Eastleigh Aquathlon – August 2013

Yesterday evening saw me compete in my 3rd Eastleigh Aquathlon at Lakeside Country Park. These events take place on the last Thursday of each month from May to September and are organised by TryTri.

The event is split into 2 distances; the sprint with a 750m swim in the lake followed by a 5km run or the ‘novice’ (let’s call it the short distance) event with a 400m swim followed by a 2.5km run.

Due to other commitments and the need to not get home to late, I decided on the short course.

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There were 33 competitors on the night most of whom were going long. As the water temperature had dropped recently, most of those taking part were wearing wetsuits. I didn’t buck that trend.

I arrived at about 5:55pm with registration officially starting at 6pm and the race starting at about 6:30pm.

There were several familiar faces there (as well as the Event Director, Ben, and TryTri’s founder, Chris). There were a couple of Lordshill Road Runners but my main competition within the club was from Kev Yates.

It was also good to see Paul Hammond.who had kindly offered to take photos at the event (although the photos weren’t so kind!!) I’ll add photos to this post later and hope many of you read it before I do!

The event briefing started at about 6:20pm where Ben described the course. For a change, I didn’t need to ask for clarity over the swim course after having finally understood it at the last event.

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With about a minute of the briefing left, Chris Stocks arrived. The traffic had been really bad for all participants and Chris has suffered more than most.

Before long, we were heading into the lake. It wasn’t warm but it was clear it would be more comfortable in a wetsuit. The usual zombie-walk entry ensued due to the uneven and, to a degree, unknown surface below the water.

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At the last event (and at Tuesday morning’s lake swim) I’d really struggled to get my breath. I made the deliberate decision to submerge my head fully as much as I could to acclimatise to the water temperature to prevent this. That worked really well.

We were off. I was determined to not repeat my previous experience of not sighting the boys often enough and thereby swimming around the perimeter of the lake. I’d also practiced using Multisport mode on my Garmin and finally had the hang of it. Yay!!

The swim for the short course is 1 and a half laps. This isn’t my strongest discipline at all and I’m a lot slower than most. However, I sighted the buoys often so didn’t swim too much more than I needed to. I do struggle with swimming anti-clockwise around the lake though and found myself in very shallow water at one point crawling along the pebbly bank. As I evident from the photos from Paul Hammond, my technique is far from perfect as I over-rotate my head when breathing and still can’t bilaterally breath.

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As I headed toward transition, I was lapped by one of the long distance participants. That just goes to show how poor my swimming is.

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Transition was a tale of two halves. I got my wetsuit off without too many issues but struggled to balance to get my running shoes on. I was very wary of sitting down to do this after my double-leg cramps at the Eastleigh Open Water Tri so didn’t.

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However, I managed it eventually and headed off for my 2.5km run which is 1 lap of the original parkrun course.

At this point, I knew that Kev was still in the water. My hope was that he was far enough behind me to not be able to make the time up on the run. Kev is a sub-19 minute parkrunner where it would take me 5 minutes more to complete 5km. I had some leeway. Phew.

My run went well. I didn’t feel like I was busting a gut and was maintaining 5 mins per km pace.

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At that rate, I should compete my race in under 12 1/2 minutes.

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After completing the lap, it was time to head through the finish.

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Chris was already there and I’d come 3rd in the short distance race.

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My times were (roughly):

Swim (400m): 12:05
Transition: 00:40
Run (2.5km): 12:09

Total: 24:54

I’m pretty happy with that. Still lots of room for improvement as always. It would be great to knock a minute or more off of the swim and 30-40 seconds off the run. Transition could be 15 seconds quicker. Maybe a reasonable aim is a total of 23 minutes in the short/medium term.

Overall, another great event.

Many thanks to Paul Hammond for the photos. A full set from the event can be found at http://hammy8241.smugmug.com/2013-Races/Eastleigh-Aquathlon-29813

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