February 18, 2019

On Triathlon

On Triathlon

On 11/11/18 I wrote a post about running for the first time in long while.
Since then I have been working hard cycling to work most days, swimming at lunch and keeping up running with a scheduled plan in Training Peaks

On 17/02/2019 I completed my first Triathlon at Maraetai Beach

Section Time
Swim + Transition 1 00:14:09
Bike + Transition 2 00:48:43
Run 00:37:43
Total 01:40:34

My goals for this race was simply to finish without ever stopping or walking in the run section.

I started off well in the swim, running into the water slightly after the initial wave of people. Swimming out to the first buoy went quite well, the water was quite choppy, however I have been working on my breathing, taking breath every third stroke apposed to every second as I had done for most my life. This helped a lot in letting me breath on both sides with comfort depending on if there was a wave or a person on either side.
I was not prepared for going around the first buoy. This was my first time swimming in a large group and there was over a hundred people swimming with me. I crashed ahead into several people as I was hit with arms crawling behind me, the density of swimmers increased turning around the first buoy and I felt like there was nowhere to go. I felt like a had to keep moving or continue to be knocked around. My lesson here for next time is to take a wider berth while I am not comfortable with the intensity of the large group of people. I just wanted take the shortest path in the swim, in retrospect It would not have changed my time much because I slowed down so much because of the intensity to calm myself. I would recommend taking the time to take a wider line around the buoy to avoid the mess.

Swim Course

The transition from swim to bike was quite quick. I did not have a triathlon specific suit so I my process was to grab a towel, dry myself off, pull my bike shorts over my jammers, chuck on a t-shirt, socks, shoes, and out. The beach was quite sandy so coming out of the water onto sand into the transition area left me with sand stuck all over my feet. I made a decision in the heat of the moment to just sit for a moment brush off as much of the sand with my towel before pulling on my shoes and socks. I think this ended up OK. Without having actual times for transition, it felt like I spend around 1:30 in transition, it wasn't ideal but I didn't have to adjust or feel any discomfort from my shoes or socks for the rest of the race.

The bike was the best section for me. The course did not have many steep hills which are my downfall when it comes to powering through the bike. I manged to hit some high speeds in the downhill sections which helped me out a lot. Cycling was quite uneventful, I kept a steady pace for this whole section. Tessa(my partner) was participating the the sprint also, this meant that on the bike turn around we past each other and were able to shout encouragement and enjoy the triathlon together. It was amazing seeing just how fast some of the Olympic distance athletes that left before me were going.

Bike course

Transition 2 from bike to run was pretty easy as I didn't have much to change, since I was using my running shoes on the bike the only thing I had to do was take off my bike shorts and re-rack my bike. Running into transition I almost unclipped my helmet before racking (a rule break), I remembered not to do so as I ran down my row. Uh oh, I couldn't find my place. Searching I was looking for my recognisable red swimming towel that was meant to help me find where I had put everything. Who knew that other people would have red towels! I moment of confusion later I realised that I was simply not far along the row. Time to change. Bike shorts off, I opted to also put on some running shorts over my jammers for my own modesty's sake. Afterwards I think this was unnecessary and would have saved me some time and stress here. I would estimate I spend around 2:00 in transition 2.

On to my most dreaded section, the vicious run. Requiring 2 laps this was the toughest section for me. My quads were already sore from the bike ride so I kept to my goals, don't stop, keep running. Slowly but steadily I began the run. Thankfully there was a water aid station at the half way point of the circuit, that really helped me keep moving as it was sunny and hot by that point. Slow and steady, keeping left was my mantra. Not worrying about what anyone else was doing just keep going steadily. The run was two laps so again I got to see Tessa slowly gaining on me, encouragement and happiness, maybe a bit more out of breath this time. At the beginning of the second lap I was a little confused of where to go, it seemed like there was a place to turn before the final chute so I slowed down a little here, figuring out i needed to go into the chute and turn around was the result. This was something I should have scoped out before the race and will do so in the future.
Home stretch, just before the turn around, Tessa catches up. So focused on keeping my footsteps constant I didn't realise for a moment. After some more encouragement we part ways again as she boosts off. I had to finish now, I was so close and she'd be there waiting. Pushing through I sped up my pace, keeping my feet in time with the steady rhythm I played in my head.

Run course

To finish!

Exhausted, I collected water, a cookie time, and a banana. We stuck around for prize giving, I was pretty exhausted to move. A while from home, we grabbed some food on the way and I felt wired. Muscle tired but my brain still felt like it was going on overdrive. That changed rapidly. Getting home around around 13:00, I started listening to my current audio book on the couch and I woke up an hour later having listened to nothing!

I found this to be a incredibly rewarding experience. I plan on entering the next in the People's Triathlon Series, Race 4 Mission Bay on March 17 2019, I have a base time now. I can improve upon it now.