A belated report on my first attempt at a triathlon down in Ainan, the weekend before last. I was nervous leading up to the race, as still not entirely sure if I would last the 1.5 km swim and also I was told that the swim might have more in common with a rugby scrum, than a mutual we're all in this together vibe. So a slight step into the unknown.
Some people from the local tri club were competing, so lined up next to them as they were in my age group and swim wave. I'm a slow swimmer, 2:00-2:05 pace for distance swimming in the pool, so figured ¾ of the way back in my wave (2 out of 3) would be good. But from the start, realised I had got it wrong, as couldn't get anywhere to start with, as you were waiting for the people in the front rows to move, and then you had the task of going past them. Turns out my slow swimming is better than average for the people who signed up for the event. Makes it awkward, as if you are catching someone up, then obviously, they are a worse swimmer than you, which means you don't want to contact them, as it might unsettle them too much, causing them problems.. But you can't just sit behind them...organisers need to sort the situation out – they asked for estimated swim time when you entered, but didn't seem to pay any attention to it in organising the waves???
Anyway, first lap to the buoy fine, but the way back seemed to get longer..will I last the second lap??? Laboured jog round the marker then dive back in for the second lap. No problems, but round the buoy, there was someone on my right, someone on the inside, and then someone tried to barge up on the inside, so got a nice mouthful of water, and they got a firm response, which put me off my stride a bit for the way back. Made it to the end for a swim time of 32:29.
Another laboured jog through transition, - top, socks, shoes, glasses, helmet, and banana, then bike Just under 4 mins, but most of that was due to the laboured jog. Bike is a climb from the transition area, so took it easy, then 4 laps of about 135m climbing each lap. Pace was about threshold level as couldn't climb at VO2 pace. Tried to freewheel the descents as much as possible to save energy, but the leader came past as I was doing that at the end of the 1st lap...oops. 3rd lap realised I was going to be short of my sugar water – 750ml wasn't enough. Fourth lap the climb started taking a toll and took more effort to sustain the pace. Rolled into T2 for just inside 1 hour 17 – near the bottom of my time limit for that type of course. (40km / 550m ascent)
Changed shoes, had drink and banana to make up for lack of nutrition on the bike, then got out of transition and my body said 'I want to stop'. Training ride, I would have, but it was a race!!! A few strides later, stitch hit: banana ha never caused a problem before. Run course 3.3km with a climb at the start of each lap – first lap was the longest 3.3 km i've ever run, and started getting thirsty and hot. So walked through the 2 aid stations a lap, drinking and pouring water over my head. Leader came past halfway through the first lap, so tried to put on a smile for the cameraman tracking him. Second lap I walked 2-3 times up climb, but knew I could make it to the finish. Third lap 5-6 walks up the hill.
Was just trying to count down the distance to the finish – certainly all the crowds watching helped block the effort. Finishing straight came up and they announced my name, so thought, ok, sprint finish for the camera. One stride and cramp hit in the inner right thigh...oh dear. Few more strides, and cramp in inner left thigh, so just tried to run as I was and smile. Just over 54 minutes for the run, that's more a jog than a run!
Basically swim fitness. You could argue I overbiked for my swim fitness, but I need to work on the swim for the next one. But I was happy with the swim time considering I couldn't swim more than 1 length of freestyle before running out of oxygen when I started. And work out why I got so hot and thirsty. Total time 2:47; overall 90/317 and 13/43 in my age group...so-so. So 3 months to work on my swimming for the next one. A slow report, as i have been worn out since the race - a week and a half later and I am still on recovery mode - no intensity, everything easy.