Today was the “cross training meets duathlon” event in Reading. I arrived over at Palmer Park in Reading at 1215 hoping to see the main heat of the rowathlon, but unfortunately they had already finished. I was surprised that Team Oarsome’s Simon Gough had only managed 5th place in that, thinking he would be up there with the best. All became clear when the results sheet was posted though stating the times for the 14 bike laps – Si thought it was 17 laps, so have ridden 17 laps – I believe they are 500m laps, so the extra 1.5km almost certainly cost him a top 10 finish.
On to the cross training event. Entries were quite high so it was split into 2 heats. This would good as I could gauge from the first one whether my tactical plan was the best one. One guy went off hard in the 800m, rowed the first 2k well, did the 50 press ups straight off, started to suffer on the squat thrusts, then blow worse then I’ve ever seen someone blow on an erg 2k, ever. He took 3 breaks of about 20seconds a time with the handle down during the 2k, and even on rowing time it took 8min15. Pacing the first half was definitely the key.
There were strong competitors in the second heat – James Hart one of the top rowathletes, Warren Matthews of Sub7, and Chris Friend from Leander club. Off the line in the 800m I just positioned myself in the middle of the pack, and stayed about 10 to 15m off the fastest guy for the first lap. It felt good, no idea how fast we were running, but I enjoyed it. It was pretty windy down the home straight, so I ran behind Warren to conserve a little energy. Second lap was good, kept around 15m behind the top guys, and onto the rowers. I set off with a plan of rowing this one at 1:45′s flat to be nice and comfortable, which went perfectly to plan. I was a little faster than the others, and came off the rower first for the 30m run down to the press up / squat thrust area. This is where is started to go wrong. The guy I thought was supposed to counting for me said he was counting for someone else – it took 20seconds or so of standing there and most of the field catching back up for Will Whitmore to offer to count for me. The press ups were as expected, hard. I did 25 first off, then I think 10 more, then in 4′s or so to the end, not too bad. Will switched with Lee Rankin who then counted the squat thrusts. Now I practiced these in the gym, and they were fine. I don’t know what I did wrong today, but they were impossible? I had to rest 3 or 4 times during the 50, and ended up coming off there in near last place! Lee was great with motivation during them though, and helped me get through. I suspect I started with my hands too close to the line, and so too compressed in the lower body. Then it was the 30m jog back down to the ergs, and I was a good minute or so behind James and Warren. This time I wanted to conserve energy again and recover for the run, so just rowed the second 2k at 1:49 / 1:50 – I was surprised that James rowed at the same pace through this 2k, he’s a quality athlete considering he is older and smaller than me, and his 2k pb is only mid 6:30′s. When James left the erg I still had over 300m to go. I got out just after Warren, and just before Chris from Leander. The first lap of the run was pretty tough, Chris went past me and put me in 5th. Then I recovered enough over that first lap to pretty much maintain the gap for the remainder of the 800m.
Finish times and positions were:
James = 23:14
2nd = 23:30
3rd = 23:48
Warren = 24:05
Chris = 24:15
Pete = 24:24
7th = 24:30
8th = 24:33
9th = 24:43
And so on down to 30:54
It seemed like I was a long way off the best in the race, but 1min10 over that duration I guess isn’t that much, so without the 20sec wait for a counter, and if I could actually do press up and squat thrusts, it would have been a bit closer. Great race by James after doing the rowathlon in the morning, and quality performances by Warren, Chris and the others.
I think I’m more like to do the rowathlon race next year in order to avoid the press ups and squat thrusts! Great atmosphere though, and a very well run event.