Helen Peters The Gauntlet 2017

That was brutal.

Race report? Get yourselves a cuppa, it’s long…..

Race: The Gauntlet, Hever, middle distance.

Pre race: Saw Darren in transition, he got away lightly, only doing one bit, the swim?

Swim: 1.9k, open water. Garmin won’t track underwater and as I swim breast stroke it’s basically underwater the whole time. I need a pink wet suit, so I’m more visible, I got swum over, again. The water was murky, thanks to a lady at the bag drop who had anti-fog spray I could actually see the murky water all the way round, and the bouys we had to swim round. Time was roughly the same as last year, I’ll find last year’s results when I have a bit more energy.

Bike: 90k, hilly, last year’s weather alternated between overcast and pi$$ing down, this year it was lovely and sunny. PRs all over the place according to Strava and I knocked a minute and a bit off last year’s time (had to queue for the loo on the first circuit as a member of the general public was taking advantage of it, didn’t bother second time round). I saw Niel on the bike ride, as he came past me going downhill, then he introduced himself as I went past going uphill, we played leapfrog for a while but I don’t remember who went past who the final time. I haven’t done the long rides I was meant to do in training so I was going to take it easy, then I started going past people going uphill and the adrenaline kicked in a bit and I sort of went for it. (A lady who I’d also played leap frog with a bit was chatting in transition after when we were sorting our kit, she was impressed with how well my bike goes up hills, see, 3 on the front and 8 at the back has got to be an advantage over the 2 at the front and a gazillion at the back, even if it’s only that I’ve got a couple less cogs weighing me down!)

Run: 21k, a few hills, mainly off road, weather last year was sunny and hot, this year was incredibly sunny and bloody hot (please excuse the vernacular). It was brutal, I was dehydrated even though I drank more on the bike than normal, 2 laps with 4 water stations on each lap, I drank a minimum of 2 cups of liquid (water and/or coke) at each one and still felt rough. I just couldn’t get into the swing of it, too hot, too sunny, too tired. The first couple of K weren’t too bad with the TriSurrey cheerleading squad giving me a boost, but I couldn’t get into my running pace properly. After I found myself at 8k just walking along (having attempted to run but given up several times) I gave myself a stern talking to (probably out loud as well) and set the Garmin (thank you Garmin for making the Fenix so user friendly I can set intervals in the middle of a run with no glasses on) to interval alerts, with a run time of 2:30 and walk time of 0:30. This did it, the short walk breaks were sufficient, along with the ‘permission’ to walk, that finally got me into my stride and I Gallowayed myself to the end. I was at the end of a run section when I encountered the cheerleading squad (you guys are brilliant, and Darren who was about 50m further on, a real boost) for the second time, my 30 second walking break was used to cadge a squirt of suncream from Jolene Bull, I’d been feeling distinctly sunburnt round the upper arms and have new tan lines to show for it! My personal worst time for a HM, just over 2:30, but I finished! Last year it was 2:08, so much, much slower, I didn’t need the massage at the end to get rid of a massive ‘knot’ in my bum muscle like I did last year though. Let’s see how the legs feel tomorrow!

Total time: 7:47:13 (last year 7:21:40) First in my age category again though! Though again it appears I was the only nutter over 50 that entered!

Now if you’ll excuse me I have a bottle of wine in the fridge that I need to wrap myself round…….