This weekend I raced in the HSV Sprint Triathlon. It was the first tri I entered last year and I really enjoyed the course. It consists of a 400m indoor pool swim, a 20km bike ride in country lanes and 4 laps (5km) around the sports village to round it off. As my first race of the year, I was hoping to use this to get back into racing, brush up on some transition technique and see which areas I need to work on.
Race prep went fairly well, I started the day at 4am with a black coffee, porridge and some white toast for breakfast. I have packed all of my kit the night before so it was mainly a case of loading up the car and getting my bike on the roof. I arrived in plenty of time and got my bike and helmet labelled up and transition organised with plenty of time to spare.
Swimmers are set off at 15 second intervals and swim 16 laps over the 8 lanes of the 25m pool. After my recent open water swim training, I’ve been training my mind to slow down my stroke and focus on long strong reps and deep breathing. This started off fine and I was very pleased to complete the whole distance with front crawl (last year I resorted to breaststroke after about 200m). However, as a sign of things to come, my tri-suit was causing me some discomfort in the male department after 100m or so, and this meant I had to keep stopping at each end to try and get sorted out, which then meant other swimmers were catching me and I had to wait to let them by. This resulted in quite a long swim time (11 mins) but I was pleased to get out feeling good.
Last year I posted a 3 minute + T1 time, so I was very keen to improve on that. This time I only put on a cycling top as I thought I might get a chill still being wet. However I hadn’t practiced putting in on with wet arms, which took quite a bit longer then I’d hoped. Still, I got out in just under 2 minutes which was an improvement.
The first five minutes my legs felt heavy and slow after the swim, but I soon got into it and felt very strong the whole way round. In fact I was holding back so I could focus on improving my run time this year. I undid my bike shoes too early coming back towards T2, but other than that the dismount was fine, however the 100m+ run from the dismount line to transition was not overly welcome.
This was nice and quick, just how I had practiced it. Cycle top off, helmet, run shoes on, pull race belt round and off.
This was a nightmare. My tri suit (perhaps being wet, I don’t know) was really causing me grief which meant I was stopped evening few hundred metres in the first lap. I eventually settled into a steady but slow pace which I could sustain but I was really frustrated, I’ve put a lot of work into my run speed over the past 3 months and felt very fresh to push it but just couldn’t.
I finished in 1 hr 31 mainly down to my tri-suit problems. However my nutrition, race prep and transitions were much improved. I’m racing this course again in September so a good target to aim for and hopefully see some big improvements. I can see an easy 5 minutes gain in that performance and will be working on my swim next. Time to go shopping for a better suit…