The club is full of really talented athletes and I love to read the reports of their exploits winning age groups or completing Middle/Iron distance events.
This is a view from the other end of the field for those who just want to get round and enjoy the day at their own pace.
I completed the Upton Sprint in 2010 with the aim of continuing to train and doing the OD the following year. For health reasons this didn’t happen and 2011/12 were pretty much a write-off so on 1st January 2013, weighing 19st, I entered this years OD as an incentive to get back into training and lose weight.
Race day came around as the hottest day of the year and whilst 3st lighter I’m still a fair sized lump and knew the heat would be an issue so came up with a race plan to start steadily and slow down.
My swim wave got underway at 1pm and whilst everyone headed for the centre of the river I stayed left and had plenty of space to myself. Despite a minor altercation with a fallen tree I exited the water after about 25mins for the trot back up the bank to transition, official time 26:23.
Transition went smoothly before exiting on the bike for the 2x20km laps. I knew Paul Davies would be close behind after the swim so set off expecting him to pass at any time which he did with a few words of encouragement as he went. I would describe the course as undulating with a couple of tougher climbs (for me anyway) around Kinnersley and Severn Stoke which were praying on mind, knowing I had to make sure I could do them twice. With that in mind I settled into my pace and didn’t worry about all the people with pointed heads passing me, finishing the bike in 1:39:16 with a pretty even split between the 2 laps.
After what felt like an extra run leg pushing my bike back to transition, I started the run proper carrying a bottle of energy drink and taking full advantage of the water stations on each lap. The overriding impression immediately was the heat and almost everyone had adopted a walk/run policy. The first lap wasn’t too bad and took 36mins which I was happy enough with given that 5km takes me the best part of 30mins anyway. The heat really started to tell on the second lap and I was reduced to short jogs interspersed with increasingly longer walks to get my temperature/heart rate/blurred vision back under control. As such the 2nd lap took me a slightly disappointing 46mins for a total time of 3:35:55.
In hindsight maybe I should have entered the sprint again this year and the OD next year, with a full year’s training behind me, but I got round in challenging conditions and I now have a target to improve on next year, when hopefully it will be a little cooler. Did I mention it was hot?