Thursday evening was my first Eastleigh aquathlon of the year at Lakeside. Last year, I did the novice event. It was my intention to move up the full (sprint) distance… but that was before my shoulder injury.
Choosing my race distance
I spoke to the organisers and they said that as it was a mass start, I could make my decision when I was in the lake, which would give me an opportunity to see how my arm was feeling. That’s what I love about TryTri – they really do their best to accommodate everyone’s needs.
I signed in and then got marked up.
After chatting with a few friends, it was time for the race briefing and a few words from ActiveCoach, the event’s sponsors.
We then headed over to the start of the swim. This year, the events are chip timed, so I collected my chip before getting into the lake. It was very slippery, so several people did a ‘bottom shuffle’ to get into the lake. I was a little more dignified, but not much!
The water wasn’t unpleasantly cold, but I had spent so long getting myself organised that I didn’t really have enough time to acclimatise properly. I must remember to get in the lake earlier next time, so that I’m ready to swim when the race starts.
I’d love to be able to say that I had a great swim but I didn’t (and the photos clearly show that my technique was terrible). My right shoulder was still in a lot of pain and it felt like the lap and a half took forever. Finally, I neared the end, so I started kicking frantically, to help with my blood circulation. This seemed to work as I didn’t feel light-headed as I emerged from the lake… but it did nothing for my clumsiness. I trip and managed to hit my knee, which was painful.
In transition, I was acutely aware of how slow I’d been, but I decided that I would wear socks anyway. My feet blistered when I did my last aquathlon without socks. I also had to remove my watch to get my wetsuit off. To try to save a few seconds, I decided not to put my contact lenses in, which, in hindsight, was a mistake.
I put my watch back on and headed off on a 2.5km lap as fast as I could, which turned out to be not very fast at all.
On the run
Ben was out on the course cheering people on, which was great and I knew it wouldn’t take too long before I finished.
After crossing the railway line, Ian passed me with Sonia giving chase. They congratulated me on my swim. They clearly hadn’t realised that I’d only done the novice distance – oops.
By this point, I had remembered why I refuse to run with my glasses. I always end up feeling motion sick. As a consequence, I ran quite a lot of the race with my eyes closed, which is not something I would recommend to others!
Someone passed me, but I wasn’t ready to give up that easily, so I pushed harder and managed to get ahead again. There are a couple of downhills and short sharp inclines in the final 1km. These helped me to pull ahead a little bit further. In the final 400m, my coach passed me, on his way to winning the sprint event.
Eventually, I crossed the line where I was rewarded with a bottle of water and some delicious dried strawberries from Urban Fruit. I then cheered in the other participants, including my husband who missed out on 3rd place in the sprint event by less than a second.
I finished 12/16. My swim took 14:10 (13th) and my transition took 2:09 (13th), but my run made up for some of it as 12:55 was 10th! Overall, it took me 29:15 and I was the 4th female finisher. This is quite disappointing as my results from last year’s aquathlon show that I finished in 27:52. Next month, I’ll be aiming to do the sprint distance.
A massive thank you to Paul A. Hammond for all of the lovely (and not-so-lovely) photos!