The Liverpool Triathlon is effectively my “home” race – so it would be rude not to participate, right?
This was the second time I’d competed (or completed, depending how you look at it!) this race and only the third time it had been run – however, this year the race came under the aegis of the 5150 triathlon series, which (for those of you who don’t know) is the Olympic distance arm of the World Triathlon Corporation. Yes, it’s owned by those evil b@*#$!ds who own the Ironman brand.
In light of this, I was expecting the feel of the race to have changed significantly; after all, there were now going to be an impressive field of pros racing. This was to include bike god Stuart Hayes, mulitple-time Ironman 70.3 UK winner Fraser Cartmell and top age grouper Liz Blatchford. Had I known which pros were going to be racing, I’d have been down there at the entrance to T1 with my autograph book to try to grab a quick signature or photo – but the pro start list wasn’t published anywhere, so I had no idea who I’d potentially be mingling with in transition. Publishing the start list might have helped create some buzz and excitement amongst the competitors (even if they didn’t know who the pros were, they could have looked them up and got excited!), and encouraged some more people to come down early for the pro start at 8:30. You can see the lack of spectators in this video, posted by Liz Blatchford – I think at this point they’re all still watching the age groupers start!
A lot of other things about the race were familiar; the course, the layout of transition, the awesome Scouse spectators (Scouse wit is alive and well in certain quaters of Liverpool it seems!). Even the t-shirts were EXACTLY the same as the previous year. They were still really thin cotton, still ill-fitting and still over-priced, and I am pleased I didn’t part with my £12. The medals were also the same, but I’ll let them off on that count as they are awesome.
Another, less humorous similarity to the previous years’ races were the race referees. For some reason, the only place I saw them was prowling around in a pack in the transition area, barking orders at people – aren’t they also supposed to be catching illegal drafters on the bike course? I perfectly understand that they are there to enforce the rules (which I’m all for), but this can be done using basic manners and courtesy. Barking “get off your phone” at a woman switching her phone on in transition or threatening to take away someone’s medal after the race for scooting their bike is a little extreme.
I don’t include marshals in this criticism – they were, as usual, fantastic, and should all be heartily thanked for giving up their Sunday morning lie-in to come and cheer my sweaty, lycra-clad ass slogging around the Albert Dock.
I suppose I should talk about my “performance” really – I entered the race with no expectations or target times, so in summary:
Swim: 34:46 mins (including walking to transition)
The swim was OK. There seemed to be more people in my wave this year, and there were a lot of MAMILs (middle aged men in lycra) who were being a bit aggressive. I survived the usual washing machine at the start and found myself some clear water to swim in. I plodded round until one of the afore mentioned MAMILs decided he wanted to swim in a zig-zag line in front of me. I accelerated past him, and he barged me a few more times, so I gave him a polite shove and tried to get on my way. In the melee, my wetsuit had come unzipped and I took on water, which no doubt slowed me up a little, and contributed to my iron triceps the next day. On the upside, I was most of the way undressed as I got out the water.
I also seem to have found the confidence from somewhere to go racing in a cropped style top. This confidence may have been misplaced, as I appear to have developed a hearty muffin top in the picture above!
The bike route is lovely and flat, the only potential issues being nasty crosswinds from the Mersey on a blustery day. No such problems this year though, and I hung back on the bike this year to save my legs for the run – and still came in around 4 minutes faster than last year. RESULT.
The bike is worthy of two photos as this next one is just too funny not to share. Sticking your tongue out while in deep concentration is something of a family tradition. I also find it makes me more aerodynamic.
The run was awesome. I’m not really sure why, but I was flying – I think someone replaced my legs with runner’s legs. I went through the first mile in about 8:30, then thought I should probably reign myself in a bit to avoid exploding half way through. In the end, I crossed the line in just over 59 minutes, feeling strong. All the more astounding is that this is only 2:10 slower than my 10k PB!
I can see now why the boyfriend takes the piss out my “funny little running arms” now. Humph.
The time on the finish line is the actual time – I didn’t take 13 hours to finish an Oly! I did however, take 3:17:46 – about 8 minutes better than last year. Apologies for all the photos of me. I paid for them, and have to use them for something, so you can all look at them.
I’d heartily recommend the Liverpool Triathlon to anyone – it’d be a great first triathlon (they also have a sprint and super sprint distances), a great race to use as a step up to a first Olympic distance or a great course if you’re looking to set a new PB…so how about giving it a go next year?