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Tri blogging from Tamworth, Staffordshire
Tri blogging from Tamworth, Staffordshire
I'm new to the sport of Triathlon coming from a running background which I originally took up in Nov '12 in order to lose weight. This is my blog and journey into the world of Triathlon. I have my first sprint under my belt and now I'm aiming for the Outlaw in 2014 !

Follow me @ojslater on Twitter

My first open water swim & meeting IronMorph !

owenslaterby owenslaterJul 1st 2013
It's fair to say that this week did not go as planned - not by any stretch of the imagination ! However I took positives out of it and made the best of the week where training was concerned and of course treated myself to some 'goodies' ! So here is the week that was - I hope you enjoy the blog :o)

Monday's bike ride was cut short due to my right pedal falling apart on the one side and rendering the cleat 'catch' mechanism useless hence I only did 11 miles which was far from what was planned... So I limped back home hoping not to have any further issues !

Hence a quick call to Halfords was in order as I had only had the pedals a couple of weeks.

Halfords called back the next day offering a free replacement and fitting ! Well done for excellent customer service to Halfords in Tamworth !


However my day was brightened up by the arrival of my new open water swimming goggles from Aqua Sphere - the Seal 2.0 ! I intended to test these out at my next weekly swim after applying anti-fogging spray.
My first open water swim & meeting IronMorph !
My first open water swim & meeting IronMorph !
If you're wondering what the reflection says, it was a t-shirt given to me after the birth of our first child and it reads "I'm the daddy" !

Tuesday became a day off as I needed to crack on with decorating the conservatory - the previous evening had been a complete disaster so I was now a day behind ! My left calf muscle was also still sore from the weekend's long run so it seemed sensible to take a night off from training.

Mid-week was much better as it saw the purchase of my new Speedo wetsuit from a specialist Triathlon shop near my home. I had done some research on the web and noticed this shop had some pretty good offers on old 2012 stock. Since I was after an entry level wetsuit and on a budget, their sale naturally appealed to me !

After a quick fitting session I decided to go with the Speedo Tri-event as the Orca suit felt tight around me neck, even though it was the better quality wetsuit.
My first open water swim & meeting IronMorph !
I recieved some pretty good advice on fitting and overall customer service. It was clear that the shop owners value their customers input and I'll be returning in the future. So as always, if someone has sold a product well with good service then they get a shout out from me :o)


Hence on Thursday I raced back from London to get to my first open water swim at Dosthill Quarry. I posted some pics on my blog (My legs are ready to drop off!) a couple of weeks back. Here is some information about it on the web.

It was raining lightly on the evening time as I paid my £4 and registered at the site hut, ticking all the boxes that said "Yes, I'm a confident and strong swimmer in open water" - Ahem !

There were half a dozen divers there and a couple of other people swimming too. The quarry has a system of buoys that if you follow the markers gives you 400m a lap.

I headed into the changing area - a transportation container and pulled on my tri-suit and then the wetsuit the way the shop had shown me to do. Without too much fuss it was time to head out with my Speedo Tri-event and also my new googles from Aqua Sphere.

It was a pleasant surprise to find out that my suit really did keep me warm. I was a little suspicious that buying an entry level wetsuit would mean sacrificing performance but it was great. Another bonus were my goggles that I'd purchased were tinted but they were perfectly usable in the evening light ! They were very comfortable and adjusted really easily giving good vision. I applied some anti-fog spray just before going in and that seemed to do the trick.

It was a little odd heading out to the first markers with divers & fish beneath you and twigs & ducks on the surface ! After a couple of minutes my breathing settled down and I started to put into practice my swimfit lessons. Overall I seemed to put more effort into moving my arms but I reckon my suit will ease up a little. I definately noticed the extra buoyency glide as I kicked my legs. I had to adjust my head position in order to sight the buoys which will take a little practice.

Without wanting to state the really obvious, swimming in open water is completely differant to swimming in the baths ! You can see why people always advise to get at least one session in before a race and not to turn up to a Triathlon without never having swam in open water before !

It made me realise that I had some work to do in the next 3 weeks leading up to the Birmingham Triathlon ( ) and that I'd have to re-think my training schedule. Wednesday nights at the public swim baths would now have to be replaced by a 1600 metre swim down at the quarry ! Given the opening times of the quarry I'd have to juggle my training sessions around a bit too.

The next day my shoulders and upper arms ached a bit but in a good workout type of way if you know what I mean. The downside was that my left calf/hamstring was still tight and a little sore. Hence Friday and Saturday became further days off. I had a half marathon race on the Sunday booked and was hoping for a PB. But on Saturday evening I had to make the decision not to race as I didn't think running 13.1 miles was going to help.

I had only 3 weeks until my next tri and didn't want to pull out of that ! Hence I decided to head down to the Dosthill quarry on the Sunday morning instead as I didn't want to waste the weekend completely and figured that swimming would be lower impact on my leg and that the cold water could only help ???

Given that the sun was out on Sunday morning I wasn't regretting my decision, the quarry was very busy with divers and I was the first open water swimmer there. Getting into the water was fantastic, it only took a couple of minutes to get used to the cold and then I headed out into the clear water. I found I adapted a lot better this time, swam continuously for longer and generally had more confidence in the water.

Half way into the swim session another open water swimmer appeared who was aiming for his first triathlon too. It was good to have some company for the last 2 laps of the session. I managed 4 x 400m which was a grand total of 1600 meters - almost a mile :o) The Birmingham Triathlon will be a 750m open water but I'm keen to get as much open water practise in as possible for next year's races too.

At the end of the session I met another triathlete, Sid, who I wanted to bring to everyone's attention. Sid does a lot of charity work and last year he entered the Outlaw Ironman which was his first Triathlon !

"As I came off the bike for T2 I was last, dead last. I had spent 22mins in T1 and as I was getting changed in T2 a marshall came up to me and said "if you don't exit transition now I'll have to bin you" hence I started walking out immediately and left all my gels etc behind!". He finished in 16hrs 45mins and is back again this year to do the whole race for charity again but this time in a 'morph suit' !!

Please follow Sid @sidowski and if you're able to, support his activity. He is just short of his £10K target for this race.

"6 day countdown #outlaw Ironmorph for @Bham_Childrens text RUNS99 £10 to 70070 or Thankyou." - Extract from Twitter - his blog. Some great pictures of IronMorph :o) - his charity page

Back home as I was hosing down my wetsuit and unpacking, the leg didn't feel any worse for wear so I figured I'd made the right decision. It also felt a lot better when I got up on Monday morning for work too.

So this week I will reset my training schedule and try not to overdo it but it will definately include more outdoor swimming, biking and a gentle introduction back into running again !

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I'll read the comments and plan this blog around them !

Follow me on Twitter @ojslater
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