I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon today at Leeds Castle. The water temperature was 25.5c so it was a mandatory no wet suit swim and the prospect of 1500m without the suit was daunting given the heat and cramping from needing to kick more for buoyancy. The swim was OK though, I would have been faster in the wetsuit but I enjoyed it.
The cycle was decent, a 42km ride from Leeds Castle to Ashford along the A20. The first 20km was good and I had smashed my fastest 5km and 20km PBs. The turn at the ashford roundabout was when the challenge started – it was a head/side wind up hill climb with some fast descents mixed in. Confidence on the bike has massively improved from last year and that could be seen from the segment comparisons. Up to this point I was pleased.
Then came the run. I remember the run from last year when I did the sprint triathlon, hilly is an understatement but this year I got to do it twice. I decided to take it easier on the run and sow the pace down on the hills and just get through it. I had a bad hamstring cramp at 4km then worse at 6km and twinges to the end. I was not going to stop and the finish line soon came. I was pleased to get through what was a very challenging event. All good training for the half Ironman (eek)!
I completed the sprint triathlon at Sussex Triathlon this morning at Ashburnham place. I did this event last year as it’s tough and good prep for other events planned (although last year was in better weather). This was my first triathlon in a year and first since my achilles tear!
I completed the event in just over 2 hours. I know I can do a lot better than that but it was quicker than last year.
Swim – unlike last year I started from near the back and that was a mistake. Last year I started from the front and got carried away with a faster pace than I wanted. By contrast this year I set off from the back and got stuck in a group that I couldn’t break out of. I got kicked in the face and shoved a few times by a man that seemed to struggle with his sighting and melted zig zagging. I finally got free too late. My swim time was a couple of minutes faster than last year but I could have gone faster. Lesson learnt to work on.
I need to work on spending less time in transition 1. I spent a few minutes in transition which included quite a long way to the mount start.
Cycle – the weather wasn’t the greatest today. I cycled the route yesterday in the morning sunshine. By contrast today was windy and some spots of rain. The ground was a little slippy and it felt cold on the bike out of the water. The first 11km of the bike is climbing with some technically tricky winding downhills into steep uphills. Cycle felt good until the downhill section, a sudden gust nearly pushed me off my bike on the first downhill which rattled my confidence but that said the final section into the steep uphill back to the T2 was comfortable. I targeted a sub one hour but just missed that.
Again the run back to transition with the bike wasn’t comfortable which would be the main negative of my run. I usually use the transition run to get my legs comfortable with running.
The run at Ashburnham is described as flat. It isn’t. It has some undulation, muddy obstacles and a bridge to run/walk across. The route requires athletes to run three 1 mile laps around the lake that we swam in. I couldn’t get comfortable on the run and felt flat, possibly because I didn’t fuel well enough and partly because I still had lactic acid in my legs. My pace was poor but I got through it.
Overall this was a training event for me to get familiar with triathlon. I can do so much better than I did today. I’ve learnt a lot for the longer distance races I have planned for the next few months.
I targeted 2 hours and wasn’t far from that. I was disappointed with the time because I know I can swim and run better than I did but as a training event I got it done and know where to improve. This is all a learning exercise for me, the journey has only just started and I’ll look at today in the future as a good lesson.
I love to cycle, swim and run (currently in that order of preference). On a journey to being a triathlete. My first triathlon was at Hever Castle in 2017, since then I have completed 5 triathlons including an Olympic distance in 2019. I aim to complete a Ironman 70.3 in September 2019. This is to record my ups and downs in that journey to doing my best at triathlon.