Tag Archives: Smashfest Queen

LCW Jervis Bay

I’ve been AWOL, posting mainly over on Instagram.

Some time ago, I wrote (here) that I had signed up for the first Long Course Weekend race to be held outside of Wales. Well, I raced it this weekend but in a slightly different format to what I originally signed up for.

The beauty of this race format was that you could mix and match your distances and events. You could do a short swim, no ride, long run or medium distances for all, or just one event.

All the swims were on Friday, the rides on Saturday and the runs on Sunday.

Of the 89 starters who had entered the actual “Long Course Weekend” event (3.8km swim, 180km ride, 42km run) there were 60 finishers who received the spectacular fourth medal.

After changing my mind repeatedly over several months, I eventually swapped the 180km ride for a 20km one. There were a number of contributing factors. I didn’t earn the fourth medal but I still completed my longest ever open water swim and my first (and at this stage probably last) marathon.

I really wanted to do a clever race report like this one written by a lady I know but I can’t think of a way to do it without blatantly copying, so we’re all stuck with my wordy style. For now.

 

Friday 27th October 2017: 3.8km swim

The swim was a four lap triangular course with a short run walk at the shore between each lap. They even had water there in case we wanted a quick drink – how considerate.

Swim

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I find it difficult to explain but I often enjoy the sense of accomplishment after a race more than I enjoy the experience of the race. It took 7 hours for that sense of accomplishment to hit after this particular swim. It must have taken a lot out of me! Until then, I was thinking I should have done the 750m distance because I would have got the same medal. It wasn’t even a bad swim. It was just long. I think in running and cycling, I am one of those possibly annoying people who makes a random comment as I go past (or am passed). It breaks up the monotony. You can’t do that in a swim though. This was 4000m of swimming and no talking, smiling, or joking.

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Worst bit:
100m of stair climbing to get to the finish line from the shore. You know the ones… too big to take one step at a time but not quite big enough for two steps on each. And too high for short legs like mine.

Weirdest bit:
Not pulling the goggles off as I exited the water each time!

Bonus bit:
There were dolphins swimming in the bay just before we started!

Best bit:
My pace was fairly consistent over all four laps – nailed my first 3.8m open water swim.

 

Saturday 28th October 2017: 20km ride

I chose the 20km bike option because it was the only one that didn’t go down and up a long, steep, windy section of road. It was still far from flat.

Bike

I almost managed to hit a 23km/h average speed despite having ridden only once in the two months before race day.

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Worst bit:
I spent a lot of money on a new bike, new gadgets and new kit trying to gain every advantage to meet the 180km 8 hour cut-off, then opted for a 20km race instead (and they also changed the cut-off to 9 hours). Oh well, it was a good excuse to upgrade and I’ll still get a lot of use from them so no harm done.

Weirdest bit:
Riding OVER the finish line instead of dismounting before the line to avoid a penalty!

Best bit:
Second in age category! But no prizes for that in this race. =(

 

Sunday 29th October 2017: 42km run

I’m awfully glad I didn’t ride 180km the day before. I don’t know how the amazing LCW athletes did it. It was a hot day, getting up to about 30°C I’ve been told.

My goal finish time was 5 hours, 30 minutes. I felt like it was doable for about the first 10km. After that things went a little pear-shaped but the 6 hour cut-off was still in reach.

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The course was four laps again. And I was left behind by the pack and only ahead of a walker by the end of the 1st kilometre. I was glad I had done most of my run training on my own or this run could have been torturous. I barely saw another person other than the wonderful aid station volunteers until the lead runners came back towards me after the first turn around.

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In the first km – already no other runners in sight. Beautiful scenery though!

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In the end, they extended the cut-off and allowed me to finish in 6:05.

In the days leading up to the race, I had debated whether I should drop to a smaller distance and do my first marathon at a bigger event. Part of me wishes I had. If I’d run this time at Sydney, Gold Coast or Melbourne, I would have been ahead of 100s or even 1000s of other runners looking at this year’s results rather than being accompanied by the tail bike rider for the final 7km.

However, at those bigger races, it would have been harder for my friends and husband to see and encourage me along the way, so that was a pretty good trade-off for it being a smaller race (114 finishers). I wouldn’t have had as many photos to break up this essay either and the multiple out and back laps meant I could high five and greet the other runners I knew.

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Feeling the heat but plodding away

Looking at my pace throughout the race reinforces what they say. My need to walk was all mostly in my head. I had walked A LOT in the few kilometres prior to dropping into last place. However, once the cyclist was alongside me and chatting (and radioing updates back to base about where I was at… passed final turn around, passed last aid station, second aid station, first aid station, in the final km…) I barely walked at all except to grab drinks!

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Everyone who completed a swim, ride or run, regardless of the distance, was presented with the same medal so I could have swum 750m and run 5km and ended up with the same collection. However, I wouldn’t have had a race bib with my name and the word marathon on it. And I do know it’s not really about the medals.

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Worst bit:
My garmin registered 41.97km so neither garmin nor strava have recorded a marathon against my profile. Boohoo.

Weirdest bit:
I’m almost tempted to do another just so I can get a medal that actually says Marathon.

Bonus bit:
Running through the main turn around point near the finish line just behind the lead male runner. I’m sure many of the spectators thought I was the lead female. Little did they know I’d just completed my first lap and he’d done two! Oh well, I soaked it up for a little while.

Best bit:
It was pretty awesome being the final marathon finisher of the first LCW held outside of Wales. There was a lot of crowd support because they’d been announcing my progress over the loudspeaker to fill in time waiting for the remaining few finishers before they started the presentations.

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I’m a marathoner! I can still hardly believe it.

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The race bling was worth it!

 

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And yet there is still a tiny part of me that wants to have a crack at the whole thing next year.

 

Help please:

On another note, I need to find something better to do with my hair when I’m on a long run. Any suggestions? I had it in a plait from a pony tail but I wasted too much energy trying to get those straggly non-fringe front bits at the front off my forehead and back up under the cap. Not to mention swatting flies!

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With the 113th finisher – we played a bit of leapfrog early on but she won the head game first
on the day. It was Jane’s 15th marathon but she was injured.

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Strava made me do it

Two days and two posts! I should probably schedule this to post later to give you a break but this is my year of doing whatever whenever, so here it is.

My local triathlon club held a duathlon recently which was nice for something a bit different (1km run/6km ride/1km run/6km ride/1km run). I ran with another lady who is recovering from an injury which puts her at my pace (except it was pushing me hard). She would leave me behind on the bike then wait for me in transition for the run. She said she wanted to stick with me because I keep a consistent pace and she wouldn’t overdo it if she stayed with me. It was nice to have a bit of a social “race” and someone to chat with along the way.

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After the race, as we were all packing up, I noticed a bike for sale on the roof of someone’s car. A nice bike. A small bike. A looks-like-a-real-cyclist bike. A probably-waaaaaay-out-of-my-price-range-but-I-really-really-like-it bike.

I took it for a quick spin around the carpark wearing sneakers and with the bike still set up for the previous owner. Oh my! It was so comfortable. I didn’t realise how uncomfortable I was on my bike until I sat on that one. I have assumed that is just how cycling is. Uncomfortable. Riding around the carpark I barely had any pressure through my wrists and palms. I’ve had two bike fits done in the past and each one has made me more comfortable than before but this? This was like putting your ugg boots and pyjamas on at the end of a winter day and snuggling up with a doona, a hot milo and a good book or movie. Seriously.

I took the seller’s phone number “just in case”. That afternoon, after a bit of persuasion discussion with hubby, I phoned the seller and arranged to borrow the bike for a week so I could take it for a longer ride and see if it still felt good. Who would want to buy a bike based on a short ride only to find out on the first long ride that it’s not really as nice as it seemed. He was kind and clever enough to put my pedals on it too. (The bike belonged to his son, which is why it’s small enough for me.)

Here are a couple of still shots from video my husband recorded for me to send to my coach for some feedback on whether it looked like a good fit. To be honest, I was going to make my decision based on feel not looks!

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It’s a shame my favourite Smashfest Queen tri kit doesn’t match the bike!
Guess I’ll have to buy a new kit.

On Saturday morning I dropped in to the local bike shop with the love-at-first-sight-dream-bike to ask if it needed any work done to it. I’d be horrified to part with a significant amount of money only to find that I need to spend several hundred more dollars getting it repaired, and I have no idea about such things. That’s why we have bike shops and bike mechanics. I’ll do my part to keep a local business going! The verdict: A new chain and new tyres and I would be good to go, but okay for me to do a 50km-ish ride on Sunday to test it out.

The bike is a full 2kg lighter than my current one (turns out it has a carbon frame – oh so tempting). If I turn too tightly with my feet in the wrong position the front wheel hits my feet which is a bit scary but as long as I’m aware of it, and remember, I can handle it. Apparently that is quite common on smaller bikes – I googled it – and I have now learned about ratchet pedalling.

Sunday morning I met up with some friends who are prepared to ride slowly with me and far enough away from me that I don’t feel freaked out crowded. If I came off, I wanted someone there to be able to call hubby and tell him. Fortunately, they weren’t required to make that call.

And here’s a still shot from some gopro footage courtesy of one of the very patient friends who rode with me. It was very chilly! I recently invested in some shoe bootie cover thingies and some decent gloves but I haven’t bought anything warm for the legs yet. We go out early to beat the traffic, starting in the dark at this time of year.

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The gear sizes are different to my current bike and the gear changing mechanism and process is also different. I am still having trouble with gear selection after 2 and a half years of riding my bike so I didn’t always pick good gears on this ride. I often couldn’t work out how to change between big and small chainrings at the front and I struggled going up the hills.

Despite my inability to select or change gears properly I still managed to nab some personal best records on strava. I bettered my time on one 12km stretch by 3.5 minutes! That is a potential saving of 45 minutes over a 180km race.

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SOLD! I juggled my budget, negotiated a payment plan and bought the bike. It’s now at the shop having its new chain and tyres fitted.

I felt more stable on the downhills and braked less. I was comfortable enough to reposition my hands on the handlebars to adjust my position and give my back or shoulders a break (on the flat anyway). To my surprise and delight, I even managed to put my hands up on the top of the bars going uphill!

What was almost a selling point on its own was that I can wheel the bike by holding the seat like I’ve seen all the super fast triathletes doing at races. I always assumed I couldn’t do it due to my uncoordinated-ness. But maybe, it was the bikes I have owned.

My last race of the season might have been horrendous but I am excited and looking forward to next season with my toy.

My new (to me) pride and joy:

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The bike purchase was the highlight of the weekend. Then I followed up with some 200m run efforts Monday morning. Who would ever have thought my body was physically capable of running at these paces even over short distances? Certainly not I!

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Enough about me, what about you? Have you surprised yourself in training recently? Have you ever made a purchase that reignited your passion for your chosen sport or hobby? What was it?