it doesn't take long after a (poor) race before an array of alternative realities start forming in the mind...i'm fine about my results here on saturday,but of course it could have been a different day had i executed differemntly. this gives me something positive to focus on and specifics to work towards.
so..the 'what if's :
the first tactical error of my day was getting caught at the back of the swim. better than my 'worst case scenario of swimming the whole thing on my own - but ony marginally. what happened was that i hung in with a group of 3/4 other slow swimmers - i did have to push a bit initially to keep with it, but after a short while it really settled, and felt a bit too easy. however ,by then there was no sight of anyone within reaching distance ahead. I cruised on feet to the turn about point, then decided to try to encourage a pick up in pace by moving to the front an giving a 2-300m change in pace. there was no response and i found myself either committed to pulling them back to shore, or settling in for an easy and frustrating swim home, clashing arms with legs. actually i was enjoying the swimming, sighting and being guided by paddlers working at a decent effort. however, it resulted in the slowest swim split that i've achieved here to date.
Now, looking at the swim splits for the pro ladies, there were six swims of around 1:07. another splinter group who swam a pace similar to what i had managed last year here. Sure, no tech fabric swim skins, and a much smaller draft...but still a more appropriate pace for me to swim with the benefit of feet to follow. i probably would have had to really bust a gut to get with them initially- and developing a fast start is something i'm going to have to work at.
looking at the bike splits for this bunch, aside from Tyler Stewart and Sandra Wallenhurst, which appear to have ridden off together for a 5:08, these girls did not stay connected on the bike. I'd given Karin Thuerig (4:48 - a course record?) and Helen Bij De Vaate (5:02) and two other sub 5:20 cyclists a tow. did they wait for me? did they fuck. i now understand their urgency to get through transition - it was a sprint to our bikes! I would say that my second tactical error of the day was allowing them to get away around the first loop of the course - but the fact is, i'm just not much of a cyclist to stick at their pace, so in retrospect it probably saved me a serious blow up. However there were others in the 1:07 swim pack who rode the splits that i had been targeting. Hard to compare this race year on year with the conditions being windier than i have previously experienced, but comparing my split with the rest of the field, i was further off the pace of the average of the top 30 bike splits than i had been last year. and i know that this is largely because there were no other female riders in sight to push me along. So, lets conjecture that IF i'd come out the water with this group, i'd have a better chance of company on the bike (of course i don't know how they paced it) and maybe have managed around 5:30.
i did not have any stomach issues, or die as terribly as i had last year on the run, but it was a slower marathon than my target yesterday too. i have no explanation for that. following the above scenario, i'd have been working a lot harder all day and may have run even slower. in fact , there's a chance that i would have cracked completely, but i dont much care for that idea so will exclude it from this analysis!
so...a 1:07:50 swim, 5:30:00 bike and my actual 3:26:47 run and 5min19 transitions = 10:09:56 which would have me in the top 30 and within my target time.
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