Coming into the race I was quite nervous as I'd been going quite well in training on the bike and run speed was coming along nicely - I'd even done some good brick sessions. All I had to do was survive the swim.
Conditions were actually very good on race day having been quite miserable the day before so this was a relief.
I waded into the pond and sunk into a good foot of exceptionally warm mud (Simon had called this one perfectly), dunked my head to discover it made Stanborough look beautifully clear...Headed to some clear water (front, on the right) and we were off. At which point about 300 people tried to swim over me. It was mental but apparently that gives you a good draft. I swam 1932m according to my Garmin so must have been quite efficient as well (albeit someone from the wave behind me wasn't as I almost had a head on collision with a blue hat on the way back). Swim time 35:56 which was a good 2 mins quicker than planned. I was stoked.
Onto the bike and I started picking people off quite quickly and loved the good road surfaces. The course was undulating as described by others without any really big climbs and with little wind I felt in a good flow. The first hour went by without hitch but in the run up to 90 minutes I started getting bad stomach cramps and almost vomited - had to ease off the pedals and hope it settled. It didn't and the only saving grace was the easier part of the course so I only lost a few minutes on plan. Bike time 2:35:40.
Finally the run and within 500m I knew I was in a bad way. The cramps/sickness wasn't passing and it was getting quite warm. That hill at the start (down then a long slog up) is also as annoying as I had been warned. It got worse from there and I just got slower over the first 2 laps, then my right (vastus medialis) quad started hurting a lot...Ho hum. I limped round taking flat coke and water at each station until I could turn right and finish with my boys. Run time 1:58:23, 28 mins slower than planned. Gutted.
I was surprised by how big a race it was. It was well organised and signed and the marshals were all super and enthusiastic (well one girl on the cattle grid before the campsite was not enthusiastic at all but she did seem to have a particularly poor spot all on her own!).
Time to reflect and try and work out what I got wrong (nutrition, bike position, something else) and thank goodness that the next couple of races are much shorter as seemingly a half-iron distance still hurts my back as well!