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Fran Bungay comes 5th at Rapperswil 70.3!

Fran Bungay comes 5th at Rapperswil 70.3!

Last weekend, sponsored athlete Fran Bungay competed in the Ironman 70.3 Switzerland triathlon at Rapperswil. She was only treating it as a training race, but still got a great result in her age group. Over to Fran...

Well, we made it to Switzerland after a long cross-country drive from the Jura in France on Saturday. Unfortunately, I had been kept awake until 3am by our noisy french neighbours in the campsite. Between that and a cold I still hadn’t shifted and - to top it all - hay fever (the french tractors seemed to be out in force!), I was feeling tired, congested and none too pleased! The journey took longer than we anticipated, so I missed the briefing, I didn’t get a chance to recce the course and I wasn’t really feeling excited, nervous or raring to go, which is a real shame as Rapperswil is a truly beautiful place to run a triathlon. Subsequently, I tried to focus on staying positive and just going out and enjoying the day, in full knowledge that race preparation and fitness just wasn’t where I hoped it would be. Fortunately, I wasn’t looking to qualify: it was the first long distance triathlon event of the season, so it was a chance to see what was going well and which areas I still needed to work on!

Another sleepless night, as all 5 of us (2 others also with colds) were camped up side by side, until 5am when it was time to get going! After checking the bike and getting ready, I made my way down to the lake. It was dead calm and incredibly picturesque. The pro's went first, then all the women went together 5 mins later. The swim starts were in waves, so if you are nervous about mass starts, this could be one of the races for you! Apart from a few bashes on the head, it was a really enjoyable swim and it was pretty impossible to go off course as well. I came out in 33 minutes, so not bad so far.

Then onto the bike, which is always the part I enjoy the most. The course was around 10 km flat then about 20 km of climbing, before long downhill sections back the the flat, then the course was repeated. I realised pretty early on that I was not going to produce anything special. I just didn’t have that extra gear, and it felt much harder than it should have done. Frustrating, but it happens. However, I still climbed well (thanks again to Planet X for the kit to help here!), though my descending skills were terrible. There was a slight side wind and, weighing only 7 and a half stone, I felt very unsteady downhill on my deep-section carbon wheels, and any advantage I had uphill was eaten up by loads of girls. Frustrating, but if I had recce'd the course properly, I would have known this and used different wheels. Only myself to blame there. My split for the bike was 2:43. On a fit day I would have aimed for sub 2.40, but at this point I was actually in the top 3 of my age group anyway. In bike-run transition, I honestly felt like calling it a day. However, the voice in my head telling me not to be so pathetic won, so I went out on the run with one mission now, and that was to complete.

About 4k into the run, I had a really bad spell. I felt dizzy, just terrible, so I walked for a bit and took time in the next aid station, cooling down with sponges and getting some more fuel on board. This really helped, so the plan from this point was just to jog to the aid stations, walk through focusing on cooling down and fueling, then jog on to the next one. Honestly, if felt more like a marathon! Overall, I came in 5th in age group in 5:06. My run was about 5 minutes off what I hoped, but that was to be predicted. There was roughly 3 minutes separating 2nd to 7th positions in my age group so taking it all into consideration, it showed that training has been going well.

As always when you reflect, you wish it could have been different, "why did I get that cold," etc etc. But you can't change any of that so what's important is to learn from the experience. Despite not being fit, I did also make mistakes pre-race which affected my performance. We should have got to the event earlier: knowing the course would have probably gained me minutes on the bike course. Perhaps if I hadn’t raced the week before, I would have been fully fit for Rapperswil... well, thats something I will never know. I certainly need to go back to the drawing board with nutrition over the distance, and now get back on track with run training, as my injured ankle seems pretty good to go now… That said, always remember to take the positives away from the race as well!

So, now its time to re-assess my goals for the next events, recover from this one, and this cold, and build in some quality blocks of training!

4 June 2014