August, 2009:

Tuska Tri Update

Meant to post after I did Tuska just never got round to it.  First of all I have to say that my theory that Tuska wasn’t much more than in the Aquathlon were sadly proved wrong.  Swimming in the sea at a time when the tide was dragging me backwards on the first third, the second third had waves trying to roll me over and the final third was straight back at the waves it was so much harder than a nice flat pool.

I’ve never thought about quitting a race part way through before but when less than 200 meters in someone is already rolling over for the rescue boat and it feels like I’m making no progress at all I must admit that I considered it.  At various points it was the cost, the shame and the sheer bloody-mindedness that kept me going.  At one point I told myself that I’d at least finish the swim and then my head woke up to the realization that once I’d done that bit I might as well carry on.

I finally rose from the sea like some sort of startled sea monster and staggered up the slipway and onto terra firma.  My slowest transition ever, and by my standards that is slow, but I was out on the bike and so pleased to be on my way.  I’d reccied the bike route the day before and knew there were very few flat bits on the course and some big old climbs so I tried to keep my energy but was still able to go along at a decent speed.  Being almost last out of the water meant there were very few behind me so I could mainly focus on catching people in front.  Was impressed with myself on the long drag up the A48 as I hauled in several competitors and it was very apparent that the weight I’ve lost training is definitely making a difference.

Finished the bike and onto the run where I hit a good speed early and managed to overtake 7 or 8 people on the way round – my localized hill training paying off here – and in the end I came home in a good (for me) time.

The swim was so hard though and although I’m pleased I got through it it’s made me realize that if I’m going to progress in Tri I need to learn to swim properly or at least better than I currently do.

Counting to 5. 1…2…3…3…4…5…

Or at least that’s what the marshals at the Cardiff International Pool Aquathlon managed to do.  When attempting a daunting, never before done by yourself 500m swim in a wetsuit you’ve never worn before you’d like to think that at least you wouldn’t have to do anymore than planned.

Marshal had other ideas when he called out 3 laps done twice as we went around the large triangular course they’d laid out.  It wasn’t just me but everyone in my wave who was affected.  I managed to do it mind and I guess in theory Tuska is now only a little bit more rather than 50% more.

Got out of the pool and into T1 – is it just T for a aquathlon or duathlon? – and managed to get the wetsuit off easy enough,  Took a while faffing with socks which I wouldn’t have done in a big race an set off on the run aiming at a run time of about 32 minutes.  Problem was I couldn’t settle into a rhythm at a fast enough speed and kept falling off the pace.  Managed to overtake several of the faster swimmers in my wavebut still only came in on 34 minutes.  Not really happy with that and the 32 minute target would have seen me jumping about 8 places in the field.

A good event though and less wary about Tuska’s swim now – although I do need to add a 22K bike in between with some killer hills.  Why do I do it?  To see if I can I guess.

Off to Maindy cycle track in the week for a couple of hours of leg spinning – must try and work on getting my cadence up to something respectable and a track is about the easiest way to do it I guess.