From the sublime to the ridiculous
by TriHardAlanMay 5th 2013
Another day, another qualifier. Today it was the Box End Aquathon in Bedford, qualifier for the World Aquathon Championships in Hyde Park, same week as the World Triathlon Championship. Preparation was not ideal with the lakes not yet being enticing enough to get any wet suit practise in but as a friend and training buddy pointed out, was this an issue, I¬'m hardly a novice at the onset of my fifth full season. Still, wouldn¬'t have minded some practise to see if my efforts to improve my swim over the last few months had borne any fruit. A pool based 750 time trial on Monday with wet suit of 13.47 was encouraging, especially as I had only once before dipped under 15 minutes in OW, but not conclusive proof of improvement.
Expectations; Swim close to 13 minutes and run under 19, as a minimum.
Swim; Got in the water as early as possible to get acclimatised to the cold (didn¬'t believe for one second the organisers claim that the water was 14 degrees) and had a good warm up with some intervals at race pace. Was a bit worried my hands would freeze and I would struggle in transition but apart from that wasn¬'t too bad. As the gun went off I quickly found myself in the last place I wanted to be, on my own. On an up, across and back course spent the first section catching the group in front of me. On the way back, I did just that. Felt I was swimming well and worked through that group getting a decent draft as I did so. The next group I couldn¬'t get quite so close too though. Sighting was easy and I exited the water feeling I had swam reasonably well and glanced my watch and got my first shock of the day, 11.41. I looked again, yep, really did say 11 something. Official time by the time I crossed the mat, 11.59
Transition; Went smoothly, wetsuit of quickly, no problems with the hands, trainers on and out. 52 seconds.
Run; I went of hard. Running through my mind ¬"right you f***ers, here I come¬". With a return to run form recently I was confident of chasing everybody down, and did just that. On a twisty turny course, with switchbacks and short sharp ascents, all of road, I was loving this, totally my element. Passed a couple of people I know early on who are normally way ahead of me in the swim, so that was encouraging. Only thing I was lacking was people with ¬"I¬" on their calf, passed a couple and as I approached the last couple of hundred metres saw one more ahead of me and set off after him but despite a ¬"good finish¬" comment from a spectator and closing fast I ran out of ground. How close was it? We were given the same time. And he was a registered athlete, would I pay for that? Time 19.22
Overall time; 32.13
Summary; Well, the swim was definitely short so I can¬'t take my time as a PB. How short? Not sure but there was definitely some improvement, I was much closer to people I know today than usual. However, after that it¬'s all downhill. Out of 13 male athletes in my AG my swim was slowest. That is depressing. Was the standard higher than usual? Of course but it¬'s the standard I aspire too so it¬'s no excuse. More work required. Needless to say I didn¬'t qualify for the worlds. I finished 11th in AG and everyone ahead had registered. I did finish within 108% of the AG winner so have a percentage and only 22 athletes have registered with 25 slots so it¬'s not quite over yet but it¬'s fair to say the fat lady is warming up right about now.
Was there any consolation in the run? Well, I missed my sub 19 target but the course put paid to that. So how did I do? 1st in AG. Together with last in swim that is truly the sublime to the ridiculous.
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