Monday, 2 September 2013

My first triathlon

Back from Italy just in time to compete in my first ever triathlon!

I found out about the Faringdon triathlon this time last year when it was using the pool on a day I had intended to swim.  This time last year I was still recovering from the knee problem I'd had all summer, so to compete in the 2013 event became my fitness goal.  I also felt it would be a good challenge on passing 50 years old earlier this year.

So off out of the house before 7:00 for registration.  I had little or no idea what was going on when I arrive and didn't have a clue what I was supposed to do with the transponder they gave me when I registered but things gradually began to come together, especially once I got talking to the guy next to me in the transition area who was doing his third event and was 7 years older than me.

And I have to say, it was actually really exciting getting ready with everyone.  There were clearly some very serious triathletes there, with some very expensive bikes and excellent other kit.  But then again, there were some very overweight people who planned to ride mountain bikes.  I was struck by how friendly it all was.  Probably 90% of the people there were there just to finish or were racing their own best times. 

So I was in the second block of 16 swimmers, setting off about 20 minutes after the first group.  I had thought this part would be very easy but I felt slightly intimidated by the speed of the people who set off with me and I went too fast at the start.  But once in a decent rhythm it was ok. 

The bike ride turned out to be much tougher than I had expected with a really hilly route down to Highworth that had three decent sized hills on it.  Coming back, the third hill was absolute murder, with some riders pushing their bikes up it.  I did pass quite a few people though during the ride (and was passed by one)  But once over this, I actually felt quite good as I finished the ride.

The first bit of the run was very poor, as the familiar "jelly legged" post cycling feeling occurred.  But things gradually improved as the run continued, until the last kilometre or so when I started to get cramp in my left calf.  I slowed down quite a lot in the last bit, though I did raise my pace as I came to the finish line.  I don't thnk I've ever been cheered by a crowd at a finish line before.

My time?  1 hour 44 minutes exactly.  11 mins for the swim, 50 mins for the bike ride, 40 mins for the run and 3 mins in transition.  Probably the run was the most disappointing as I had hoped to be sub-35 mins for that. 

So from here I am keen to do another one over the winter somewhere and then try and do the next distance up next year.

A really excellent event - really well organised by the gym

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