Sunday, 2 August 2009

London Triathlon 2009; Race Report!

here she is kids, the race report for my very first Olympic distance Triathlon!

need facts fast? the overview:

total time: 2 hours 50 mins 16 seconds

position in age group: 65th out of 128
position on each leg: 36th on swim, 52nd on bike, 103rd on run

so the race report; complete with pics! here i am at the swim assembly, completely unaware my wetsuit is longer on one leg than the other. where was the stylist here?


one word; washing machine!

it was super chaotic, as somewhat expected, and i thought it would sort itself out in the first couple of hundred meters - but it didn’t, i believe because our wave was so big! i didn’t manage to develop any type of rhythm until after the first turn, at 750 meters, when finally i had some clear water.

the other bad news was i was on the verge of a calf cramp most of the swim. i was so petrified of the cramp that i didn’t use my legs for the last 750 meters. this continued into transition, where the cramp threatened to take complete hold.

> the low point: potential cramp + the number of people in my wave!! too many!! next time i’m swimming wider!

> the high point: over taking a woman in an Ironman wetsuit. that felt gooooood.

> estimated time: 29 minutes
> actual time: 30 minutes



i was so tired from using my arms only that i had no energy remaining to remove wetsuit. also, i was so scared of setting off the cramp that i ended up taking a looooong time to remove wetsuit.

here's me (the one at the front) in a world of pain.

couldn’t run through to my bike, had to walk out potential cramp, so felt really rubbish by the time i left T1. this changed as soon as i jumped onto my bike though - weeeeeeeee!

> estimated time: 4 minutes

> actual time: 6 minutes

here's me coming out of T1 with a very worrying look on my face! not sure what was happening here. damn those overly expressive facial expressions...


okay so for the record; i loooooove cycling!

as soon as i was on the bike my darkened mood lifted and i set off to gain as much time back as possible. this was made a little easier by the beautiful cycle through london, past Tower Bridge, Tower of London, London Eye, right down to Westminster. I smiled a lot + would have broken into song if the route wasn’t so busy!

similar to my swim, i find that if i push myself i’m able to overtake people, so i made an effort to do this as much as possible. particularly if someone overtook me, i’d make sure i work harder to return the favour.

i definitely felt like i was overtaking more people than were doing to me, but in comparison to last tri in how hard i actually pushed myself physically --> i felt as though i could have gone harder. my breathing wasn’t particularly laboured and my legs weren’t screaming. however i was enjoying myself, and still over taking a little, so i was very happy with that!

> the low point: getting someone’s gel wrapper caught in my brakes at the bottom of a big incline! had to stop, get off, de-tangle, and then get up the hill with no run up!

> the high point: everything. i love cycling. it makes me happy.

> estimated time: 1 hour 20 minutes

> actual time: 1 hour 18 minutes

here i am coming off the bike back into T2. feeling good at this point!


this is typically the most painful part of tri's but thankfully, not too painful today, and previously mentioned cramp had disappeared - good news! picked up headband, dropped off bike and off i went!

> estimated time: 2 minutes

> actual time: 1 minute 30 seconds


okay, for the record, i really don’t enjoy running. no surprises there.

the first few kms were tough, legs felt like solid brick weights. started getting into the swing of things in regards to everyone over taking me. it does *really* suck watching all the people who i’d worked to overtake on the bike - now whizzing past me on the run!

after the first lap, with 5km remaining, a lady ran beside me and asked if it was ok to run together; to which i said sure! i knew i didn’t have the breath to run + chat so i asked her to tell me her life story, so we can forget about the pain. running together was good for both of us, she was a little faster than i would have run and she said she would be walking if i wasn’t there - so that was brilliant.

at 9km i asked another lady for the time and we found out we were going to sub 3hrs - BEST feeling of the whole Triathlon! lots of high five slapping and general excitement!

the last 1km was super exciting and by the time i crossed the finish line i was literally jumping with joy --> to the point the commentator even marveled at my excitement! brilliant!

ended up with 54 minutes- which i really can NOT believe. 2 weeks ago I ran a PB of (almost) 58 minutes and after all that cycle/swim I then knocked off another four minutes.

my position in AG was absolute rubbish for the run, but still a very big feat for me personally. with swimming and cycling i'll compare myself to others, but running is still very much a personal battle. thus, am well pleased!

> low point: the whole thing. running doesn't make me happy. at all really.

> high point: finding out we were going to sub 3 hours during the last km! yipppppeeee! AND then doing 54 minutes - my lordy!

> estimated time: 58 minutes

> actual time: 54 minutes

okay so first Olympic Triathlon done + dusted, what have i learnt?

> if you’re going to swim open water, then you need to train open water.

> cycling is really fun. running is less fun.
> did i mention hill runs to help you run faster? hill runs are the *key*
> it’s possible! it’s longer than a sprint; yes; but totally do-able!

and finally, a big thanks to the Al support crew on the day! ant + paul who braved the very wee hours of the morn (before the sun even rose, much kudos!) and then supported through three hours of not-a-lot-happening:) also the finish line crew; steve, peter, maria, arun + lesley who screamed loud and didn't mind sweaty wet hugs. Thanks kids, really does make the world of difference when you're in a world of pain :)

So onto the next challenge! *coming soon*


Trishie said...

yay!! congrats! great race :)

Paddy said...

Great report and a fantastic performance :-)

teacherwoman said...

Great race report! CONGRATS!

Jeremy Hopwood said...

Awesome Job - Love for running will come. Good thing for training is to run about 10 minutes after some rides as fast as you can. Helps get the feeling of running fast out of T2.

Enjoy the acheivement and well done!!!

al said...

thanks guys! really excited to have a standard set for next time, goals to achieve!

great tip too Jeremy, i'm definitely going to work on that. my bricks were v minimal but will incorporate them into normal training routine :)

BILL MOORE said...

Oustanding results from the Al. Beats me running twice around the bedroom and then collapsing on the bed. Sounds like three hours of punishment- cannot understand why.
The Dad.

Jealous said...

H.I.M H.I.M H.I.M !!!

zena said...

congratulations...I will be chasing your time next BIG help for me with the running was to adopt "Chi running" style...I had intended to walk the 10km having only pain from any running training all my life then read this book.just a month ago..suddenly I can sort of jog without stopping , it was quite amazing..... I did do the full distance without walking albeit very very slowly1 hour 3mins...but now I love running and this is my beginning...I urge you to check out this chi running and see if it changes your opinion

Anonymous said...

yes the bike is best and i'm glad that you've learnt that even though this morning my left crank fell off my mountain bike, and I had to pedal with one leg to get me home ...... but pedalling with one leg is infinitely better than running on two .....

Colleen said...

Wow, you did great! You would have beat me, and I've done several olympics and an Ironman now! Great job!