Monday, 23 May 2011

Llanelli Sprint Triathlon.. But Not a Triathlon... Oh Dear!

My first open water event, the Llanelli Sprint triathlon. After a crap nights sleep as I was scared the alarm wouldn't go off and I'd miss the event. I was awake 30 minutes before the alarm was meant to go off, so im sure tonight is going an early night.

I registered yesterday for the event, to save the rush in the morning and take some stress out of the morning. I was given a race t-shirt I decided to get a medium but after trying it on it was to small and I looked like something from a Bruno sketch, but without the hair.

Todays race was:

Swim - 500 meters
Cycle - 17 miles
Run - It was suppose to be 5km but everyone ran a different distance and I ran 6km down to marshals not doing there job.

After setting transition the extreme wind had blown the rain clouds away so I could leave my bike shoes, running shoes outside the box, talc my socks and I was confident they wouldn't get wet down to the rain.

At the race briefing we were told the routes and told to keep an eye out for marshals and they would direct us, by this time I was nervous and ready to get going. The start was split into waves, I was last into the swim (Wave 3) it was cold enough I just wanted to get in and off so the nerves would just go. I hadn't swam 500 meters before outside the pool, so no pushes off the wall just me and the open water. The biking and running I've done before so I knew I wouldn't have issues with that.

After waves 1 and 2 had left and got out the water wave 3 got in and to be honest the water wasn't that cold, I got in, stuck my head under the water had a little paddle and made my way to the back, I didn't fancy a punch in the face from a rogue arm so I went to the back. The hooter bellowed and off we went. I got straight into my stroke and felt great, the water wasn't as salty as I remember since last time I swam there. There were 1 or 2 people who were swimming all over the shop and bouncing around like a pin ball machine. I just stayed out their way and key sighting on the building in the horizon.

The swim came to an end and and getting out of the dock was hard enough as the ramp out of the dock was VERY slippy and I saw a few athletes fall over trying to get out, I wish the even organisers had put a better mat down or made it easier for us to get out. Up the slight incline I went to the transition area and I managed to get three quarters of my wetsuit off before I got to the bike. I was well chuffed with that as the previous times it had take me over 10 minutes to get out of the suit. I was expecting it to be cold on the bike and I had packed a my long sleeved cycle jacket, but I didn't feel the cold, either I was already to cold to feel it or I was turning into a proper athlete and focus on the race and not the elements. By now the suit was off a got my socks on and bike shoes on, im going to have to start running  and cycling without socks, even though the change was pretty seamless I still think it will be for the greater good. Last to take off was my swimming caps and goggles, I do this as I want to keep as much heat in a possible till the last minute. Got my cycle helmet on and unhooked my bike and I was off. I pushed the bike by the stem, something I learnt at the Celtic Tri training weekend, I dont think I have enough confidence yet to push the bike by the seat, but im sure it will come after practise.

Off I went and after the first corner the wind hit me BOSH, like a brick wall, this was the first time I had cycles competitively and the first time I had experienced cycling in this kind of wind. I found it hard to get into a rhythm on the bike but after a good 20 minutes on the bike I was chasing people down, I kept on seeing the same 3 jerseys for a while as I would overtake them and they would return the favour 5 minutes down the road, so it was always good to keep them in my radar. It was great using a road bike and I definably noticed the difference to the hybrid. On the flats I managed to gulp down my Lucozade drink and it tasted horrible, it was the lime flavour that was given out for free at the Cardiff event, note to self stay clear of that one.after being out on the bike for just under and hour i could see the final junction before the turn for transition, I got out eh saddle and peddled, get the legs out of the normal cycle position and get them ready for the change from bike to foot. I managed to dismount the correct way, something again I learnt at the Celtic Tri training weekend and off I went into transition. A quick-ish turn around and off I went and  I remembered to take my cycle shoes off this time. Out of transition and into the sand blasting tunnel, lovely. Now this is where the event went wrong.. Very Wrong!

I didn't think I was that far behind the elite athletes but I saw a few I knew coming back very quickly, all with puzzled looks on there faces, one of my friends shouted something when I ran past him the opposite way but I didn't hear what he said. I now know what he said "turn back!". The marshals had totally cocked up the run part of the event and people ended up running a mixture of distances varying from 2km to 8km, I was one of the lucky ones which ran 6km. Which was a long way in the sand blasting coastal footpath.

The event has been annulled as a triathlon because of the run distance errors, and I was totally gutted as im still yet to compete in a full open water triathlon. I was one of 228 people doing the race and im sure everyone feels disappointed in the organisation of the the event on the day and I hope we can get some sort of discount on the event next year.. if there is one!

I'm happy with my position of the ranks under halfway on the swim and a little slower on the bike, something to work on for the next race. I also hit the 700 miles for the year on this event, only 300 to go for the big 1000.

Todays session

Duration 01 41 53

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