Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First triathlon

It's been almost exactly year since I ran Swiss Alpine and any race at all, but last friday I finally did a race again. I already run and bike, so this time I tried a triathlon.

The race is 400 meters openwater swim, 18 km bike race and 4 km run (0.25 miles swim, 11.1 miles bike and 2.5 mile run). This is a roughly 1/10th distance mini-race that is arranged by the local ironman-distance race Challenge Copenhagen to give people a taste of triathlon. While we don't have any dangerous fish or creatures in our seas, my mind had no trouble conjuring up strange beings that could lurk in the deep, only waiting for a naive runner to jump in and I was frankly terrified of the idea of swimming in the sea. It's been 10 years since I last swam, but after two trips to the local pool, I was pretty confident that, while I am apparently an amazingly bad swimmer, I could at least survive the swim and so I signed up for the race.

I found out that a couple of guys I know where also doing the race and smartly enough had actually bothered to take swimming classes for most of a year, so on raceday I met up with them at the bike check-in. Turns out none of us had tried openwater swimming before, so we were all pretty exited an nervous about it.

We readied our bikes and gear and lined up for the swim start. The start was in waves with 50 participants every 3 minutes and you'd just line up when you where ready and wait for your turn. Not long after we were off and running out into the cold water. The speaker said it was almost 20c, but I later heard 17c and I think that is more likely.

I manged to struggle through the swim in 15 minutes. First by breaststroke, freestyle then floating on my back and doggy paddling, but most importantly I didn't encounter any nasty critters :) I used a lot of energy kicking in the water and was a bit wobbly when I was helped up on dry land.

I managed to find my bike, put on socks and bikeshoes and ran to the bike start and jumped on. The race was draft legal, so I had really hoped to find someone else going at my speed that I could draft after, but after being passed once in the beginning, I only encountered people going way slower - I think most of the really fast people was long gone because of my slow swim. I ended up with a decent time of 29 minutes 44 seconds for an average speed of 36,3 km/h, ok on the short course with lots of turns.

After the bike I slipped into my running shoes and wobbled the first km on what felt like rubber legs before getting into my stride. I'm not quite as fast a runner as I was before my injuries, but managed the 4 km in 18:47 for a total of 1h12m12sec.

It was really a different experience from a pure running race. The different sports really effected my performance in the following one but it was great fun, so much so that I'm thinking about joining a triathlon club and learning to swim. I'm in pretty good shape and in my age group I had the 7th fastest bike time, but placed 112 out of 115 people in the swim - that is how bad I sucked :)

Still, great fun and if you have the chance to try a triathlon, I highly recommend it :)

1 comment:

  1. Very amusing and informative post. Congratulations on a new milestone!