About six months ago I had signed up for the Tri-Factor 31.5km running race on the Sunday then a few weeks ago Bastian from Athlete Lab suggested I also participated in an individual time trial cycling race which was taking place on the Saturday. Of course, by this time I'd forgotten I already had a race on the Sunday so I signed up for the time trial.
I didn't really know what to expect. I'd never done a cycle time trial before. On the Saturday morning I prepared my bike, pumped up the tires, packed a bag, had breakfast with the boys and then cycled a slow 20 km to the start of the race. I was roughly in the middle of the women's pack as we were let out of the gate each one minute after the rider before. I kept a steady 36 kmph which felt comfortable.
The course was three laps of a 12 km out-and-back loop, so 6 u-turns in total. After about 5 km I passed one woman, and then another at about 14 km. By the end of the second lap, I had finished my drink and then just before the u-turn at 30 km Sarah Clark came past me. I could see her about 20 metres in front of me the whole way back to the last u-turn and the finish which was great... something to chase!
I really enjoyed the time trial. I tried hard, but it was great going fast on my own along the wide, flat road - great fun! I would highly recommend it. It was also much less dangerous (and less scary) than any crowded cycling race.
The finish was 15 metres or so past the last u-turn which called for a stand up sprint for the line. We finished and found some of the other ladies (and some more water) for a chat while we waited for everyone else to finish. Once we were all in, we checked the results. I was second! Unfortunately, the reason I was second instead of third was because Kath, who should have beaten me, had misunderstood where the finish line was and had sprinted straight through the barriers instead of taking the last u-turn. By the time she realised her mistake the clock had ticked over and she finished 'officially' in fourth place.
Ruth (the same Ruth with whom I cycled the last half of the Tri-factor bike race) and I cycled home after the medal presentation, chatting all the way!
That Saturday evening was definitely not a party night. After putting the boys to bed, I got my running kit ready and went to bed (very) early.
The next day I got up at 4am, drank a big glass of water, ate some nuts/ seeds/ rice/ coconut "cereal", but more food and drink into my back and then called a cab. I had planned to cycle to the race start. It was only about 14 km away from home, but I didn't really know the route, it was really early and I didn't want to have to cycle fast to get there on time if I got lost or had a puncture or anything like that. So I put my bike in the taxi so I could at least cycle home afterwards.
There were quite a few people already at the race start when I arrived. I locked up my bike, went to visit the portaloos and then dropped my bag at the luggage counter. After a little jog around to warm up, we were asked to go towards the start pen. I'd talked to Ben about this race earlier in the week and we had agreed that it was a bit too close to the A-race to be going hard for 31.5km, so he recommended that I use this race as my long training run - this meant running the whole thing it my "easy" heart rate zone (some would call it zone 1, or fuel efficiency zone). I set my Mio Alpha with a cap at the top of this heart rate zone, so it would beep at me and flash red if I went too hard.
The first lap was very comfortable. The entire race was really quite uneventful and boring (in a good way!) I ran it at a very even pace, the only "events" were that I had to stop for a wee behind a bush and that the man I was running quite close to kept doing squeaky farts which made me giggle childishly!
After about 3 km Kath came sprinting up behind me, "F%^&ing Taxi!! We couldn't find the place! I missed the start!" She carried on, steaming ahead at a much faster pace than me! I didn't see her again until the end. Twenty minutes or so later, Jacqui (the swimmer who beats all the men) came running past doing the 21 km race and said pretty much the same thing, "Stupid taxi! We couldn't find the start! And when we got here, nobody could tell me where the start line was! I reckon I'm 3 km back..." She also carried on past me, leaving me in her dust... didn't see her again until the end.
The second lap was also very comfortable. I saw Ben at the end of the second lap and told him that I was following the plan, running it all in the easy zone. The sun was coming up over Punggol Waterways. It was really beautiful. I told myself I must bring the family there one morning for a ride around. The sunrise over the water and the views from the various bridges were spectacular.
The third lap was again very comfortable. Near to the middle of the third lap I saw Winona running at a great pace, leading the women's race for the 10 km. I cheered her on and she acknowledged - she kept the lead to win. Ben, Jon, Kath and Jason were all near to the finish line as I came up the last hill. We had some drinks, took some photos, got changed and then chatted on the grass until they announced the results. Kath had won the 31.5km race and I was second...I was a bit surprised.
After the prize presentation Kath and I cycled back together. I think it was about 40 km, but it had been a long day - and weekend - already so it felt much longer!
Sunday evening was even less of a party night that Saturday. After taking the boys to the pool in the afternoon, I fell into bed about 10 minutes after them!
I was a little bit tired on Monday, but still because I had not gone all out for the run, my legs felt surprisingly good, so I did my usual training as planned - cycled some lactate threshold intervals at Athlete Lab and then did a (shortened) swim session with Yellowfish in the evening.
If I had realised I already had a running race on the Sunday, I probably would not have signed up for the time trial the day before - it was a big, tiring weekend. However, I enjoyed the time trial so much, I am really glad I did it!