Having never taken part in a triathlon in my life (almost 40 years) I have now done 2 in 6 days. Oddly, I still feel ok, not that I could have said that at about 4.15pm yesterday!
I am also now enough of a triathlete to be able to outline exactly why my race should have been 10 mins faster and why I was down 10 mins on where I should be 🙂 but I will come to that….Firstly, The Fritton triathlon course was superb. It was a very well organised event with a pretty , fairly flat bike ride, a great swim in the lovely Fritton lake and then a nice run in the grounds of Fritton, so all off road and on a nice relatively flat trails. I enjoyed the whole course and my congratulations to Simon Edwards and his team for putting on a great event.
Now, that 10 mins…..I set off for the swim with the intention of completing the course, not competing on it. So I was always aiming to finish rather than get any placing (which was a good thing bearing in mind my 10 min issue). I set off for the swim intentionally at the back of the pack to avoid the melee that can happen in the mass of the pack. The downside of this is that I found myself having to check myself to avoid swimming into people in front of me. I also found within the first 100 mtrs that my goggles were very happy to fill with water and defeat the objective of allowing me to see underwater, this meant I was having to swim a fair bit of breast stroke to keep my head out of the water (new goggles will be on order tonight). The goggles and my position meant I probably cost myself a minute in this section. This was my first open water race swim so was an important learning exercise and one I have to say I enjoyed, I was also reminded how much harder open water swimming is than in a pool and that I need to do much more work on that over the next 8 weeks.
Then onto the bike, which I have to say I really enjoyed. A nice course and after last week I was able to pace myself much better. This was clear to me on looking at my split times where I was only just over 1 min behind a pal of mine who has cycling as his strong suit (yes Richard that is youJ) and last Sunday he had about 5 mins on me on the bike. So I was very pleased with that and I know I can still work harder on that. My concern with the bike leg, much like my real worry on the swim is how I will cope with double the distance in an Olympic race.
Lastly the run. This is where things deteriorated big time and I lost over 10 mins on Richard. My weight definitely plays a part in this so I know I have work to do there. It was clear I faltered badly here, it was on the run and only about 5 mins in that I started to suffer with my injury, it became quite acute at one point and I had no option but to take a walking break. This meant that for most of the run I was doing a 5 min jog (slowly) and then a minute walk to ease my back and it was only after about 3.5K that I felt it ease off and the muscles had warmed up and I was able to get back into a steady jog. Let me be clear however, this steady jog, for many people would only be the pace of a fast walk!
Finally I crossed the line, with a bit of a sprint for the last 20 mtrs, though what felt like a sprint may have looked more like a decent pace jog to others :-). I always find it odd that no matter how tired one is, with a crowd watching the body is able to pull out a push at the end of a race.
I spent a fair bit of the second lap of the 5K run wondering why I had agreed to do this and promising myself it would not happen again. This view lasted right up until about 5 seconds after I crossed the finish line. At this stage, my mind went directly into thinking, right I have 8 week to prepare for an Olympic distance now and what do I need to work on.
The answer to that is clear to me, I need more swim practice to build strength, sort my shoulder and loose enough weight to enjoy a better-run finish.
All in all, I had a hugely enjoyable race. To fish my day off I spent the evening at a black tie dinner at the Great Yarmouth racetrack. I was tired but the company was excellent and or a great cause so I had a good time and collapsed in bed shortly before midnight.
I am typing this on Sunday and am already planning, with my excellent coach (Mark Harman) , my training for this week, which will include a fair bit of core work too.