Sunday, June 2, 2013

Completing my first Olympic distance Triathlon

I originally signed up for the Sprint distance at TriAthy, but when the races schedule was published I found that the sprint distance would not be held until the evening when I had a conflicting commitment. As a result I signed up for the Olympic distance instead.

The registration for this event closed at 8:30 am, so I was up and on the road from Dublin at 7 am. I was already excited before I arrived at the registration venue, but my adrenalin levels went into orbit at the sight of a beautifully decorated school filled with athletes preparing their equipment. I was dismayed by the length of the queue for registration, but the organisers were so efficient that it was no time until I was heading back to my car with race number etc. safely in my hand.

There is a lot of preparation required for a triathlon and so I didn't have time to draw a breath until it was 10 am and the race marshal announced that it was time for the competitors to line up behind a pipe band and march to the starting point. This was a lovely touch which added to the sense of occasion. I was delighted to meet a former college classmate and two work colleagues also lining up for the start and so I knew that even if I was crazy to be competing in Triathlons at my age - I was not the only one. The competitors were very friendly and offered lots of encouragement to each other.

We were soon under way and the 1,500 meter swim went much better than expected. I was surprised to find myself getting cramp in calf muscles towards the end of the swim, because I had not really been kicking my legs very much. I took it easy during the transition in order to give my legs a chance to recover.  This was  probably a good idea because I was delighted with my performance on the 40 km cycle. I used the tri-bars for most of the run and average marginally over 30 km/h. However, this did take a lot out of me and I limped home quite slowly on the 10 km run with plenty of time to admire the beautiful scenery along the River Barrow. The results are not yet available on-line  but I guess that I probably completed it in around 4 hours because I reached the end shortly after 2:30 pm and I was in the 4th wave to leave which meant it would have been after 10:30 and before I started.

I later found out that Leo Varadkar (the current Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport) was one of the competitors in the sprint event. I think that this is great example for a Minister for Sport to be personally involved in such an active sport. .

Overall I think this was a great way to spend a sunny June Bank Holiday weekend.  I overheard some experienced triathletes who said that if there was a prize for efficient organisation - TriAthy would be the winner. However, the pains in my legs the day after have convinced me that maybe I should stick to the sprint distance in future.

Update 12:30pm:  It seems that my tiredness caused me to be wildly inaccurate about my timing. When the official result was released it seems that I was closer to 3 hours (3:07) than 4 hours. This beats my expectations. Unfortunately they recorded me as 21 years old rather than 50.

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