Triathlon 2009 – Southwater Sprint Relay

Im not a free man, Im a number
I'm not a free man, I'm a number

I can now call myself a triathlete. What a bloody relief! It might only have been a sprint distance (400m lake swim, 18.5km cycle, 3.8km run) but they all count.

As mentioned in my previous post my training for this event wasn’t quite what I’d hoped and I was very nervous about it. At least things turned out ok in the end.

Getting there
After another really early start (5am) and a bit of a drive through the semi-deserted roads of Sussex we got to the Southwater Country Park. The start and transition area was a bit of a trek to get to particularly as you have to get a bike and all the various paraphernalia needed. As an added bit of anxiety I couldn’t find my team captain who had my race number that would get me into the transition area. No matter how I try to plan things I always seem to have a last minute rush and panic at these things.

The Swim
I’d already seen one of my relay team-mates complete her three events and I was waiting in the hand-over section all wet-suited up and worried when I had my revelation. Instead of trying to front crawl on the swim and having to revert to breast stroke or just resting I thought ‘why not just do the whole thing as breast stroke’. That way I reckoned it at least looked like that was my plan all along.

My favourite supporter!
My favourite supporter!

I didn’t regret my decision. I kept up a steady pace in the lake, out to the buoy and back and even managed to pass someone! Got out feeling a little tired, but that was mainly my arms, and jogged off to the transition area to get ready for the bike ride.

The Bike
Getting out of the wetsuit was no easy or quick thing for me and took a fair bit of grunting, kicking and squelching. When done though I soon got on the bike and was on my way. The ride itself was very pleasant with a couple of rises and several nice long straights for a bit of power riding. Again I managed to pass a few people which was a morale booster.

At one point I approached a bunch of riders and as I got closer noticed that a few had panniers and I thought to myself ‘a bit casual for race’. It was only as I was passing that I saw that they didn’t have any numbers and I realised that they weren’t part of the race at all.

Knowing the run wasn’t going to be very long I really went for it on the cycle and quite enjoyed the burn.

The Run
Quickly slipped into my running shoes, started off and immediately my legs felt heavy which wasn’t helped by the stiff hill that starts the run. Ironically I found myself feeling better the longer the run went on as the heaviness slowly went away. I have to congratulate my triathlon club for the fantastic waving and support as I went round on the two laps. I really enjoyed coming into the change-over area to tag the third person in my relay team. That was it, I was done.

The southwater relay was a good fun race and pretty ideal as one to start with. The relay element gives you a bit of team spirit which I really liked. What a relief but now I can plan for next year – an Olympic distance I should think.

Special thanks to Deborah and Rose who gave me great support and who didn’t grumble at getting up so early.

My lovely team mates - Emma and James
My lovely team mates - Emma and James

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