Monday, 27 July 2009

Trentham Triathlon

I don't really know what I'm thinking, writing about and showing pictures of me in lycra, but I did say that this blog is about everything that I do with and without a camera in my hand!

I also thought I owed my family one after posting lots of shots of them with red faces at the Race for Life last week! If you give it out you've got to be able to take it!

So Emma and I (special thanks again to Emma for being my single supporter yesterday - I don't think I could have even attempted yesterday's race if it wasn't for her - she was chief bag carrier, bike holder, drink fetcher, lip balm dispenser, towel positioner and of course photographer!) set off at 5:30am yesterday morning to arrive at Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire (I know, I don't know what we were thinking either!) for 6:30am.

My race (sprint distance triathlon which is 500 metre swim, 20k bike and 5k run) started at 8:10am, but we had to allow time to park, get my kit organised, register (you have to go and collect your race number and get your number written on your arm!) and rack my bike (this is where you 'park' your bike and leave your kit for after the swim section) so there's a lot to do in a short space of time!

Then it was time to head over to the swim and get my wetsuit on in preparation for the start of the race!
There were a number of different distance races, so there was already one race underway in the water, so it gave me the chance to see what the course was and which direction we would be swimming in!

This was my first 'open water' triathlon and so I don't mind admitting it was a little bit scary! When you're in a pool, you can see where you're going, you can grab the side if you panic, you can just climb out the ladder and get onto the side if it all gets too much - but not in the middle of a lake! I'd also heard scaremongering stories of how murky water is, you can't see where you're going, you get bashed around by the other swimmers, etc. so I was slightly apprehensive!

I got my wetsuit on which I'd bought on friday from Tri-central in Manchester - a BRILLIANT, dedicated triathlon store, run by triathletes for triathletes, so they really know what they're talking about. I even got to swim in their 'endless' pool (which is like a treadmill but in water - a small pool with a current that keeps you on the spot as you're swimming!) to try the wetsuit before I bought it. What a great facility!
Once I was wet-suitted up it was time for the safety briefing just before we got in the water - no going back now!

Once we were in the water I made sure I was right at the back of the pack to try and stay out the way of the other swimmers and just to give myself plenty of room!

Then the gun went and we were off! Out to the orange buoy in the very far distance and back via another buoy just off the shore.

I was delighted to start at the back and end up coming out of the water just about half way into the pack - I'd really been working on my swimming in the build up to this race and the extra training had really paid off. (That's me just taking my goggles off!)

Coming out the water here and I know it looks like I'm about to keel over but that's actually because I thought I was going to! Everybody came out of the water looking like they'd drunk a couple of bottles of wine on the way round! I realised that even when you swim that distance in a pool non-stop, you always then have a breather at the end before making your way out the pool slowly. I realised a was a bit dizzy from turning my head so frequently as I was swimming and then I was immediately trying to stand up and run!

You then had to get your trainers on and run to the bike transition!

Emma got back to see me head out on my bike in the miserable weather!

Two laps of a dual carriageway course wasn't the most inspiring, but it was quite a fast course and there were a LOT of cyclists out all at the same time so it felt like you were really part of something. There was a lot of friendly chat on the way round - The shorts I wear are '' team shorts, so a lot of users of the site gave me words of encouragement on the way round, which is always really nice to hear.Link

For how intimidated you feel at certain points of a race like this (mainly when you turn up on a morning and you see some real machines turn up as well!) you quickly realise what a friendly bunch all the athletes are. Everybody was laughing and joking by the lake at the start which really helped to put you at ease and everybody was very encouraging on the way round as well.

Then finally off the bike and out for the 5k run!

At the end I was buzzing from my first experience of an open water swim! (And looking particularly good in my lycra!)

Looking slightly better after a shower and proudly showing off my race t-shirt!

Thanks to the guys at TriCentral for sorting me out with a great bit of kit and for all the advice and thanks to the organisers for putting on a great event!

I'll definitely be back next year (which I'm sure Emma will be delighted to hear!)


Flower Design Jane said...

Crikey Jonny, You're so impressive, I'm very proud of you!
well done to Emma for some seriously revealing photography.

Jane x

Anonymous said...

looks like u had fun bro!! think pikey needs some serious trainin before takin on the challenge. very proud

love ya

meg was shouting at your pics