Day 6 of Pyrenees Tri Camp with Embrace Sports

Tamsyn and Stuart in the chocolate shop

Tuesday started with a ‘fun’ aquathlon. Before my injuries, I had hoped that I might not be last or at least that I might not be last out of the water and that this would spur me on to run as hard as possible, but my painful arm put paid to that.

Originally, the aquathlon was going to be a 1200m swim, but this was amended to just 2 x 400m loops, although to make it more challenging, we had to get out and run around a cone between the two loops. The run was 3×1 mile loops, so before we got into our wetsuits, we went for a test run.

I had decided to try out my Team SOAS kit. I’ve worn the tri shorts lots as they are the most comfortable cycling shorts that I’ve ever tried, but I’ve never worn the tri top before. It was really comfortable, although perhaps I need a slightly smaller size.

After the run, I managed to put on my wetsuit, but because of my arm, it took a while, so I didn’t have long to get acclimatised to the water. I also spent some time faffing with my goggles. I haven’t quite worked out how to adjust the strap on them yet.

We were set off at 15 second intervals. I think if I hadn’t been injured, I might not have been set off first, but I know that I’m a weaker runner than all of the others.

I did just a few strokes before I realised that my goggles were filling up with water – doh! I stopped to empty and adjust them. My breathing was also bad as I hadn’t had much time to get used to having my face in the water. My arm was very painful and by the time I got to the rocks, I think I had been passed by everyone. As I rounded the corner, I realised that I had to make a decision – I could either quit after one lap or continue and complete the event. My arm was in pain, but it I figured that it couldn’t get any worse and my breathing was improving. As I neared the bank, I could see runners who were already on their second laps.

End of lap 1
End of lap 1
Helen made the most of the photo opportunity
Helen made the most of the photo opportunity

Neil asked whether I wanted to continue, but I decided that I needed to, so that I wouldn’t feel like I had quit everything on the holiday. I got back in the water and started swimming as well as I possibly could, but my arm was really hampering me, so it was mainly front crawl with just one arm.

Eventually, I got out of the water, ready for transition. Jose came over and helped me to remove my bad arm from my wetsuit, and I knelt down to put my contact lenses in. To save time, I decided to run without socks, but I didn’t dry my feet very well.

Whilst I was in transition, I saw Stu and Helen run past and 200m into my run, Jonno caught up with me. He was desperately trying to chase down Stu, who had passed him in the swim. I kept moving and soon completed my first loop.

Elena enjoying the run ©Embrace Sports
Elena enjoying the run ©Embrace Sports

On the second lap, I realised that my shorts are quite big for me and when they’re wet, they start to hang down a little bit, so I may invest in some smaller ones! I also noticed a patch on my left foot where my shoes was rubbing it. They are designed to be seam free, but something was definitely rubbing my foot. I kept going and when I got back to the start, people started clapping and I heard Bernie shouting to me about where I needed to finish the run, but I knew that I still had a third lap to do. I kept moving, but was aware that I was slowing down. As I reached the turn, I put in a big effort to improve my pace, so my final kilometre was my fastest one in the event. It wasn’t the kind of pace that I’d been hoping for, but at least it wasn’t terrible.

Overall, I finished last in the event, but even with my slow transition, it wasn’t the slowest one of the event. Coach Alan finished first, but Stu was the first triathlete over the line because of his strong swim and good run. Go Stuey!

The sun was out when we got back, so there was some time to go in the hot tub and also time to lounge in the sun with the lizards.


In the afternoon, Kat took us into the local village to explore the chocolatier. It was a small shop, but it smelled wonderful!


Stu and I just treated ourselves to a tiny bag of assorted chocolate pieces.

When we got back, I had time to get changed before the masseur, Peter, arrived. He was a nice chap who was originally from Dorset, but who had also raced in Cornwall, so there were quite a few events that we were both familiar with. Peter helped to loosen up my tight calves, but I don’t think that he really managed to do anything to my neck and shoulders, which were still aching.

Later on, there was a nutritional chat with Alan and Graeme. Graeme also talked about lots of different ways that people can trim their race times (including investing in race wheels and an aero helmet), but I don’t think I’m at that level yet. He also discussed the importance of practising transitions. I think that if I have laser eye surgery then that should help to speed up T1!

What are the best tips that you’ve heard to minimise your race times (apart from training!)?

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

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