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Musician. Triathlete. Almost.
Musician. Triathlete. Almost.

Lakeside Sprint Triathlon: Race Report

Bishmanby BishmanJun 20th 2012
Lakeside Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Swim: 16:27
T1: 1:48
Bike: 38:57
T2: 0:55
Run: 20:55

I was seriously excited for this - my first triathlon! I got dropped off before heading to registration. On route I got chatting to a couple of guys from Ashford Tri Club who kindly informed me of the no overtaking rule in force on this race, which was lucky as I obviously hadn't read the Race Handbook closely enough so would surely have been disqualified.

Checked in and set up my transition exactly how I had practiced but was feeling anxious so started talking to the people around me - who were of course my direct competition for the title of age group champion. I was pleased (read: relieved) to find out several of them were doing their first race as well. Confidence successfully boosted. So much so that I was only slightly upset by the fact that between Bristol and Thurrock, via Southend-on-Sea, my goggles had picked up quite a monstrous patch of scratches on each eye which made looking out of them a bit harder. Oh well, too late to do anything about it.

Headed down to the swim start, listened to a funny man deliver a boring oration and then the horn sounded. My swim time seems to be a fairly middle of the road time so I am happy with that, especially considering the borderline hilarious lack of swimming ability I had when joining BAD Tri at the end of last year. I have Matt and Will to thank for that - without them I'd have doggy paddled the whole way.

The swim itself felt prerty comfortable, and deliberately I kept it that way as I still hadn't done a swim/bike/run in succession. The sun was to my right which meant left sided breathing - my weaker side, typical. However, good things to note are that I didn't get kicked in the head or have my wetsuit ripped open or experience any other disaster story. The only problem was that my right goggle was letting in a bit of water which meant I had to stop and empty it about halfway round. I also had a bit of a pain in my left ear shortly after the swim start which was slightly worrying. Breathing on the left, so that it was out of the water, seemed to help alot with this so that by the time the swim looped back and the sun was to my left I was fine to submerge it and breathe on my right without any pain. The water was nice and warm actually, and was much clearer than Henleaze lake so it felt like a special occasion.

I encountered no problems in T1 as evidenced by the supremely average time of 1:48, but noticed a problem 2 minutes into the bike... In my prerace prep I had put a 'hydration sachet' thing in my water bottle which effervesced and then settled. After one swig on the bike I realised it was a mistake. I'd used the sachet before while running and cycling and been fine. What I hadn't used them on was an apres-OW swimming stomach, which was not in the mood for any of the bubbly nonsense going on inside my water bottle.

Oh well, it was done now and I needed the fluid so over the course of the 2-lap bike leg I had drunk two thirds of the bottle. The bike was 2 laps of a 10k route which was on partially closed roads. It was quite fun and I feel like I kept pushing the whole way. There was some good support from people who had turned up to cheer, though some looked like they had no idea what was going on. Why are there a load of dripping wet cyclists on all the roads to a shopping centre at 8am on a Sunday? I'm not sure I know the answer why either, but there we go.

In T2 I had planned on collecting a gel but made the last minute decision that my stomach wouldn't appreciate the offering as it was still feeling a little bit sensitive. The 20:55m 5k time is for me the unremarkable made remarkable by the fact that a month ago I could barely run thanks to a tight IT band causing all sorts of problems up and down my left hand side - back, knee, hip, hamstring... I have since been taught to run again by physiotherapist John Stephenson.

He advised me to run with a forefoot strike, rather than the heel-habit I had been using. This race was actually the furthest I have ever run using this new style of running and it felt exactly that - unremarkable, in the sense that there was no discomfort, which made it remarkable for the same reason. Compared with pre-injury run times this split is actually not much slower than previous 5k times. Running forefoot makes me feel lighter on my feet so I don't think it will be long before I overtake the times of my former self.

The run leg of race could have been quite boring since it was just 4 times up and down a stretch of road, but it was made barable by a mic happy commentator and good sprinkling of crowd. I did my 4 laps and got a bit of a stitch towards the end that prevented a sprint finish, the funny water finally caught up with me. I smiled for the camera anyway and passed over the finish line to end my first triathlon. Woop.

After the race I warmed down and worked out that I was about 3-4 mins slow of what I had predicted based on times for each discipline which meant that I didn't lose much time at all by doing them all one after the other, especially when factoring in transition times. This led to a general feeling of chuffed-ness.

I got the train back to my mum's, fell asleep and felt much better when I woke up. I am surprised with how well my body has taken to the race. My quads feel fatigued, which I really noticed cycling the hills of Somerset to get to work this morning, but they're not sore. My calves feel a little achey which I presume to be run related and my knee feels surprisingly loose and not painful as I expected. My feet actually feel quite sore and it has made me wonder whether my shoes provide enough support for me to really go for it on the bike. At the moment I just wear pretty thin soled converse trainer type things with little pedal cages that came on the bike. Perhaps it's time to make the adjustment to cleats and clip ons.

Based on these results I feel that my cycling needs the most work. To have my swim at 16 minutes literally delights me, though the 21 minute run disappoints me. Looking ahead to the next race - Bournemouth Olympic on 8th July - I can see that I need to put in some work on the bike - technical as well as building endurance. I probably won't make the change to cleats until after the summer as I won't have time to get used to them.

All in all... very pleased!
sarahleonardby member: sarahleonard, Jun 20th 2012 18:28
So you should be very pleased! First one down and now you know what to expect next time!
charlieeliseby member: charlieelise, Jun 21st 2012 16:27
You did AMAZING! You should be very pleased. Yes, go for clipless! You can't make more of a hash of it than me :-)
Bishmanby blog author: Bishman, Jun 21st 2012 19:12
Thanks both - I'm very pleased and can't wait for the next one!
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