This evening Stu and I took part in HOWL aquathlon. It’s the second year that the event has taken place and it was my second time taking part. Last year, I was pregnant when I took part, so I was grateful just to be able to do so. This year I was hoping that I would make it through the swim and would put in a good run leg.
Our support crew
Our lovely friend, Jez, has offered to babysit for us several times, so we decided to take his up on his kind offer. We figured that we shouldn’t be away from M for too long and if she was having a bad night then several of our other friends would be around to help out… plus Jez is a sporty guy (and amazing runner), so we thought he might like watching the aquathlon.
We registered at 6:30pm and the event wasn’t due to start until 7:30pm, so there was
Registering as a team
As well as the individual competition, there were also team prizes up for grabs. We had assumed that the first two men and two women from each club would count as a team, but were told that we had to pre-register as specific teams. This proved to be a little challenging as no-one was sure of their rank within the club – especially as many people are significantly better at one of the disciplines. In the end, Stu and I were registered in STC’s team 2.
Most of my clubmates were representing Southampton Tri Club in their club lit, but I only own an STC gilet and I wanted to wear my lovely kit from The Athlete’s Palate.
I set up my stuff in transition and then had some more time to chat with friends. Before long it was time for the race briefing. I should have been fully focused, but I suddenly realised that my swimming hat was missing. Panic! Panic! Jez kindly ran over to registration and picked up another hat for me, so I was able to start thinking about the race. [As an aside, it was great that women were given blue hats and men had the red hats – such a refreshing change!]
After the briefing, we were straight into the lake for a deep water start, so there was a bit of a warm up. To my dismay, wetsuits had been banned. I really feel the cold when swimming (because I am sooooo slow) and I also appreciate the extra buoyancy, but there was nothing I could do about it, so I just got in.
I positioned myself towards the back, but was almost in line with the buoy. This was because I didn’t want to swim any further than was necessary.
I found the swim challenging, although I managed to get into a rhythm. Open water swimming is enjoyable as it’s so peaceful. I didn’t see anything strange out of the corner of my eye – usually, I spy
my hand a lake monster and get freaked out, but not today.
The leading swimmers passed me. This confirmed that I was not going quickly. I got clopped in the head by one of the leading ladies heading towards the end of her swim.
There were some extremely cold patches in the lake, but I acclimatised to the water temperature fairly quickly. I had thought that the water would get stirred up a bit by all of us swimming, but that didn’t happen.
The transition and run
Transition is usually where I do well, but today I didn’t have a very quick transition. I tried not to faff, but I did exchange a few words with spectators.
My running is significantly better than my swimming, so I was pleased to see some other runners up ahead who I was able to hunt down. I haven’t seen the splits yet, but I think my run was quite good.
On the second lap, there was a lady in a yellow top up ahead. I chased her for a significant portion of the second lap. In the end, she beat me by about 6 seconds and was 3rd V40 lady. Maybe next year, my swimming will be back on track and I’ll be able to chase her down!
My results at HOWL aquathlon
Last year, I managed:
Swim time: 21:47
Transition time: 1:16
Run time: 30:06
Here are my (provisional) results for this year (based on my Garmin):
Swim time: 21:12
Transition time: 01:05
Run time: 24:30
So, it was a PB 😀
I was 16/21 senior ladies and 19/35 women.
It was also great to learn that Stuart was first V40 finisher – well done, Stu!