Monday, 9 March 2015

A Triathlon Debut

Exiting the water
Since taking up running and participating in a few fun runs, nerves have not been something that have really not played a part at all.

Compared with my sporting endeavours from years gone by they could be considered almost non-existent.

Going into my first triathlon was a completely different kettle of fish in that department.

I am not sure what initiated it but can only assume it was a combination of a venturing into the unknown and a little bit of fear of failure.

Simplifying it, I really had no need to worry, I could swim, I could ride a bike and I could run. Maybe I'd pictured myself running out of transition with my helmet still on too many times.

There was zero expectation on myself in the event for a couple of reasons. The fact that I had only trained for a week and also not really knowing how I should be performing meant it was more about finishing and doing as well as I could.

When it came to the day, it was a drizzly morning, nice cool conditions possibly barring a slippery road.

A few pre-race mishaps ensured that my nerves stayed with me. Firstly I had made a slight error on the entry form and entered myself as a female. After a few jokes and a quick filling out of new paperwork that was rectified.

Working hard on the bike
I had set up in a prime position for transition after we were directed to our row. A late change from the organisers saw the group of us that had gone to the trouble of getting there early shifted to another row just before start time. It wasn't a big inconvenience but enough to keep me on edge.

In the lead up, I was probably most concerned about my swim leg. In hindsight, it is not as bad as I thought and, with a bit of work, could actually be one of my better legs.

I was away mid pack and covered the 300m in 6:30 which is about what I'd been swimming in practice. The refreshing part was that I managed to stay out of traffic for the most part and that was the part I had been dreading most.

I felt like the last 100m of my swim was my best and I will definitely be looking to go a bit harder next time. I finished 6/12 in my age category for the swim which is better than I thought I could do.

My debut transition went smoothly. I had practiced a few times the night before with the help of my partner which meant it had become a little bit habitual, that was a great help.

After taking a little while to clip in and get going, I enjoyed the ride on the bike. Having not ridden for a long time it is something I am relishing at the moment.

Despite riding as well as could be expected, I have realised that it is a facet that I really need to work on, particularly my climbing.

Brick running
The course was a short loop which we completed four laps of to total our 7km. It had one short rise which was where I lost most ground. Despite averaging almost 30km/hr, I finished 9/12 in my age on the bike and I suspect that it is where I lost most ground.

My second transition also went smooth and I found that running in with the bike helped loosen the legs for the brick run.

As expected, my legs felt like a pair of anvils as I tried to carve out a good 2km to finish it off. I thought I was running 7:30/km, dragging those buckets of lactic acid along.

Luckily, it was a misconception and I managed to break 10 minutes for the run and finish 4/12 in my category. A pace of 4:58 was as good as I could of hoped for but also another thing that I would like to improve next time.

The run home
I was pleased to have finished, the final time was 34:41. 65th of 130 overall and 9/12 in my category, which again highlights the importance of the bike given that I finished much higher in the other two disciplines.

I knew straight away that I wanted to do another one and set about entering a similar length race at the Challenge Bateman’s Bay event on the 28th of March.

The test with that will be an increased bike leg (10km) while the others stay at the same distance. While I will keep running at the core of my training, I will cram as much cycling and swimming into my program as I can.

It is an exciting sport and, with so much to learn, I am loving it. I'm already looking forward to the next challenge.

The totals for the week were;

Running - 11.2km in 1:04 with an elevation of 92m.

Cycling - 124.3km in 5:58 with an elevation of 1,029m.

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