Attracta Doherty Sprint

Posted in Race Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by grahamclarke6

The Attracta Doherty or Pink and Gold Triathlon is one of the final races on the tri calendar and was my last tri of the year. It’s a charity race which is set up to help families and services dealing with cancer and was being run in Coothill at the the site of Erica’s Fairy Forest – a must go to for anyone with young kids in the area!

22046556_1540400082705206_7950696803327176231_nAs well as the sprint tri they also have a kids duathlon, adult duathlon and a 5km race. I somehow convinced Mam to take part – she’d been saying for ages she’d love to get into a triathlon or duathlon so she finally took the plunge and registered for the duathlon! She even work pink for the day!

After we got set up and figured out where we’d Dromore lakeboth be coming from and going to there was time to watch a bit of the kids race before the sprint race got underway. Dromore Lough was glassy calm for the out and back swim – swimming up in Monaghan and 146d10ca-0c0e-44f4-be80-02ed15eafe3dback down in Cavan!

After the Pulse Port Beach race in Clogherhead I’d pretty much given up on the swim side of and decided to focus on improving my run off the bike. But for whatever reason this swim was probably my smoothest of the year, stuck to the inside all the way and never felt in trouble. No idea what’s been going on with my swim this year but was happy that there was one decent swim in me! Exited the water in 22nd place – swim time was 19.xx including a longish run to transition – still think the swim was long as all times were way above what you’d expect. T1 was pretty smooth and was soon out on the bike.

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High 5 with Noah!

Having done a few races already this year in Cavan and

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Mam Leaving T1

with this race being in Coothill, I knew to expect a fairly undulating bike course and it didn’t disappoint.

Mam was starting just after I left transition and I was thinking about her the whole way on the bike! There were a few nasty hills on the course and I know how much she loved hills so was just hoping she would enjoy it somewhat! The first half of the bike seemed to go on forever until we got to Rockcorry and there definitely seemed like more up’s than downs!

Entering T2

Entering T2

My bike time was  a bit slower then recent races and had dropped a few places but I was hoping to make

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Leaving T2

up the time on the run. T2 was pretty quick and gained a few places again. The aim was to start running hard from the start with the hope of forcing my legs to get up to speed quicker – I’d been slower over the first few km’s in earlier races and always picked up towards the end so was hoping to get up to speed quicker this week.

That was all going to plan ….for 3 or 4 minutes until a big hill appeared! This just sucked the life out of my legs but all I could think of is that Mam is going to kill me for talking her into this! I have to say it’s one of the tougher run courses that I’ve done a sprint on – most of it is on forest track / trail – really beautiful but there were a lot of short sharp climbs!

Once leaving the forest trails there was still a few hills to negotiate in and around the

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Last Hill High 5’s!

town. My legs were like blocks at this stage and it was a relief to finally hit the last hill where there were a load of kids out with high 5s and the atmosphere was good around the finish with all distances finishing around the same time. Finished with a run of 23.35 and very heavy legs!

Mam Finish

Mam was still out there – I hadn’t seen her since the start and decided to repay all the times she came out to meet me during long races. I met her with about 1500m to go and typical Mam – she was still smiling!! We ran & chatted all the way back in, turned out she had enjoyed the whole thing – not even all those hills had put her off. Couldn’t have been prouder to see her cross the finish line – she continues to amaze me – totally inspiring!

Overall this is a great race on a tough course – a lovely swim, challenging bike route and tough run course. There was a relaxed atmosphere at registration and around the start – think this helped relax Mam a bit and made it easier for anyone new to the sport. The only thing I’d change is the split start finish areas – I thought there was a great atmosphere around the start and the lake. Maybe it was having the kids with us but having to rush them up the road to the finish on the main street didn’t seem to make much sense.
Really well done to Kevin and all the organisers – a super race and a great cause.
It was great having Mam race alongside me again and having Dad there watching – I think he was more nervous then both of us! Eabha and Noah loved having Nana and Granddad there – I didn’t even get a look in! Huge thanks as always to Lorna for all her support – definitely think she had a tougher race trying to get the kids to the finish line before we came in to finish!

That’s the last tri done – maybe one more duathlon before the end of the year – might even convince Mam do do another one!

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Newry Triathlon

Posted in Race Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2017 by grahamclarke6

I’d done the Borderman 70.3 in Newry 2yrs ago & loved the race set up. There was no Newry Tri 5half distance this year so was looking forward to trying the sprint distance.

The set up was again first class & registration was straightforward. There was a bit of a delay while a rogue truck was moved out of the exit from transition.

Had the same problem with my new Huub wetsuit again & and its “innovative” quick release system. Unfortunately it keeps releasing at the wrong times!!

Newry Tri 4

Swim Exit

A quick walk down the canal to the start of the point to point 750m swim, not much hanging around and soon we were off with a gentle breeze helping us back towards T1 . Got a good start & was feeling OK up to about 3/400m when my breathing went south again! Struggled to the exit in a slightly disappointing time of 13.53 considering it was wind assisted, perfectly straight and flat calm! T1 was pretty smooth, a longish run to the mount line before heading off onto the 20km out & back route. Closed roads was a real novelty and added to Newry’s reputations as a fast course.

 

From the start it felt like I was having to work hard for what I was getting back. A slight headwind for the first part of the bike until the turnaround in Warrenpoint meant a very fast return to Newry – averaging over 38km/hr on the way back. Have to say there was some of the most blatant drafting I’ve come across – special mention to no. 75 who passed me about 8km into the bike & sat in behind a guy all the way back to T2. In fairness he wasn’t the only one as a group seemed to form in front of me too. Pretty frustrating & something I can’t get my head around – in the end it did no. 75 no good as I overtook him in transition!

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Leaving T2

Didn’t know it at the time but it was a PB of 35.34 for the bike leg & brought me back into T2 which was a bit smoother than recent ones. The run was 3 loops around the city centre but I knew it was going to be a struggle from the first few steps. I was struggling to hold 4.35/km pace which was frustrating as I’d run faster in Lough Ramor which was a slightly tougher course and because I knew this was a fast course & I’d targeted a good time here.  The run ended up being my worst leg and lost about 5 places to end up 27th overall in 1.11.54. To cap it all off I ended up throwing up on the blue carpet before the finish line which was captured perfectly by Lorna!

For anyone looking for an introduction to triathlon or those looking for a PB then this is a perfect course. The set up by Newry District Council was first class with a great atmosphere around the Quay’s on the day. Also one of the best good bags on the triathlon circuit!

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Goodie Bag

Thanks as always to Lorna, Eabha & Noah for their great support and to Mam for taking the drive up to watch the race!

 

 

 

 

 

Newry Tri 1

Not my finest moment!! 

Lough Ramor Sprint

Posted in Race Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2017 by grahamclarke6

3 weeks – 3 races! Getting a bit of a tour around the North East and another visit to Cavan this week for the Lough Ramor Triathlon hosted by the Virginia Triathlon and Cycling Club. An earlier, 10am start this week (and a wet, miserable morning) meant I was on my own for the cross country trip to Virgina. Avoiding last weeks rush at the Cavan Tri I arrived nice and early to get set up. Registration was in Virginia college and possibly the only race I’ve done where there has been indoor facilities to

Lough Ramorchange and store gear – both of which were very welcome on a day like today!

A really relaxed atmosphere around transition, there seemed to be a good mix of abilities, a good few doing their first tri and few names and faces I recognised from winning or placing in other events.

I think the picture opposite looks worse than it was but all the same I was glad to get in the water and get a bit of a warm up swim done. It seemed pretty crowded towards the inside so again I started out to the left and was in clear water from the start but could see the leaders ahead and inside me. The first leg was into straight into the chop but once around the buoy there was a nice bit of a tail wind pushing along the back part of the course. It seemed like the main group were well down wind of me but I though I had a decent line to the next buoy which I went a bit wide around. Onto the last bit and it felt like I was swimming OK so was a bit disappointed to see 16.xx on the clock getting out of the water. There was a decent run on a stoney tarred path to T1 and even though I’d been thinking about where I’d racked my bike from the last buoy it still took a few extra seconds to find it!

Out onto the bike course – 1 loop around Lough Ramor and a mix of quiet country roads and main roads. Great marshalling through the town and out onto the back undulating roads. Again found myself passing a good few people in the early stages but a few of the fast guys went by me too! There was a nice bit of a climb about 5 or 6km in followed by long downhill section with a few tight bends – but again extremely well marshalled. Out onto the main Dublin Cavan road and a good surface, picked up a couple of more places along here before getting a bit stuck in traffic coming back into Virginia town. Finished the bike in 35.38 for just over 19km.

T2 was a bit better then the last 2 weeks and was quickly out onto the run. This was a full on trail run with a few muddy and slippy bits but overall a great run route. I can feel the benefit of a few races and a couple of interval sessions during the week and was much quicker up to speed this week and splits were quicker this week despite it being a slightly tougher course than Ballybay or Cavan.  Completed the run in 23.08 for just over 5km to finish 15th overall.

This is another great race in a lovely part of the country – just a pity the weather didn’t show it off fully. Have to say the best part of the day was the cup of tea and a roasted spud at the end to warm me up!! Reasonably happy with the result – not sure what happened on the swim as it was slow in comparison to the last few races but happy with the bike and run side of things. It actually felt like I was racing this week as opposed to just taking part. Newry Tri is still on the cards for the end of the month and the last few weeks have given me a good idea of where I need to improve – there will be a lot of interval sessions coming up!!

Thanks again to all at Virginia Triathlon and Cycling Club for putting on a great race and to Lorna, Eabha and Noah for putting up with me as usual!

 

 

 

Cavan Sprint Triathlon

Posted in Race Reports on August 3, 2017 by grahamclarke6

Racing 2 weeks running is a bit of a novelty for me so was looking forward to testing myself in another sprint event last weekend.

The short version for those smart asses out there is great race, lovely location, better swim, challenging bike, good run, didn’t win! Now you can go back to “wandering” around Vancouver Seán!

After the calf cramps in Ballybay last week I was so sore for about 2 days afterwards that all I only did a couple of sessions during the week and can’t say they were quality ones either!

Almost mistimed the whole morning and arrived at Killykean Forest Park just as they were announcing registration and transition closing! Big panic and rush to get set up – definitely didn’t need to any extra effort to raise my HR before the race!

Walk to the Start

Walk to the Start

The swim was a 750m point to point swim, the heavens opened just before the start – Lorna and the kids got soaked, thankfully I was in my modified wetsuit at this stage!! After a bagpipe accompanied walk to the start, it was straight into the water to try and get a quick warm-up done. Was surprised to see the number of participants getting into the water – about 150 – as it didn’t look that busy at briefing.

Positioned myself to the left hand side as it looked the straightest line with less of a

Exiting Water 2

Exiting Swim

“turn” to the 2nd buoy. Was much happier with my swim & sighting this week even though it was slightly more crowed – especially when we turned at the last buoy. Came to a complete stop at one stage when someone swam right across me at a 45° angle – no idea where he was heading too!

Exit T1

Leaving T1

Out of the water in 14.58, 31st place and a bit of a run up to T1. As last week my modified wetsuit easily fell off and I was quickly out onto the long drive down the park. Much happier with getting up to speed this week and wasn’t long before we were out into the rolling Cavan countryside. With the heavy showers and a good few sharp corners and bends I was definitely more cautious than normal on the corners and as the bike leg went on could feel the effort of pushing out of the corners in my quads. The course was challenging with one short sharp climb (my gears wouldn’t shift into the smaller front ring – my quads were loving me!) but overall enjoyed the course. I’d forgotten how long the drive up the entrance was and got my feet out of the shoes way too early coming into T2 which was frustrating but ended up getting off the bike in 41.06 for the 22km course.

Run

Leaving T2

I had the same problem as last week getting my feet into my runners and definitely lost a bit of time there – need to check that out for future! The run course was a single loop of an island in the park all on trail which was really nice. It felt much quicker into my stride this week and thankfully no sign of the cramp of last week. There were a couple of small inclines to keep the legs honest and was really happy to see my pace drop to about 4.15 for the last few km’s.

Managed a high 5 with Noah coming to the finish line to finish the run in 22.50 and a total time of 1:20:32.

Overall I was much happier with the whole race this week – was much more consistent across all 3 legs – was 31st out of the water, 31st on the bike and 29th on the run! Was pleasantly surprised to finish 27th individual overall from a field of about 145. Still loads of room for improvement but finding my racing legs again.

Next up is Lough Ramor in Virginia this weekend and then Newry sprint at the end of the month – a very flat course so looking forward to that. maybe another in between if i can find one! Suggestions welcome!

Thanks to all at Cavan Tri club for a great race & for the curry afterwards! Again thanks to Lorna, Eabha & Noah for enduring the rain showers to cheer me on!

Finally congrats to my cousin John who completed IM Canada 70.3  for another IM medal to add to his ever growing collection!

Credit to Lorna and Sonja Smith Photography for the pics!!

 

Ballybay Sprint Triathlon

Posted in Race Reports on July 25, 2017 by grahamclarke6

First race report in a while! I hadn’t done a sprint tri in a couple of years so wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up for the Muckno Tri organised race in Ballybay. Training had been hit and miss for the year with a lot going on and no real focus for racing.

FB_IMG_1500849178659We arrived in Ballybay nice and early, looked like a great set up, lovely location and the weather was even behaving. Registration was straight forward and got set up in transition before have a bit of time to spend with the kids and have a quick walk to see the swim start and a small bit of the run course.

Swim was a V-shaped, 750m course on a calm lake with about 380m to the turn around buoy.  Swimming was probably my most consistent training for the last few months and after a good swim in Camlough on Thursday morning (apart from ripping the lower leg off my wetsuit!!) I was pretty confident starting off. Water was lovely and I picked a position to the left side of the start line as it looked like a slight current was pushing to the right and there seemed to be more open water. Started off well and was pretty comfortable towards the front of the pack until about 300m when things started to fall apart. I couldn’t get my breathing right and all of a sudden I was breathing every other stroke. Around the buoy and aSwimbout 350m to the exit and it couldn’t come soon enough. As usually happens when my breathing goes to pieces my line goes way off and I found myself having to make adjustments constantly. Only in the last 150m or so did my breathing settle and was happy to be getting out of the water.

Short run up and into T1 – having to shorten my wetsuit legs after Thursdays ripping incident paid off here as the wetsuit pretty much fell off and was I straight onto the bike. Was really slow getting my feet into the shoes and one of the straps came out completely so waited to the first downhill bit to fix this.

Having driven in the road I knew there wasn’t a flat bit on the course – an out and back 10km route – constantly lumpy and twisty! It took a few km’s for my heart rate to settle a bit after the swim but was soon into a good rhythm. Unusually for me I found myself passing a good few on the bike which helped stop beating myself up over the swim! Can’t remember the last time I cycled 20km but the turn around came really quick!! I found the nature of the course tricky drafting wise, guys would pass then slow down in front so I’d either have to back off or put in an effort to go past them again. I seem to gain ground on any hilly sections (and I’m by no means built for climbing!) and lose it again on the flats so there was a bit of too & froing for the last few km’s back to transition. Off the bike in 11th place with split of 36.05 – really happy with that – those cycling classes must be working!

A smooth dismount into T2, bike racked and into runners – one just didn’t want to go on! From the start I could feel my calves cramping – never a good sign! Really shortened my stride to try to keep it way but was soon passed a few times which annoyed me! It took about 1500m before I felt I could stretch out properly so gradually upped the pace and by the turnaround at 2.5km I was feeling much better and not being passed any more! Pace kept increasing and was very slowly gaining some ground on those in front. Back into the park and a short lap around before crossing the line and collapsing!! Run split was 21.51

Finished in 1:14:57 and 13th place. You’ve got to love triathlon – the only sport were a “sprint” race lasts over an hour!! Apart from the swim I’m happy with that considering the lack of racing I’ve been doing. Next goal is to go sub 1:10!

This is a great race in a lovely location – perfect for bringing the kids as there’s a small playground and plenty of open space. A really good course – perfect swim course, challenging bike and a lovely run route. Excellently organised and marshalled by Muckno tri – really couldn’t ask for much more for a race venue.

Thanks as always to Lorna and the kids for their support and indulging me with this sport!

Next up is Cavan Tri Club’s sprint and the Meath Heritage cycle!

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Noah starting CPR!!

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Medal is much more interesting!

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Priorities – food and a medal!

 

Ballybay Sprint Triathlon

Posted in Race Reports on July 24, 2017 by grahamclarke6

First race report in a while! I hadn’t done a sprint tri in a couple of years so wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up for the Muckno Tri organised race in Ballybay. Training had been hit and miss for the year with a lot going on and no real focus for racing.

FB_IMG_1500849178659We arrived in Ballybay nice and early, looked like a great set up, lovely location and the weather was even behaving. Registration was straight forward and got set up in transition before have a bit of time to spend with the kids and have a quick walk to see the swim start and a small bit of the run course.

Swim was a V-shaped, 750m course on a calm lake with about 380m to the turn around buoy.  Swimming was probably my most consistent training for the last few months and after a good swim in Camlough on Thursday morning (apart from ripping the lower leg off my wetsuit!!) I was pretty confident starting off. Water was lovely and I picked a position to the left side of the start line as it looked like a slight current was pushing to the right and there seemed to be more open water. Started off well and was pretty comfortable towards the front of the pack until about 300m when things started to fall apart. I couldn’t get my breathing right and all of a sudden I was breathing every other stroke. Around the buoy and aSwimbout 350m to the exit and it couldn’t come soon enough. As usually happens when my breathing goes to pieces my line goes way off and I found myself having to make adjustments constantly. Only in the last 150m or so did my breathing settle and was happy to be getting out of the water.

Short run up and into T1 – having to shorten my wetsuit legs after Thursdays ripping incident paid off here as the wetsuit pretty much fell off and was I straight onto the bike. Was really slow getting my feet into the shoes and one of the straps came out completely so waited to the first downhill bit to fix this.

Having driven in the road I knew there wasn’t a flat bit on the course – an out and back 10km route – constantly lumpy and twisty! It took a few km’s for my heart rate to settle a bit after the swim but was soon into a good rhythm. Unusually for me I found myself passing a good few on the bike which helped stop beating myself up over the swim! Can’t remember the last time I cycled 20km but the turn around came really quick!! I found the nature of the course tricky drafting wise, guys would pass then slow down in front so I’d either have to back off or put in an effort to go past them again. I seem to gain ground on any hilly sections (and I’m by no means built for climbing!) and lose it again on the flats so there was a bit of too & froing for the last few km’s back to transition. Off the bike in 11th place with split of 36.05 – really happy with that – those cycling classes must be working!

A smooth dismount into T2, bike racked and into runners – one just didn’t want to go on! From the start I could feel my calves cramping – never a good sign! Really shortened my stride to try to keep it way but was soon passed a few times which annoyed me! It took about 1500m before I felt I could stretch out properly so gradually upped the pace and by the turnaround at 2.5km I was feeling much better and not being passed any more! Pace kept increasing and was very slowly gaining some ground on those in front. Back into the park and a short lap around before crossing the line and collapsing!! Run split was 21.51

Finished in 1:14:57 and 13th place. You’ve got to love triathlon – the only sport were a “sprint” race lasts over an hour!! Apart from the swim I’m happy with that considering the lack of racing I’ve been doing. Next goal is to go sub 1:10!

This is a great race in a lovely location – perfect for bringing the kids as there’s a small playground and plenty of open space. A really good course – perfect swim course, challenging bike and a lovely run route. Excellently organised and marshalled by Muckno tri – really couldn’t ask for much more for a race venue.

Thanks as always to Lorna and the kids for their support and indulging me with this sport!

Next up is Cavan Tri Club’s sprint and the Meath Heritage cycle!

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Noah starting CPR!!

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Medal is much more interesting!

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Priorities – food and a medal!

 

2015 Borderman 70.3 Race Report

Posted in Race Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2015 by grahamclarke6

I think tapering for Hardman was having an affect on Lorna as well when she suggested I do another long race to make the most of the training over the last few months! Then this race popped up on Facebook a couple of weeks before Hardman and I thought about it for a few minutes before realising it was only 8days after Hardman and quickly forgetting about it! It popped up again the Thursday we arrived home from Killarney and again Lorna strongly encouraged me to do it! After a short check on the legs (a 2min run to the chippie – I didn’t even run back home!), a quick email to see if the were accepting late entries – oh crap they were – a sleep on it and by Fri evening I’d confirmed!! No idea why – I’d never done races 2 weeks running let alone these distances, had no clue how the body would react – 1.9km swim was in Newry Canal should be OK, 90km bike around south Armagh and North Louth could be challenging and a 21km run from Newry to Warrenpoint and back could be torture.

Race morning was bright, crisp & clear. The set up seemed first class – no problem with my last minute entry and got all the info I needed. I was to be in the last of 3 swim waves which gave me an extra few minutes to savour the atmosphere and chat to a few locals doing their first half ironman – think we were all just as nervous at that stage.

Newry Canal & Swim Exit

Newry Canal & Swim Exit

A one way bus journey to the start felt much longer then the 1.9km but the canal was as flat as West Wood’s 50m pool! A short briefing on the pontoon, into the warm canal water and soon the horn went. I’d positioned myself close to the front and was soon in clear water. Felt much better than the swim in Kerry and actually felt like I was “racing” this distance for the first time. Caught a good few of the 2nd wave as the Quays came into sight and then it was along side the boats to the slipway.

Out of the water in 33mins (17th overall), into T1 and a slow change – everything that could go wrong did!

Finally out onto the bike – through the city centre, up the big hill out of Newry, still climbing through Camlough, Beleeks and into Newtownhamilton. Legs were feeling a bit tired at this stage but knew there was about 20km gradual downhill back to Dundalk to recover. Was pretty quiet on the bike route so was really hard to tell how I was going – had a constant felling that I was way towards the back which wan’t nice! Really nice spin back into Dundalk and remember looking at my Garmin and calculating average speed as 30kph – was happy with that. Onto the Carlingford Road – a section I knew like the back of my hand, very happy to pass & ignore the turns for Jenkinstown Hill and the Long Woman’s Grave! Around the Carlingford / Greenore junction the legs started to feel a bit heavy and still about 20km to go – this wasn’t boding well and around here I was dreading the run already! Best thing about it was that I love this stretch of the route – the surface is reasonable but some of the views are amazing – the Cooley’s on one side, Carlingford Lough and the Mourne’s on the other and it was a perfect morning to be out on the bike. Some blatant drafting (105!) kept me amused (and a bit annoyed!) all the way back to Newry. The last 5km was a struggle and whatever was to happen on the run I couldn’t wait to get off the bike! Ended up with 2.48 for the bike leg (20th overall at that stage without knowing it). Looking back I’m delighted with that – around what I was hoping for in Killarney but for whatever reason it didn’t happen down there.

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Got a nice surprise when I saw Lorna and the kids coming into T2 and even managed a few words as I changed.

The run was as flat a course as I’ve ever run which was a huge positive and right from the off my legs felt surprisingly good – the first km was about 4.45/km which I knew I couldn’t hold for the distance – dialed it back a bit and settled into a steady pace of around 5min kilometers. The route is a long straight stretch all the way to Warrenpoint along the main duel carriageway. Was nice having runners ahead of you to act as targets but the long straights could be tough – once a thought like that entered my head it was time to look around and again enjoy the scenery of the Cooleys and Carlingford Lough. Winner Brian McCryatal passed me going the other way at my 2km mark – looked like he was flying and seemed so easy – what I wouldn’t have given to swap places at that stage!

Narrow Water Castle

Narrow Water Castle

A quick gel at the aid station about 7km in and I was was still feeling good – the aim at this stage was to keep to the 5min/km until about 15km and see what happens then! Past the Narrow Water Castle, turnaround in Warrenpoint and back out the same way, another gel at about 14km and was still feeling OK – pushed the pace a bit and had a couple of nice targets in the distance. Was surprisingly enjoying the run at this stage and was holding pace really well. Came back in towards the Dublin Rd Bridge in Newry thinking the run was going to be a little short but delighted that the finish was just around the corner only to be directed straight on!! Couldn’t believe it – heart sank for a few minutes thinking there was more to go! No choice but to get over it – couldn’t be more than a km to go so just pushed on across another bridge back down by the Buttercrane – past drafter 105 – which really made me smile! Onto the blue carpet finish shoot outside the Quays to finish the run in 1.49, total time of 5hr 16min – 21st overall. A huge PB for this distance – a nice birthday present to myself!! Delighted with the result – probably one of the most satisfying races I’ve done – maybe it was the lack of expectation I put on myself, the feeling of actually racing this distance as opposed to surviving it or just actually enjoying it – there’s a lesson in there somewhere!

20150905_140241[1]For the first year of the race I have to say it was superbly organised, the marshaling was brilliant throughout, the swim was lovely, bike was challenging but fair and the run was surprisingly nice once you looked up! The atmosphere at the finish was great with loads of people hanging around, stage and live music, nice spread of food, teas and coffees. Well done to Newry City Council and to all involved for organising the Festival of water – it also included a sprint distance race and a kids duathlon. Will hopefully be back for it next year  – would a sub 5hr be possible?!

Big thanks to Lorna again – her faith in my ability to do this one was much stronger than mine – I definitely wouldn’t have entered without her pushing me on this one!

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