Hever Gauntlet (half ironman) – 10th July 2016 – Katherine

Hever Gauntlet (Half Ironman) Race Report

K: The week started badly with the sore throat the previous weekend, turning into laryngitis (and absolutely no voice) by Thursday and it was looking doubtful that I’d start the race. Once it was confirmed “only to be laryngitis”, the race was on. As the setup sounded different to the September race, we’d thought we’d go and have a look on the Saturday afternoon. We were pleased to find the car park closer and mud free 🙂 It started looking like I’d inadvertantly entered a split transition race, but they were still working out how transition was going to work for the half ironman by the time we left the site. A quick reccie of the bike course proved that the hills were still the same!

The obligatory 4am start came round far too quickly. Two small people dragged out of bed, and we were on our way to register. Into transition to set up, and it turns out there’s a no towels rule! So lots of unimpressed people. How am I meant to dry my feet off to put my socks on?

So onto the swim. I was a bit concerned about the size of the wave, but there was a huge start line, so there wasn’t a problem. I found myself swimming alongside other people, which was a first, as I’m normally left way behind (and my goggles didn’t leak – hooray!). I really enjoyed the swim, particularly as it was so much warmer than last September, though the river part was still significantly colder than the lake.

Swim time: 48:28 (5:29 quicker than last time – thanks Josh!)

R: I’m finding that spectating races is a bit of a sport in itself. Instead of a swim/bike/run separated by transitions, we have spectating separated by things-to-do in between. They’re like our transitions. Quite long transitions. For Hever, we had six bits of spectating (swim, T1, bike 1/2 way, T2, run 1/2 way and the finish). And lots of time in between. The start went well, and the kids were enthusiastic to wave mummy off (once Hannah had been able to let go of her). Our first transition (S1 – between swim start and T1) is quite short, so we ambled over to T1 to wait for Katherine to come in. We managed to pick a good vantage point and saw her coming into T1. A quick run to the other side, and we saw her exiting T1 as well. All smiles so far, and the kids had only needed an extra 1/2 brioche each to keep them on track.

K: A not so quick T1, but it was quite a long run from the lake, and then I was out on the bike. Time to see whether my back was going to play up again this year and whether the new bike w13662247_10157118669025471_1535491362476677054_oas a good investment. I deliberately took it easy to start with, keeping in mind the feeling I had starting the second lap of the bike last year (that I couldn’t possibly do another lap!). The rain began and we ascended into the mist, but I was soon at the top of the long climb I was dreading and my leg was ok! 🙂 The hills were still relentless, and the downhills pretty hairy in the wet, but I seemed to be overtaking some people.

R: S2 for us, while Katherine was out on the bike (for the first lap). Time for some breakfast: bacon rolls and some hot chocolate. Kids seem to be happy, and covered in ketchup, so all is well, despite the drizzle starting to fall. We thought we’d check to see if we could find the other stalls and entertainment that was promised, but couldn’t find anything. No worries, there’s always the adventure playground. At the other end of the site. Hmmmm…at least it was near where we were hoping to see Katherine on the bike. So after the kids needed an emergency toilet stop, it was time to wander over….to find that the adventure playground was still locked. Sad faces all round.

Time to get the emergency tablet computers out, while we waited for Katherine on the bike. After another incoveniently timed emergency toilet break, we saw Katherine powering up the hill. She was looking good (a lot happier than last year!). She sailed past to some choruses of “Go mummy!”, and was off to lap two.

S3 now, between bike lap 1, and T2. Hooray! The adventure playground was open! Happy smiley children!

K: By the end of lap 1 of the bike, and encouragement from my trusty support crew, I was really enjoying it and happy to do another lap! Though the hills seemed harder second time around.

Bike time: 3:50:03 (25 minutes quicker than last time!)

R: S3 continued with a lunch break, although I think I rather mis-timed the pre-lunch snacks, so Hannah barely ate any of her sausage and chips. Whereas Oliver couldn’t get enough of it. By the time we’d finished eating, it was time to position ourselves to see Katherine come into and out of T2. More choruses of “Go mummy!”, and she was away on the run.

K: More encouragement from the support crew on in and out of T2, and the hilly off-road run began.

I passed a few more people, though it was pretty quiet out on the course. The first lap almost flew by, and I was enjoying it, spurred on by more encouragement as I passed the mid-way point!

R: On to S4 (run start to run half way point) for the spectators. Still no bouncy castles to be found, but the rock-climbing wall looked promising, only to have our hopes dashed when we found out that Oliver was a little too light to go on it. More sad faces. Time for an ice cream down by the lake. Happy faces again (covered in ice cream). By this time, I’d seen that Katherine was doing quite well in terms of time, so I thought it would be a good idea to get to the run 1/2 way point early, just in case (after another toilet stop). I’m glad we did, as we spotted her coming through that point 30 minutes earlier than predicted!

For S5 (last lap of run to finish), we decided to stay where we were (after another toilet stop), just in case the second run lap was just as fast. And it was!

13603327_10157118665160471_2925026636080061293_oK: By mile 11 it suddenly got very hard and my legs had had enough. The sub-2 hour half was looking unlikely, but that was ok, as I was likely to be under 7 hours in total anyway. Oliver and Hannah had decided at the last minute that they did want to finish with me, so we ran the last few metres together, which was nice 🙂

Run time: 1:59:58(!) (pretty much an hour quicker than last time!)

Overall, I really enjoyed it this time. The hills were hard, but not impossible. I could have done without the rain, but can’t complain about a PB by 1 hour 32!

Total time: 6:49:55 (9th female out of 17, 2nd in age category out of 6)

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