I finished the Thames Turbo Sprint triathlon (TTT) #3! This is a huge psychological boost after DNFing the first two in the series with my naffed-up knee. The knee is definitely getting better but still not all there. The first two TTTs, it gave up under 1km into the run to the point where it was painful even to walk/hobble. This time, after lots of rest (no running for 4 weeks), working on strengthening glutes in general and the VMOs, it was totally fine up to 2.5km into the run. It started to niggle a bit a and hurt by 3km, but for the next km, focussing on stopping my foot from rotating inwards (I pronate very very slightly, not enough to correct with footwear) and on chasing down a woman in front of me to take my mind off it, it went well.
The race in general...
Being in the second (faster) wave for the first time was a worry for me. The second wave is made up of the people who have a faster overall race time, so being nearish the start in the pool in that wave meant that I was very likely to spend most of the race being overtaken by the speedy ones.
In the pool 40th in that wave (a bit of a shock, given I'm usually around the first 20 in the pool in the first wave) and I didn't feel great in the swim. 2 overtakes by 382 and 384 was a bit demoralising, but generally less stressful than I thought it would be. Calm, polite stop at the end of the length where they'd tapped my feet, and off again behind them. Not sure my swim time is going to be particularly good given how it felt compared with the last race, but we'll see soon enough.
T1 wasn't too bad, having everything laid out in order; glasses, helmet, race-belt, shoes; went pretty well. In that order, my feet are more likely to be more dried when I try to jam them on quickly whilst not falling over.
Out on the bike and -OH- -YES-! The new bike set-up turned out to be awesome! The feeling that every ounce of effort I put in with my legs actually turns into forward motion of the bike is so nice. It was a bit windy in places on the course, but with more power transfer to the road it mattered less than before. One of the guys who overtook me in the pool (382) was a bit in front of me and in ripe position for me to reel him in. So I did. Felt great. Then he took me back. Then, yuh huh, I overtook him again and didn't see him until I was slowing down for the big roundabout at the end of the outward leg when he overtook me again. I thought I'd lost him further down the return leg, but then he showed up again and I overtook him one last time before he came back a bit later in time for the end of the bike course. It was so much fun and really handy to have someone around the same pace as me as it made sure I didn't drop the pace. My thighs were telling me I'd put in some effort this time. During the non-compete zone we had a nice little chat about it and I reassured 382 he'd thrash me in the run as I'm pretty rubbish at that. (And he did).
T2 was a bit of an oops. I went down the wrong side of the racks, racked my bike the same way as I had in the morning, but this time it meant that all the bikes around me and mine were all facing the same way - jamming them together. Being on the wrong side of my bike meant that I couldn't get to my running shoes without shoving my bike about quite a bit. Still. Out for the run and praying that my knee behaved itself after the work I'd put in on it.
Taking the advice of the guy ahead of my waiting to get into the pool at the start and Mr 382, I took the start of the run gently. And before I knew it, I was at the 1km marker and my knee felt fine! 2km in and still fine, I was set to finish the whole 5km regardless of anything that happened after that. 2.5km and, ah, knee started to niggle. Still just behind the same lady I'd been behind from the start of the run, I was starting to think I'd better get a move on so I can finish sooner and if things hurt there's less time with them hurting. Coming up to the 4km marker it was time to get a wriggle on. Knee niggling, but not cripplingly painful to the point of inability to walk as happened the last two times, I turned up the pace to get my heart rate up from 170 to 180 for that last km. Spurred on by the lovely kids around the course (one of the really nice things about the TTTs), I decided to put in a sprint finish as I was pretty sure that Mr TOTKat wasn't far behind and there was no way I was going to have him cross the line before me (he started 8 minutes behind me in the pool) and powered over the line, knees high, chest up and head forward.
MrTOTKat was seconds behind me, which pretty much stopped me from bursting into tears of A. relief that I'd actually bloody finished the race this time and B. disappointment that my knee isn't completely fixed. I did get a little bit of the panic attack breathing I've had in the past, but got it under control quite quickly. Now... let's see if I've managed to hit my target time of 01:20. *crossed fingers*