My first Aquathlon and other stuff

This afternoon, I finally got around to doing some T1 and T2 transition training. In reality, this meant heading down to a local flat field and practising getting on and off my bike at speed.

I won’t go into full details of what I did other than to say I need to work on getting on the bike whilst running and getting my feet into my new triathlon cycling shoes. That’s tomorrow lunchtime’s plan.

The only issue I had was that on the bike, it’s clear that my wrists are going to suffer from road vibration and jolts from the uneven road surface. Even with padded cycling gloves, it’ll be sore. I’ve invested in some clip-on aero-bars so I can rest my arms on those although I’m not sure a lack of practice is advisable.

This evening saw me complete my first Aquathlon. The event was organised by Try Tri who are also organising Sunday’s triathlon.

Due to my wrist injuries and as I didn’t want to overdo it, I chose the novice distance of a 400m swim followed by a 2.5km run. The swim was in the lake where I’ve spent several early mornings and the course was one lap of the original Eastleigh parkrun course.

There were many familiar faces at the event including Tamsyn, Stuart and Chris. We’d all chosen the short distance event.

The weather wasn’t great with rain and some gusts. Given that we’d all get wet, it wasn’t too much of an issue though.

Getting into the water was an experience as the entrance was very slippery. We must have looked like zombies getting in as we tried to tread carefully and, in many cases, failed.

I was wearing my new Aqua Sphere Vista googles with clear lenses. They were amazing. Really clear and as the wide ‘skirt’ sucks to your face as you put them on, they were leak-free. Ideal.

As we approached the start line, there must have been 50-60 participants in the water. Many were doing the longer distance comprising a 750m swim followed by a 5 run. It was good to encounter that many other swimmers as each wave on Sunday’s Tri will have 50 swimmers.

Given my wrists aren’t recovered (my left wrist is much better and I’d say it was 90% ok. My right wrist hand isn’t as good. Let’s call it 75-80% maybe better under medication), I really didn’t want to push things too much so tonight was more about getting through the experience, learning a few things and, hopefully, enjoying it.

As we started, the range of swimming abilities was clear. A gap soon opened up and it wasn’t long until the lead group was about 75m ahead. I have no idea how many ‘novices’ were behind me. Not many I’d imagine.

After 1 1/2 uneventful (and what seemed like slow) laps, it was time to exit the lake and head for transition.

In aquathlon, there’s only one transition; from swim to run. This involves removing your wetsuit, goggle and swim cap and getting your running shoes on (made much easier with Bodyglide and Talc). However, I really struggled with getting my wetsuit off and that’s something I need to fix for Sunday’s triathlon.

The run was largely uneventful. I didn’t push it and finished the event in just under 24 minutes. As I couldn’t work out how to set my Garmin watch into Multi-sports mode, I can’t tell you how long the swim, transition and run were. As soon as I see the splits, I’ll share them.

Update:

Here are the splits:

  • Swim + Transition: 11:33
  • Run: 12:20
  • Total: 23:53

It’s not clear whether my swim was really poor or whether transition was poor. In reality, it was probably both! I didn’t exactly motor from the lake into transition and was in a bit of daze. I’m guessing about 9 – 9 1/2 minutes for the swim and then 2 – 2 1/2 minutes for getting out of the lake and through transition. Pretty poor in both cases really. My run wasn’t fast either (a 53.2% age grading) and would be the equivalent of a 25:59 5K time so someway off a PB.

So, overall, an uninspiring performance but then I wasn’t pushing it. It was tougher than I’d imagined and it does make me wonder how doing double each distance plus 20km on the bike is going to feel. Very tough I’d imagine.

Things to work on and fix:

– work out multi-sport mode on Garmin
– improve removal of wetsuit (including taking in water into wetsuit before exiting lake)

Overall, the event was great. My performance was ok and a good start. Lots of room for improvement. Good organisation and support from Ben, Charli and the team.

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2 thoughts on “My first Aquathlon and other stuff

  1. Well done, James! It sounds like the bouncident isn’t going to hinder your race on Sunday, which is great.

    I’m intrigued about your running bike mount preparation – it sounds as if there’s a secret manoeuvre there that you don’t want anyone else to copy on race day – I’ll have to get a spy out with a video camera!

    Will you be bathing with your wetsuit on this week for some authentic transition practice?

    • Thanks Tamsyn. I was pleased to have done the aquathlon last night and not make my wrists worse. I didn’t get any pain at all from the swim and got more twinges from packing 500 goodie bags for the LRR 10K afterwards. My main concern is how my right wrist is going to cope with the cycle section of the tri.

      As for secret manoeuvres for running bike mount, I’m going to take Stu’s advice and see if that works. I was struggling to get my feet in my clipped on shoes and do the straps up (particularly the right strap) but hope that it’ll all flow better on Sunday. Getting out of my wet suite is going to be the bit to video as I’m sure it’ll make great entertainment on You’ve Been Framed!

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