London Triathlon 2008 – sprint distance

The London Sprint Triathlon was yesterday: 750m swim, 21km bike, 5.2km run. The Excel Centre was quite a big, daunting venue for my first race of any kind, and my race was last on at 17:00.

It was a horrible day for it – persistent rain and  a bit of a wind. I’d managed a couple of swims in my wetsuit, and it was beginning to feel less like an alien lifeform engulfing me. I knew I could do the distance.

In the event, however, it wasn’t the distance, the wetsuit or the open water that bothered me it was complete inability to deal with swimming with so many people (over 300 in my wave).

I just couldn’t get any rhythm, with feet and arms and heads everywhere. So I panicked and hyperventilated. The unfamiliarity of the open water, and of my first race obviously contributed, but the main problem was swimming in a crowd.

Once I was away from other swimmers, I got into some rhythm, but every time I caught up with a group, I’d start to panic again and lose the plot. The kayak marshals were great, but I nearly gave up there and then. In the end, I completed the swim leg in over 28 minutes.

I walked slowly through transition 1, and used it to regroup, but felt much better once I was on my bike and starting to overtake people. I’d always known this would be my best discipline, and was reasonably pleased with my time of 46:29 in persistent rain and wind.

By the time I got to the run, I just decided to treat it as a jog in the park, and make sure I got home in one piece, without walking. It took me 31:37, and I finished in 1:55:23.

I felt pretty good afterwards, and just have slightly tired legs today. I’d do it again, but I’d try to pick an event with fewer competitors, and sort out my open water swimming, so that I have more in reserve to deal with the splashing crowds.

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3 responses to “London Triathlon 2008 – sprint distance

  1. Hi

    Your No Goggling photo got a comment on Flickr so I thought I’d check here to see how the Triathlon went – well done you, from what I’ve seen in the Olympics, mass open water swimming is brutal!

    Just ordered a new road bike today so I am going to enter a 20km time trial at Blenheim Palace in late September – first competitive sport in over a decade!

    Hope you and MM having a great summer (well, what passes for it round here).

    Will you guys be at the Tour of Britain London stage?

  2. Ooh exciting! Good luck at Blenheim – I’d love a road bike, but can’t justify it.

    I did find a couple of oldskool MA2 rims in my mum’s garage and built myself a pair of slightly lighter wheels though.

    We are planning to go to the ToB in London. Let us know if you make it up too.

    This was absolutely my first competitive sport since I won the spud and spoon race at our street’s Silver Jubilee party in 1977. I don’t think there was any deliberate interference in the OW swim, but I was covered in minor bruises afterwards.

  3. Hello there, I could not find any means to email you, and so I really hope that you see this comment. I own a website covering ladies wetsuits, and wondered if you might like to swap links with me. I have entered my contact address if you would like to get in contact. Thank you.

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