2017 Shepparton 70.3 - Chris Golomb @ 19 Nov 2017
After an off-season filled with PB’s in 3 regular “fun” runs that I do each year, the three Duathlon Series races and my first Olympic Distance event at Yarrawonga, I found myself in Shepparton, Saturday before the race. My first thought looking at the lake after checking the bike into transition was, “Well, at least it is nice and flat”. Quickly followed by “Geez, those turn buoys are really a long way away!”
Swim: Made the mistake of getting into the water early, which put me right at the front of the wave come start time. Well it didn’t take long after the starter’s gun to find myself at the other end of the wave. I tried to settle into a rhythm, after all those buoys were a long way away. I made it ½ way before I was caught by the first of the pink caps from the wave behind, which was better than expected. Finishing off as strong as I could (really have to get to more of Sean’s Tuesday and Thursday sessions) I exited the swim in 37 mins. This was ahead of my target time of 40-43 mins, so I went into T1 feeling good.
Bike: After taking the first few km easy to get the legs moving I, once again, settled into a rhythm. I had a target in my head of a 30kph average and, for the first lap, everything was going to plan. I was riding through 45kms in just about bang on 1:30, taking in constant fluids the whole time. Lap two however was a different story. When the wind picked up, I foolishly tried to keep up the pace. I quickly abandoned this and spun in an easier gear. As I watched my average speed drop I reminded myself that there was still 21.1kms to come. Off the bike in 3:05, a little off the target, but happy. And hot.
T2 deserves a special mention, not only did I try to exit through the wrong gate, but I was halfway out of transition before I realised I had forgotten my hat. Also it didn’t help going past Harrison at the tent drinking a beer….. One of these days I am going to get through a race without a cock up in T1 or T2.
Run: All that was going through my head was “take it easy-take it easy”. The first 5km were not too bad, a little slower than what I wanted but doable. Somewhere around the 6km mark my run came crashing down. My legs started to feel heavy and my body weak. Going past the Nuna tent on lap one and I was in my own little world of hurt. A passing Nuna offered some words of encouragement and advice on fluid consumption (drink one cup, tip the other on your head), this has me looking forward to the next aid station. By km 9 I was down to a walk to the next aid station. From there it was aid station to aid station, shuffle a bit, walk a bit. Still the support from the Nuna crew kept me going, both on course and on the sidelines. At about 12 I heard a very familiar voice behind me, I had been caught by Ange. We shuffled side by side for the next lap. Support always there, from either my side or others on course. I had dropped behind around the final aid station when I decided that if this was the only 70.3 that I was ever going to do (which, at that stage, it was) I better find some speed as we are crossing the line together. This was my slowest ½ marathon I had ever run, but was the most satisfying at the same time.
Crossing the line, I couldn’t believe that 12 months prior I was still 2 weeks away from my first Mini and now I had just completed a 70.3. The course may have got the better of me this year, but you can bet I will be back in 2018 to give it another shot. In the mean-time, let’s hope Challenge Melbourne gives us some better weather.