My first Olympic Distance Triathlon

My first Olympic distance triathlon was the GU Energy Weymouth Bay Triathlon. As it was in Weymouth and started at a typically early time, Stu and I had to get up at 4:45am. We ate breakfast and then drove to Weymouth, where we parked the car and went to register.

It was our first Bustinskin event and we were impressed by the organisation. We collected envelopes with our race numbers and stickers (for bike, helmet, hat, wrist and bag) in them.

GU triathlon number
Lucky number 137

Racks were numbered, and I was pleased to see that I was next to Stuart, which is always reassuring. It’s helpful to have numbered bike racks as it’s a small decision taken away from me.

There were various distance events going on: sprint, standard and middle. I think probably quite a few of the people who had signed up for the middle distance event were using it as a warm up for Challenge Weymouth, so they had come from far and wide. There were also some local people that I recognised, including Brian Grierson (a fantastic veteran) and also Luke, from LRR.

Start of Gu Weymouth Middle distance
Watching the competitors line up for the start of the middle distance event.

After we watched the start of the Middle distance event, there was a bit of time for selfies with Liz, before our final race preparations.

Selfie with Liz Gu Weymouth
Quick selfie with Liz © Liz Carter
Group shot before Gu Weymouth
Group shot at the start (L-R Stuart, Suzanne, Me and Roelie) © Liz Carter

After my previous experiences at Weymouth, I was a little nervous about the jellyfish in the water. Fortunately, it was overcast, which meant it was harder to see the jellyfish. They were still there, but I couldn’t see as well, so I only saw 10-12, which was a massive improvement!

I was quite pleased with how my swimming went, as I knew I wasn’t the very last person and was also aware that I was quite close to other competitors. I felt I was doing really well, especially as I was swimming against the current, so I decided to press the lap button on my watch when I got to the turn around buoy. I thought this would help me to see the difference between the first half of my swim and the second half… But I forgot that the lap button is meant to signal T1, so my Garmin data makes it look like I was in transition for a very long time.

After the event, I did a few calculations. It was meant to be a 1500m swim, but I swam 890m to the turnaround point, so I think my sighting must have been a bit off. The first half of the swim took me 29:42, so the return swim must have taken me 23:56, which is nearly 6 minutes faster.

Swim: 00:53:38

Position: 39/41

 

As usual, for me, the transitions were the highlight – I managed to beat 4 people in T1, even though I had to put my contact lenses in! I hope to start smashing my T1 times next year when I’ve had laser eye surgery.

T1: 00:03:22

Position: 37/41

 

The bike started on a hill, which was an immediate challenge and by the time I got going, there were really any people in close proximity who I could chase. I think that as soon as I’ve improved my swimming and had laser eye surgery, my bike times will also start improving as well, because I do so much better when there are other people that I challenge myself to beat.

I found the bike course quite challenging and I struggled to eat or drink anything, which probably didn’t help me. As I cycled in, I saw Stuart finishing his run.

Bike: 01:32:11

Position: 39/41

 

T2 seems to be my discipline – it is the part of races where I perform best. I managed to beat 5 people 🙂
T2: 00:01:42

Position: 36/41

 

I was too far behind to chase anyone on the run, which was a little disappointing. Like the bike course, the run started on a steep hill. I had intended to use my inhaler on my bike, but I forgot, so I ended up getting out my inhaler on the hill. A woman ahead noticed me and decided that she would stop and try to run with me as it was her first event. This helped to encourage me, but the other triathlete was doing the sprint event, so as soon as we got to the downhill, I left her.

I quite enjoyed the run as it was two laps of a local park. There weren’t many other runners around, but I’m quite used to running on my own, so it was fine. The hardest part of the run was the final hill. I was a little frustrated that I struggled to maintain a good pace for the run, but it wa fantastic to be able to finish with a speedy run down the hill.

Run: 01:08:49

Position: 38/41

 

After crossing the finish line, I collected my medal, water bottle and t-shirt before meeting up with Suzanne, Roelie and Stuart to cheer Liz on.

Final result:

03:39:42

40/41 finishers

Massive well dones to Suzanne for being 3rd female finisher; Liz for being 3rd in her AG in her first attempt at this distance; Roelie for beating her PB and Stuart for finishing 14th overall in his first attempt at this distance.

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