As I mentioned in my Outlaw Half blog, my goal this year has been to make friends with triathlon again after last year’s baking hot ironman, and to keep myself fit and healthy enough to race whilst I work as an A&E doctor. After a great (and unexpected) PB at Outlaw, the pressure was well and truly off for Lakesman Half. The Lakesman weekend is one of my favourites, and the launch of the 70.3 this year was perfectly timed for me when I don’t have time to full iron again!
I was working late the Friday night before the race, so it was a last minute scoot up the M6 to the Lakes for me, and after some last minute drama of a forgotten purse and thinking I’d have to steal my petrol, I arrived safely in Keswick, and got myself registered, where I received some lovely surprise goodies for being a Lakesman Tripler- I’ve been there all 3 years so far, and it tells you the kind of race organisers that Phil and Marie are that they recognise that!
The rest of Saturday passed in a blur of kit packing and faffing, cuddles and walkies with Basil and Rach, and concern that the dodgy hip I’d been nursing for two weeks would flare up again. But I knew I had the endurance to make it round the race, and given I really wasn’t bothered about my time, I didn’t mind if the run was a slow pootle round, soaking up the atmosphere.
Race day dawned an overcast 10 degrees, a far cry from last year’s start to race day, where the moment the sun rose, it was HOT. With a last few bits of kit faffing and squeezing myself into my wetsuit, it was time to race! A quick kiss to James (best triathlon soigneur ever!), a rousing chorus of happy birthday to another racer and we were off into the water. Happy days. I absolutely love swimming in Derwentwater, and this year was no different. I’m not swimming quickly at the moment due to a gross lack of time spent in the water, but I had a lovely calm, uneventful swim, and exited relaxed and happy onto the bike in around 48 minutes (the same as my Outlaw Half swim split!)
The bike leg for the Lakesman Half shares about half its route with the full Lakesman, but the loop it doesn’t share was tough- it was a windy day, and whilst the course is flat for the Lake District, there are still some decent climbs, and combined with a windy day, it made for a tough ride. Strangely, although I was jealous of those on TT bikes in the flat windy sections, a road bike felt like a good choice- light enough to be nimble up the climbs, and easy to handle when flinging it down descents- which I did more bravely than usual! I was expecting a glorious tailwind all the way back to Keswick after battling a headwind on the way out, but sadly it was not to be and the wind turned into my face- urgh! I was still happy with my ride though- compared to a 3:12 on a flat, still day at Outlaw, I’d take a 3:24 on a hillier, windy course any day.
I’d been able to feel my hip getting tight on the bike, so it was no surprise I could feel it as soon as I left T2, after a wee and a word with myself to get out there and enjoy. As time pressure was off, I decided from early on to walk the water stations, and for the first two laps, my hip caused me minimal problems. After that though, it clearly wasn’t happy- but surprisingly, I was. I had friends out on the course to support, James, Mel and Rach were all out there on the course spectating or marshalling, and the fantastic volunteers were enough to keep me cheery. After part of a lap with the lovely Sarah, and then happening across Rae, and running my final lap with her as she battled some demons on the third lap, I couldn’t have cared less about the number on the clock. I’d had fun and I’d made friends with the Lakesman and Keswick again. I’d remembered why I love the race and I’m already planning next year’s return as part of a kick ass all female relay team for the full distance race. Goal firmly achieved. I think my finish photos say it all!