THE ITALIAN JOB – T2 ATHLETE OFF TO VEGAS…
T2 Athlete Liz Pinches undertook her 1st race as a full-time athlete at 70.3 Italy this weekend see how she got on below……….
My body felt great going into it, the taper worked out perfectly, and I was feeling healthy, rested and raring to go. I felt very very good on race day. I knew that the sunny and dry conditions would suit me, and I was prepared to leave it all out there on the course to get the result I needed (1st in AG) and had worked for.
The Age group ladies were put with the older men for the swim and the male machismo came to the fore as the men blocked me from getting to the front row of the swim start so I just had to run in from the beach behind them, and then overtake by dolphining in the water.
In the swim there was just myself and one other girl, we swam stroke for stroke the whole way – with all the men strung out in a long line on our feet. Swim exit she got up and walked (shallow water) which it turned out was faster than my chosen route of swimming to the exit, 2 other girls who’d gone for the walking exit route joined us!. I was very pleased wtih this swim, and felt -despite the time being 35mins (course 2.5km) that I’d used just the right amount of energy and felt pretty relaxed.
I did a no-nonsense transition despite it being about a 1km long run, and headed out before the girls I’d come in with. I then proceeded to get all the way out of Pescara on the smooth tarmac of the highway, overtaking a man about every 10m or so, and warning them to ‘Occio’ – I think it means ‘look out’ – which turned out to be the best word I’d learned all weekend.
So I arrived at the hilly section feeling pretty good, I held back so that I didn’t completely fry my legs, but all the time I’d been told there was one girl out on the course ahead of me (she swam 33 mins) so I reeled her in at last at the end of the first lap of the two lap bike. I was feeling very positive at that point, going out into to the lead for the first time, knowing I had good nutrition and was keeping my pace suitably controlled for the conditions. I won’t lie that my new Blue bike worked really well on the downhills though, making the most of her aerodynamics.
At the start of the 2nd lap 2 girls caught me I decided to let them ruin their own legs, while I concentrated on drinking and eating plenty for the hot run ahead. By the time we’d reached the fast downhill and the highway back home again i’d caught them up which made my decision the right one.
I went out at the pace I’d trained for but I knew it might be a touch fast to hold for the whole 13 miles. I guessed I was in the lead, as I knew the two girls on the bike were still in transition, and this was confirmed by the nice lady who put the band on my wrist for lap 1, and I could see no women at all on this lap. I did, however, know that there was the second female running about 1 minute behind and she was constantly there, playing on my mind the whole way. I was so determined that I wanted my Las Vegas slot, and I was leading my first ever half ironman, and didn’t want to see that lead getting eroded. Unfortunately, my mind didn’t want to stay as strong. Not sure why, but I really had some low points from about 7-12km on the run. The thing that picked me up in the end was drinking coke which I would not normally do until the very end of a race, but it semeed to give me the instant boost I needed. I crossed the line in first, although no one said anything. They didn’t seem to know, or care that I was female and had won.
The race result was that I came 1st in age, and first amateur in 5:13, which would have placed me 6th in the pros. I’m extremely proud of it, and its a good consolidation of the hard work that Tom at T2Coaching has put in with me this year, although of course he says there’s lots more to come and we are not finished yet.
With a vegas slot in the bag we can now concentrate on hitting the start line in A1 shape and seeing what we can do.