Training DiaryMay 31, 2006 - Morning swim - technique drills, body position and roll.
The event was Taunton Deane Tri, an annual sprint-length triathlon with a shorter, novice-length companion. The novice seemed doable: it's a 200m pool swim, 13k hilly/twisty bike course and 2.5k run. I've done half-marathons (slowly); I was born on a bike; just needed to learn to swim crawl, then. How hard can it be?
The event management was great and very friendly. Everything was coned and gated off with lots of big cheerful signs (though the sad-face and smiley-face route signs on the toughest hill were distracting!). We got to lay out our transition areas with bike, helmet and tat; after mentally rehearsing it all a couple of times and watching other people transition, I rearranged it all several times. At registration I got my marking: 128 on my upper arms - cool, now I feel like a real triathlete. (Stop laughing at the back)
The swim was always going to be the hard bit, and it was. Apart from the "special" swimmers, I was slowest in over a hundred novices. But I did it and that's all I wanted to do: survive.
On to T1. Anal-retentive prep really paid off here. Goggles are off before I get to my station; vest on, helmet on, race number on. Feet dabbed on the towel where the helmet was, then into talced shoes (no socks), gloves on but open and I'm away - run the bike to the mount box and ride away. Do up gloves while riding.
The ride was always going to be my strong suit. I was on a fixie (69" gear) and the course was short and hilly so the only option was full-on nuclear assault. Passed five riders, mostly on non-competitive bikes. It turns out that this is about as hilly as tri courses get, so I might not need to go shopping for another bike after all. Then again, with a *freewheel* I'd have gained at least half a minute compared to the fixie... anyone got a road bike for sale?
T2 was trivial: rack the bike, kick off the bike shoes, into running shoes, and twist the number belt around to face forward while running out. The run itself was mechanical, very small steps (quads a bit over-used on the fixie with all that hill-dancing). Grab a drink at the drink station and plod on round.
Times, then. Swim: 6:26. Yeah, well. Bike (including transitions): 34:52, 12th in the field. Run 14:47, halfway down the field. 32nd out of 106 overall in 56:05.
I'm pretty chuffed. I know I can work on that swim - that's not crap, it's newbie: just needs a bit of coaching and lots of lunchtime sessions. And I can polish the run too, I was kinda chuntering that and hadn't done any pace work since, oh, April, relying on my Half conditioning to get me round and I ran it at a sedate Half pace.
So I've entered the Bude sprint tri and taken season hire on a wetsuit. Which I can't do up on my own...
Since I *am* shinsplinty, and they say "train your weaknesses, not your strengths," this week must be totally focused on the swim.
Today's top tip: a sort of weird "hoom" hum when breathing out.