Today I took part in BADTri (Bristol & District Trathletes) Long training day. I didn’t do the whole thing, but I’m pretty impressed with myself and want to write down some points while it’s fresh in my mind. I turned up hoping to do something similar to an olympic distance triathlon which is 1.5km swim, 25mile bike and 6.2mile run.
This day came pretty early in my triathlon experience – I have had a road bike for about 3 weeks and a wetsuit for 3 days. I had also never done any of the three events in succession with each other, so all three seemed like a challenge! I figured I might as well give it a go though – this opportunity to try all three elements out together outside of a race environment comes round once a year!
The swim was tough. I, for some reason, hadn’t even considered the possibility that swimming in a lake would feel different to swimming in a pool. I got straight in and started swimming and – oh! – I couldn’t breathe because I was panicing, my wetsuit restricted my breathing and it was fairly cool despite the warmth of the air. I did a lap and stopped and spoke to the coaches who reassured me that it is actually quite normal to find it a bit different. Even mid-panic, the experience of swimming in a lake was felt beautifully, naturally perfect.
I knew I’d be really annoyed if I couldn’t do it and luckily I’m a strong, if not fast, swimmer so I made myself keep trying and by the end of the first two loops I got it and swam fairly normally. At that point I started going way off course and had to keep turning to avoid people going the other way, but whatever! Definitely more work needed, but it was such a great experience that I’m looking forward to it. I’m also really really glad I got the opportunity to try outdoor swimming outside of a race!!! Sadly I only managed about 7 or 8 laps of 160m as there were very few people left swimming after my time wasted panicking and I wanted to get on the cycle with some others.
I started the cycling with two other women and stuck with them until around 18 miles. I intended to do about 25 as thats the distance i need to do in a race and isn’t too much further than I’ve ridden previously. However, I turned late because it was so enjoyable and got lost at the end, which took me to 40 miles! I was surprised how much I enjoyed the cycle. It also didn’t hurt too much considering I don’t have much experience cycling – I think I could like this too!
The run hurt. A lot. it was crazy-hot, my legs felt dead after the cycling and I’ve never started a run hot, sweaty and dehydrated, oddly enough! There were points in the first 3 miles at which my legs hurt so much I wasn’t sure I could continue but I pushed myself round 6.5 miles and actually after the first 2 or 3 it really wasn’t so bad, just felt like the end of a half marathon maybe (I tried and failed to come up with a description for what the first couple felt like. I’m just not wordy enough. they hurt.)
So, in the end I did about 1.2km swim, 40mi bike and 6.3mi run. It took ages, but considering all the new-ness I am really happy!