across the finish line.

I carried a gel with me for nearly the whole run, taking the odd little bit every mile or so - couldn't take big gulps (or drink the water from the water stops) as I was breathing too hard!

Very happy with 2:17:?? time, but do suspect the bike and run were a little short, but then the swim was a litlle long, and the transitions were very long.

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