Like button

22 Jun 2009

Week Seven - TRIATHLON (well a sprint one)

Sprint Triathlon DONE. On Sunday morning at about 8.50am I found myself packed into my wetsuit with a skintight swimming cap glued to my head by the side of a lake thinking that the swim looked a whole lot longer than the designated 750m. I find it amusing that I did this Sprint distance tri (750m/20km/5km) as training and didn't just enter like a normal person would, as the challenge that it is. Anyway, having gone a little crazy in the week and bought myself a wetsuit, some imaginatively named 'bodyglide' and several tubs of high quality energy drink and protein recovery shake I was really feeling the part. That feeling rapidly disappeared the moment I arrived at the transition and realised I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily my girlfriend was on hand to remind me to apply afore mentioned bodyglide, remember my goggles and attach my timimg chip; not a good start. I squeezed into my wetsuit and rushed to the briefing along with 140 other nervous looking competitors only to be kept waiting for almost 30mins in the early morning sun for the Olympic distance (or as they were unfairly referred to 'Standard') athletes to finish their swim.

Nerves were running riot in my stomach and it was all I could do to focus on the swim ahead. I made my way to the back of the pack thinking that it would shoot away from me and I'd be left with an invitingly clear, open patch of water to myself. Things did not go to plan and I spent the first leg to the nearest buoy struggling to find any space at all in a crowded melee of less than fast swimmers. Upon turning the first buoy I was able to settle into a better rhythm which I maintained for the rest of the swim. I started to feel a bit sick towards the end but apart from that I emerged in a respectable 14:22, which I was extremely happy with.

Struggling across sharp gravel trying to get out of a tight wetsuit is never going to be graceful but I gave it my best shot and was quite honestly just happy that I didn't fall over and look like a complete amateur. 02.11 was all it took to transform me into a cyclist and I was soon cruising along at a good lick taking on energy drink and a surprisingly tasty tropical flavoured gel. Conditions were pretty much perfect and without pushing too hard I kept up a good pace. If anything I felt I held back, constantly worrying that I would ruin myself for the run. I finished all too quickly and prepared for the run by spinning my legs furiously in a high gear as suggested by a friend in the know (thanks Dan). 37 mins on the bike were seemingly negated by this technique and after a miserly 01:11 second transition (aided by talc in the running socks - don't ask) I was off and running.

My legs felt a bit shaky for the first km or so but I stuck to the plan of starting slowly and building up and began to pass several others. Annoyingly I had no idea who was running in my category so it was hard to judge effort but I felt strong given that this transition was the one I feared the most. A bit of confusion with the run route laps and no watch meant I struggled to work out how much further I had to go. As such I found myself heading towards the finish several hundred metres away with plenty left in the tank. I crossed the line in 1 hr 17 mins and was absolutely chuffed.

I came 49th out of a 140 strong field and careful analysis of the finishers in front of me showed that if I had upped the pace by several minutes on the bike I would have achieved an almost 10 place higher finish. I was slightly annoyed with myself given that I felt I was holding back on the bike but a day later am happy with the finish given that this was a training exercise and in August I will have to go double the distance.

So now I have tried and tested my gear, I know which energy gel/drink to take and how much, and I know that I can give it the beans on the bike and get through the run. Now all I need to do is focus on a swim twice the length. I started my plan a week early just in case I had any major problems so I'm going back a week and will continue to stick to it as religiously as possible.

One final point to note is that the winner of the Olympic distance race completed his swim in 16mins, twice the distance in just 2mins longer than it took me to do half. Ouch.

No comments: