A Tale of Two Triathlons
Nepean Triathlon 2014 1km, 30km, 10km.
Elite Energy Huskisson Triathlon 2014 Sprint 750m, 20km, 5km.
On Sunday 26/10/14 I completed the Nepean Tri; my third triathlon and longest distance yet. Having only switched from martial arts to triathlon this year, and after months off recovering from Endometriosis surgery and battling a compressed spinal disk, I am only a beginner. My training regime between flare ups of my back pain consisted of:
Monday AM – Swim Squad 3.6-4km Distance Work typically
Monday PM – 30min Aerobic run
Tuesday AM – 45-60min Wind Trainer Cycle session followed by 15min run off the bike
Tuesday PM – Pilates/Core
Wednesday AM – Swim Squad 3.6km Speed Work typically
Wednesday PM – 1.5hr Track Interval Session
Thursday AM – Pilates/Core
Thursday PM – 2hr (approx. 50-60km) Group Ride
Friday AM – Swim Squad 3.6km Technique Work typically
Friday PM – 30min Aerobic run
Saturday AM – 2km swim, 2.5hr (approx. 60km) ride, 6-8 x 1km run
Sunday AM – 2-3hr ride
Nepean is Australia’s oldest triathlon and is held at the Penrith Regatta Centre. The swim is in the regatta lake (dodging the weeds and duck poop), the ride is around the lake and local roads, and the run is two 5km laps, again around the lake. It is a lovely venue and the ride was very picturesque with clear skies and views of the Blue Mountains.
Given that my back had flared up again less than two weeks prior to the event, I was concerned that I wouldn’t even be able to finish. When my back goes I can hardly walk let alone ride or run! I’d had plenty of physio and it came good a few days out, only to then be replaced by 24hrs of diarrhea right before the race. Suddenly I wasn’t even sure of starting!
I did start though and actually felt good throughout the race. My back complained a little on the ride and I had a couple of cold chill moments on the run, which I recognise from previous races as being heat stroke, but I did finish. And I finished well, in the middle of the pack, with quite respectable times for each leg! Namely: 2:18:52 overall time. 20:34 1km swim (note to self – avoid colliding with buoys in future), 59:57 30km ride, 53:09 10km run.
The Sunday after Nepean I raced again, this time at Huskisson, in a Sprint triathlon (750m swim, 20km ride, 5km run). This race was to be a reconnaissance mission in preparation for competing in the Huskisson Long Course Tri Festival next year but it was such a beautiful location that I got carried away, raced hard and had a great time!
Huskisson is a beach in Jervis Bay, a very popular holiday spot on the NSW South Coast. The sand is pure white and the water is wonderfully clear. A friend and I drove down on the Saturday to scope out the course and the all important question of where to find yummy, clean eating food! We stayed overnight in a lovely little caravan park cabin in Bomaderry and grabbed food from a great place called ‘Supply’ in Huskisson, and a great local fish and chippery on the river near our accommodation (nothing beats grilled fresh local Kingfish and salad). In the afternoon we took a drive to my favourite childhood holiday spot – Green Patch – where we spotted a playful dolphin, kangaroos and the local friendly parrots.
Sunday morning started out a little grey and windy but it became fine by the start of my event. I got into the water early to acclimatise as it was a cool seventeen degrees celsius (thank god for wetsuits!) and I have learned that getting my head under water beforehand is a good way to prevent an irrational sense of breathless panic during the mass start. Our deep water start position was amongst a cloud of very foul smelling seaweed (so much for that clear water) but we were soon underway and into the pretty blue.
My swim felt good and I emerged competitively placed. I ran up the stairs to T1 and located my bike but as I reached down to remove my wetsuit over my right foot suddenly the ground started spinning and I fell down sideways. Yanking my foot free I stood back up only to then fall down onto my other side as I struggled to free my other foot. The ground was spinning in front of my eyes but I slid my helmet and bike shoes on, grabbed my bike and decided to try to run to the bike start anyhow. As I straightened up and faced forward suddenly everything came good again, I mounted up and was on my way!
The bike leg was a little windy, undulating and strenuous. It felt harder than Nepean despite being 10km shorter, possibly because the rough road surface shook my back up quite a bit. Nonetheless it was also picturesque countryside and a fun ride. My second transition was uneventful and then it was off for the run.
The run leg followed the coast line and passed a really lovely series of beaches and inlets. My pace matched that of another female competitor so we ran together, spurring each other along. She was a local and knew the route better than I which was helpful because I was suffering in the heat whereas she had plenty of tips on how far to the next water station and what was up ahead. Many other locals had set up their eskies and deck chairs along the run path and they cheered us all on as we ran by. It was such a nice vibe and made a very difficult run really pleasant. The 5km felt far longer and I had nothing left at the finish line but finish I did and this time in an incredible 6th place in my age group! My breakdown was: 1:27:47 total (16:36 swim, 45:54 ride, 25:16 run). I was thrilled to bits to make the top ten in only my 4th triathlon and with mere seconds between my time and third place! Imagine the future possibilities…. Woot!
After the race it was back to ‘Supply’ for a liquid lunch of a naughty salted caramel choc chai on almond, a fresh cold pressed orange, carrot, lemon and ginger juice, and a peppermint tea.
This was followed by some well earned lazing on the beach before driving home to Sydney with another stop at the great little fish and chippery on the way (this time for the Kingfish and a scallop!). A lucky spontaneous detour on the way brought us to a coastal look out where we were treated to the majestic sight of a migrating mother and baby whale at play. Braving a cold wind we watched them until they were out of sight. Such a treat and an amazing weekend away. Triathlon sure does take you some wonderful places! 😉
P.S: And yes, this race t-shirt does unfortunately look like evidence of a pedestrian traffic incident…
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