This was my final race of the year and exactly 12 months since my first ever triathlon! The pool swim sprint distance triathlon boasts a fast and flat bike course and a 4 loop run around the sports village.
I’d had a rather busy week leading up to this race and was not feeling great when I dragged myself out of bed at 04:30 on a wet Sunday morning. Pre-race breakfast consisted of some toast and a coffee and made some feeble efforts at trying to hydrate. I racked up my bike and got to registration and set up by 05:45. As usual space was filling up quickly but I managed to get set up just in time before transition closed.
The swim start consists of lining up by the side of the pool in reverse bib number order, waiting for your turn to start. It is 16 lengths (25m each), up and back, under the rope and repeat. My usual problem in the pool is shooting off too quickly, so I made a mental effort to start off at a steady pace. This paid off, despite being overtaken a couple of times (I made a few swimmers in front of me too) I felt strong in the water and easily made it through the 400m.
Out of the pool I didn’t know what happened – I pelted it full pace to my bike and shot out to the mount line (a good 100m jog with the bike). Any time improvements are going to come from skipping socks…need to practice this before trying it out!
Earlier in the week I did a 40km hard session on the my turbo trainer and this seemed to pay off. I attacked the bike section and tried to not let up. Pushing as much as I could meant that I shaved 2 minutes off my previous bike split in May. There was one poor chap stranded by the side of the road with a puncture, I have so far managed to avoid any such incidents!
I was happy to run the distance dragging my bike into transition and after getting told off for having my tri-suit unzipped (never knew this was in the rules?!) I wasted no time in getting out on the run, I could taste a decent time and was keen to get out there.
I think my lack of hydration caught up with me here. I hadn’t had much before the event and because I was pushing on the bike I hardly took on any fluids. After the first lap (which felt good) I got a terrible stitch under my right lung. I broke into a walk for 5 seconds before two club runners screamed at me to keep going, so I got back into a run and it soon wore off.
On the last lap I felt I still had something in the tank and put in a good final push. I knew that my split wasn’t going to be a PB because of the stitch, but I still managed a sub-25 minute 5k which is a big improvement of last year.
Here’s my splits, compared to the May event:
A 9 minute improvement in 6 months!
A Little Surprise
To top off a great season, as they read out the prizes, I somehow won my age group! I think all of the good athletes must have been ill that day.