Tri Grand Prix Kilkenny : 2013 - Unfinished Business

Wednesday, 31 July 2013  |  Admin

Second place, second year in a row, at Trigrand Prix Kilkenny

Running through the Castle gates towards the finish line at Trixgrand Prix Kilkenny on Saturday (27 July ) I had an unfamiliar feeling that I could have done more. While my legs were prepared to finish given the “hills” I had just covered, twice, my head was telling me otherwise. I was feeling a little disappointed in myself. 
kilkenny tri grand prix triathlon 2013
It was my third experience of the Kilkenny Olympic distance triathlon, and, like previous, there was 1,500 plus competitors, glorious sunshine, with heavy rain and excellent race organisation. The atmosphere was electric from when we first arrived at registration at 6.15am and right throughout.  I was sixth in my first attempt at the Olympic distance in Kilkenny in 2011, second in 2012 and at registration Saturday morning I would have been happy with a finish anywhere between. 

Everything was running an hour and half earlier this year, registration at 6.00am, transition closed at 8.00am with the first Olympic wave off at 8.30am. I believe this earlier start was to accommodate a certain Boss in town for the weekend or maybe it was to allow Bressie or the other celebrities the afternoon to meet and greet fans? It was a little crazy getting up at 5.10am to head to Kilkenny from my parents’ house in Athy; they think I am mad!!!

I was in wave 5 along with the “hubbie” and we pretty much started bang on our scheduled start time of 8.50am. Only 40 or so were in the wave, two other females were all I counted. The organisers appeared to have gone with smaller more frequent wave starts.  For me, it meant plenty of space, easy to turn around the buoy, not one elbow in sight, though I did get a slight kick from a guy, mistakenly I am sure.  I enjoyed the swim, tried my best as usual, and thought I had done a good swim, results showed otherwise with a split of 25mins 23 seconds. Here is the main disappointment of the day. My swim is still not great despite my best efforts to improve since February and as  I write I have the feeling I should pack it all in? Don’t think I can blame the metal plate and screws in my left hand anymore, maybe I am just not a swimmer?

swim start triathlon kilkenny triathlon 2013

The run from the swim exit to transition was crazy; it entailed hiking up steps, running down a tarmac track, up a hill and across a grass park.  When I eventually arrived at my bike I quickly put on the sunnies and helmet and looked down to see I still had my wetsuit on☺ Feeling a bit silly, quickly peeled off the wetsuit and up and over another hill at the exit of T1 out to the mount line. I was off. The cycle course is brilliant, once you get out of the city through three roundabouts its straight out a main road and back. Unfortunately the roads were not closed and given the usual popularity of Kilkenny, and with the Boss in town, traffic was pretty heavy. We cycled in the hard shoulder/bike lane for most of the 44k route but it didn’t bother me. I surprisingly felt great on the bike, and  coming up to T2, my Garmin showed 1hr 12 mins, a minute later on the time before I entered transition. I was happy knowing I did a bike of 1hr 13mins. Official splits later showed 1hr 14 mins. Some of transition included I assume? I was the fastest female on the bike so all good☺

I put on socks in T2, the 2 lap run route, 10.2K, has two “hills”;  killers on the legs and feet and the twenty or so seconds to put on socks is worth it. The run route is interesting and challenging; winding around Kilkenny castle, through the castle gardens, around a duck pond, down by the canal and up through the tree lined track back out onto the road. Anyone, I am sure, will agree that the 500 meter or so “hill” along the road before you turn into the castle grounds and hit another “hill” of similar length, really test the legs. Suppose you can say what makes the run challenging..  I think I ran the first lap pretty well; I felt Ok and really enjoyed the route, even the hills!!. Slight niggle in my groin which I think I picked up on the bike wasn’t holding me back for the first lap. A few minutes into the second lap the niggle was evolving into a throbbing pain and required me to land to the side of my left foot to relieve the tight pulling feeling.  I tried to run efficiently without aggravating it all the time hoping that I wasn’t doing more damage that would mean no more triathlons this year. I had missed most of last year with a two month wedding/honeymoon holiday and a broken hand at the beginning of September. 

As I came towards the castle gates leading towards the finish line I picked up speed and was surprised that I was still OK (groin pain aside) and I sprinted as fast as I ever had over the last 200m or so. A bit puffed from the sprint but body felt OK otherwise.  Though my head was telling me the fast finish meant I didn’t push the run as much as I should have? With no Garmin on the run I was using feel as pace but I think in hindsight this was the wrong decision. I was, and still am, a little disappointed. Lesson learned. Split was 42.57 for 10.2k which I think is great but for me I think I could have gone sub 42 mins. Results show I had the fastest female run split of the day, only by a few seconds though.

It was a great atmosphere at the finish line, plenty of drinks, bars and fresh fruit. I got to catch up with my “twin Kim” (the brilliant first female finisher Kim Hickey) and lots of other triathlete buddies as well as a first time brief chat with Niamh Richardson (the first female Sprint finisher). The poor hubbie and bro-in-law  and my family there as the usual great support, got tired waiting and left me to my typical post-race chatting. It’s the best part ☺

Overall, second female in the Olympic Distance, behind my fellow Kim
Also well done to Rachael and Steve who came second and third respectively at the Little Boo Beep triathlon on the same day.  Great racing guys ☺

I am taking a break shortly in Spain and using the month to rejuvenate the body and mind so next up  will be Dunmore East on 31 August .

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