Saturday, 31 October 2015

Nepean Triathlon Race Report

Albert Einstein once said "When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity."

In triathlon terms, the Nepean Triathlon is relatively short, however for me, it was to be the longest I had raced in my fledgling foray into the sport. It composed of a 1km swim, 30km bike and 10km run.

The race is the oldest triathlon in Australia and boasts quite an honour roll including Pete Jacobs, Barbara Riveros, Brendan Sexton, Tim Reed, Courtney Atkinson and Aaron Royle. For someone like myself, who has developed quite a penchant for the history of the sport, this adds a little extra significance.

It was also a rare opportunity to race on the same course as the pro athletes, at the same time. 

The water temperature was a soup-like 23.5 degrees and, as a result, the swim was a no-wetsuit affair. This is not something I am daunted by but a definite slowing agent.

I did my best impersonation of a freeze block with arms and meandered my way over the three-turn, one kilometre course in a tick over 22 minutes. I have no doubt that this is the area that i have infinite scope for improvement and my weakest leg by far.

I kept my time in T1 to a minimum and was in and out in 1:36 10th overall in my category of 129 competitors. 
Overall results from my Nepean Triathlon debut.

The bike was a fast, mostly flat course which I enjoyed. I traversed the 30km in 52:46 at a bit over 34km/hr. That was enough to see me 55th in my category. 

T2 was a little slower but i was off the pushy and out on a 10km jaunt to complete the trilogy. 

The first 3km went fairly well, working hard on cadence and staying relaxed. The 4th kilometre I felt like the world was ending; concrete legs, heavy breathing, the whole kit and caboodle. A short refresher at an aid station allowed me to find some rhythm.

By the time the final two kilometres rolled around, I felt as strong as I had all run and was able to finish reasonably well, stopping the clock at 48:24 (my second best effort over 10km to date).

I completed the course in 2:07:01which was somewhere around the time I had estimated, if not slightly quicker. I placed 60th in my category of 129 competitors.

Two things I learned from the outcome were that I have a long way to go in terms of improving and that I am definitely keen for a move to Olympic distance racing next season.

My next race will be a sprint in two weeks time in the northern coastal town of Forster, another location rich in triathlon history.

The week leading up to this will coincide with me beginning a training program with Project M Training. This will be a lot of fun and a lot of hard work and should yield plenty of improvements. 

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Saturday, 10 October 2015

Tis The Season

Around here, you can usually count the number of 35 degree-plus days in summer on two hands. In Spring, they are next to non-exixtent.

Trekking west to Penrith for my first triathlon of the 2015/16 season on a day where the Mercury was nudging 36c was always going to make it an interesting day.

Leading into the event I was looking forward to the hit-out for a number of reasons. I was actually yet to complete a full sprint race owing to a swim cancellation meaning my previous attempt had become a makeshift duathlon.

Naturally, this meant I was keen to see where my swim was at. Training had been consistent, albeit consistently slow. I thought that the best I probably had in me for the 750m straight course was around 15 minutes.

The sound of the hooter and the splashes from a multitude of flailing arms and legs had me searching for some fast feet to nestle in behind but, alas, it was not to be. I then set about maintaining a straight track through the murky lake water whilst maintaining a nice, constant stroke rate.

Any feet I did stumble across were slow enough to pass so basically the whole swim was done alone and wondering how I was faring. It was the perfect example of just keeping your focus on the process, rather than the outcome.

I exited the drink in 14:40, better than expected and 6th of 17 in my category. I proceeded to peel off my wetsuit like a ravenous monkey attacking a ripe banana.

I was very conscious of staying composed in transition and taking my time; maybe a little too much. Soon enough I was out (12th in my category in T1) and pumping my legs on the tredley. I had ridden the course a couple of times before in winter duathlons, so I had a bit of an idea of what I was capable of.

Due to a malfunction on one timing mat, the official results also encompassed T2 but it was clear that I had managed my best effort around the flat western loop circuit.

All up, including T2 I carved out 35:59. My previous best was 35:22 sans transition which I'd estimate at around the one-minute mark.

I slipped into my Mizuno Wave Paradox 2's as rapidly as possible and headed out on a gallop. The heat was telling and it was far from my best run, a moderate 25:10 and 10th in my age group.

On the bike at the Hills Triathlon
My time for my first career sprint was 1:17:55 (8th in my AG and 61st of 128 competitors overall.)

There's plenty to improve on and hopefully by the end of this season I can give 1:15 a shake at some stage. I think there's a better swim in me and I can most definitely shave time off T1 and my run.

One positive for the day was nutrition. For the first time I tried Tailwind Nutrition which is a liquid nutrition and hydration system. It worked very well and I'll be using it again.

For now it's onto a 10km run this weekend known as Run With The Wind. While it may sound like a race for people with flatulence, it is actually an event held in and around some wind farms, a pretty cool backdrop.  Two weeks later it is on to the the longer Nepean Triathlon which should be a real test and a heap of fun.

Follow me on;

Twitter - @robsrunblog Instagram - @robsrunblog Strava - Rob Sheeley