A triathlon without a swim is a thing of nightmares for people like me! That nightmare was to play out on Saturday, 9 Feb 2019 at the standard distance triathlon in Canberra. A few days before the race, it was announced that due to blue green algae in Lake Burley Griffin there would be no swim. Instead, the swim would be replaced with a 5km run. The triathlon had become a duathlon. The race in Canberra was to be a good hit-out in preparation for Ironman New Zealand. I was going into the race under heavy training load and fatigue and I wasn’t sure how the body would respond. Coach instructed me to take the first 5km at tempo and be disciplined and then bike strong and empty the tank in the last 10km run. I stuck to the plan for the first 5km while the majority of the field seemed to sprint off into the distance. On the bike I managed to pass a few people and felt strong. The conditions were testing as each lap we had to ride into a really strong headwind and a few people were struggling with this. I stayed down in the aero bars and practiced chipping away. The IM NZ course is meant to get pretty windy so I considered this good practice (and character building!). I had consistent splits for each of the 4 laps and was looking forward to seeing how the 10km run would go. I decided I would stick to heart rate and pace the 10km based on that. I was surprised to see the pace I was holding was quicker than what I thought I would be able to hold. I decided to just trust the heart rate and keep running. The course was two laps and the last half of each lap was back into the wind. I drafted off a bloke running in ADF gear on the first lap as he acted a bit like a wind break. However, he faded at the start of the second lap so I had to press on alone! At that stage, I was still surprised at the pace I was holding and knew that if I kept it up I would have a huge PB for a 10km run off the bike. I really had to push the last bit into the wind but managed to cross the line with a big PB for the 10km run. I was pretty happy with this given I am in the depths of IM prep. In the end, the race didn't end up being a nightmare and it left me felling confident that I am fit and I will be ready to tackle the IM in three weeks.
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