With Austria now 10 weeks behind me and Kona a mere 5 weeks away, another race seemed like a good idea. The chance for a win this season was too tempting to pass up on, so it was off to sunny Leicestershire for the Wild Boar Middle Distance, a small, friendly, multi-lap race in Market Bosworth. Although the calendar has only recently ticked into September, autumn already seems to be encroaching on what little summer we ever had and the morning was chilly, but also dark, which meant the incredibly civilized gun time of 9am. That in turn meant ample time to faff, borrow a transition towel from a helpful, far more organised fellow Pirate and strike a few poses on the appropriately themed structures… (some of us with more conviction that others…)
The lake was cold, but pretty shallow. The start of each loop was pretty weedy, but the rest of it wasn’t too bad. I now breathe every two strokes in open water (yes, everyone is constantly surprised I was breathing every 3, but I knew no different) which has multiple advantages including that you work harder (so warm up quicker), you breathe more frequently (hence don’t feel tight chested in the cold) and sighting is e asier. Which isn’t quite enough to explain a 29min swim time, so I think the course must have been a wee bit short, but I was very pleased with the execution. I was distracted for a while by what seemed the strange sight of the moon, but apart from that I concentrated pretty well, sighted pretty well and was first lady out of the water – a very novel occurrence! In previous years, probably when the field was smaller, transition was located much closer to the lake, but has now relocated to the other side of the complex, near the gates, meaning a long run in your wetsuit.
The bike course was 4 loops of a square, with various undulations – no hills as such, but a couple of inclines, some of which dropped down the other side to a junction, meaning no ability to carry through that speed. There wasn’t much to look at – when the “Runner Beans for Sale” sign is one of the sights you look out for, you know it’s not the most scenic of courses – but some amusing town names (“Sheepy Magna” being my favourite) and the fabulously cheery marshals kept me from getting too bored and the sun came out, which was lovely. I was glad when I got to my final lap though.
Brand new shoes for the run – what could possibly go wrong? I set off on the first of 4 out-and-back legs, very slightly uphill on the way out (which I didn’t realise until the turnaround when the slight downhill became more obvious). The marshal handing out lapbands at the turnaround was awesome, dispensing witty ripostes to every athlete and encouraging people to up their effort level. At the start of the second lap, the male leader lapped me with the flattering comment “That’s a hell of a lead you’ve got – I don’t think any other women are out the swim yet”. By the third lap, I was 20min ahead of the 2nd placed woman and saw no point in simply generating more fatigue going into my final training block, eased I eased off a bit. No tape to break, but that’s ok – first lady and 6th overall in 4:42:08 – job’s a good ‘un. Time to knuckle down for the last block of hard work before Kona.