16th overall 3rd V40+
Bike 2.31.29 (2.29)
Finally managed to commit to enter and complete an event for 2010. I have failed to reach the start line for 5 running events this year, for various reasons not only due to injury, and thought I was going to have to pull out of this one after I succumbed to some viral gastroenteritis on thurs night that had lead to 3 ward closures at my hospital!
The Marshman is a niche event (I guess) that fills the need for a HIM or HIM+ distance about 6-8 weeks out from an Ironman. It is billed as being efficient but with no frills which again I guess it sort of does. The race takes place on and around Romney Marsh in the shadows of the Dungeoness Nuclear Power Station! This is an area I know well since we often come down for weekends had ridden extensively FLAT course. First impressions were good with a high ration of smart toilets to competitors, always a good thing.
The swim start was nice and relaxed, we all got into some cold water, a gravel lake type affair usually used by waterskiers et al, and then he called us together and blew the hooter. Water was cold but I had a clear run up the lake to the first buoy. Tried drafting a bit but my technique either leaves me constantly touching the draftee's toes, or if I draft off the hip, banging into them! (I guess I need to work on swimming straight). Soon was catching the early burners who went off to fast and settle into a rhythm. It was cold and my fingers went numb, 29 mins and a bit later I got out of the water.
T1 was quite time consuming as I put on arm warmers, HR strap and watch, gloves (my hands are my career), hat socks shoes, shades.... Try to adjust arm warmers.... give up and head out. The ride was fast and flat. Went out trying to keep to what I felt like IM pace when 2 guys went past me, so I went a bit faster. Felt comfortable until about 30 miles when my position felt funny and I thought my legs had grown. Realised my seat was dipping down at the front (on my lovely new bike). I had adjusted the seat position on Saturday and clearly not tightened up the single bolt enough. I stopped to try and tighten it but already knew I would need 2 allen keys to affect this properly and only had 1. This worked for a bit but then I got that sinking feeling again as the saddle loosened up once more. With 20 miles to go I made a decision to try and balance myself a bit more and was pulling the nose of the saddle up intermittently. By about 48 miles the saddle was generally loose and I had to balance on the fulcrum to stop it tilting either forwards or backwards. Did the last 8 miles in a big gear since this meant I was bearing more weight on the pedals and less on my now tender perineum! Was pleased to get to T2 in a ride time of 2hrs 29 mins (but the split time was slightly longer due to stopping twice for the saddle). I felt that I had plenty in reserve and could have gone longer and or faster if I had not had the seat problems or was doing an IM.
Set out on the run and was surprised to bump into TriLondons star triathlete Adam Chadburn who asked me how many laps the run was going to be. "One big one I said" Adam looked perplexed. It transpired that one of the marshalls had misdirected him onto the mini marshman course and he had done an "extra 4 km lap" which put him alongside me. After running alongside me for about 500m I suggested he best get on and see what he could retrieve of the race (and as you can see he still did well). I also felt good and settled into a good rhythm. In spite of this I still soon had that familiar sound flap flap flap of someones trainers coming up on me, this happened about 6 times meaning I had dropped 6 places but caught one. The run was pretty tough including a section across a field, and then a long beat up along by the sea, where I chased some very slow tourists who were cycling in the same direction. Stuck to my plans of trying to run at IM ish pace. About 1 hr in I realised I was catching a couple of runners, they were still a long way off but definitely getting nearer. I ditched the race plan and started counting 20s (20 right footfalls) and pushing my self a bit. Sure enough they got closer. I passed them with about 2 miles to go and then saw another racer a bit further up. He was too far away to be caught running at the pace he was going but you never know. There was one last feed station at 19.5km, he stopped for a break and then saw me coming and set off again, but now he was close. Feeling good I sat in behind him fora few hundred metres then pushed on past. I felt good and still had more to give but arrived at the finish sooner than I thought, again across a dodgy pitted field which could have turned an ankle or two!
Very pleased with performance, learnt about the dangers of not tightening things properly and now know where to focus my energies for the next 5 weeks with an emphasis on more running endurance and perhaps some bigger swims as well as a few Open water sessions.
Today I am a bit sore where the saddle was pressing!