This is the one I’d been dreading all year…
In the end I enjoyed every minute of it! Knowing that I’ve always been a terrible swimmer I decided I would do something about it through my challenges 30 year. The two things I wanted to do to rectify my poor swimming were learning to Scuba Dive and completing an olympic distance triathlon. I managed the scuba diving right at the start of the year and I’ve now completed a triathlon just before the end.
This morning was another early start with my swim wave of the event beginning at 7am. For once I decided that going down to the location the night before would be a good idea but it sill meant a 5am get up for my long suffering other half. The advantage with getting to the area the night before was that I was able to go and wander around the park where the triathlon was due to be held. I could see where I would be swimming and got to walk round the cycle route. This event was held in Sutton Park in Birmingham and the format was 4 laps of the swim course, 8 laps of the cycle course and finally 4 laps of the run course.
Dreading the swim despite plenty of training over the past year I wasn’t pleased to hear this morning that the course was 4 laps of the route and not the 2 that the information sent out prior to the event had stated. The day before I had got my head around the fact that I would be swimming around the two buoys I could see twice. Nervous though I was I donned my wetsuit and lined up with everyone else for the 7am 15oom swim. Though I know I should have practised swimming in my wetsuit before the event and swimming in open water I just didn’t have the chance. I was definitely more buoyant but a wetsuit doesn’t lend itself to swimming breast stroke. I had however practised getting in and out of the wetsuit the night before in my hotel room. The first time I put it on it took me forever to get it off! My main fear with the swim was the fear of the unknown as I knew I could cover the distance and that I would be ok. I was happy that I managed to stick to my own pace and didn’t try to keep up with everyone else. Being 4 laps of a course did however mean that I was often in the way of other people which I couldn’t really help. On a 1 lap course this clearly wouldn’t have been an issue. I didn’t get out of the water last on the swim and I didn’t give up so I was over the moon to have completed the distance
Once out of the water I was relaxed as I knew I wouldn’t have any issue with the cycle (the distance is roughly my one-way commute to work which I’ve done a fair few times over the past year!) but my legs weren’t quite functioning as I was expecting them to. Thankfully by the time I was out of transition with my bike they had returned to normal and I could get on with it. I thought the course was quite good but speed bumps, tight turns and the fact that the roads weren’t closed did make it interesting at times. I had no idea how I would do on the run after the cycle so I took it quite easy to make sure I still had something left at the end.
Once off the bike my legs weren’t as jelly like as I expected but I’d read that short strides are the best approach until legs are used to the change in discipline so that’s what I did. I wanted to run the whole of the last section without walking so I took my time and enjoyed the last part of the event. Crossing the line was a fantastic feeling and I’m glad that I achieved what I set out to do:
- Swim 1500M in open water (fittingly 30 times further than I managed in one go during my 1st swimming session back in October)
- Enjoy my first triathlon