Wednesday, 22 June 2011
I can't remember whether I mentioned that I'm planning to enter a triathlon in September. I've never done anything remotely like this before. I haven't touched competitive athletics since I was sixteen, and even then I was a sprinter not a distance runner. But this is a very small triathlon with short distances, which should make it suitable for beginners, and a couple of my equally-beginnerish friends are going to enter as well. I have two realistic (I hope) goals: finish the course, and don't come last. Anything else is pure bonus.
At the beginning of the week I noticed that the gym here at the conference hotel has a pool, an exercise bike, and running machines, so I figured I could do some training while I'm here.
First lesson: don't try to swim actual lengths in a pool that's 2ft "deep" at the shallow end. It can only end in grazed knees and stumbling awkwardly as you try to turn around without just standing up. Hmm. So I gave up on the swimming.
I'm doing rather better at the biking and running. This morning I did 15km cycling (36m49s) and 2.7km running (14m58s), and I still felt human at the end of it. Those are the distances I'm aiming for, so it's feeling plausible that I might be able to do roughly the same after swimming as well.
Triathlon has a whole set of challenges that don't affect most race-type events, embodied in the so-called "fourth discipline" of transitioning from one section of the course to the next. This basically means you have to get out of the pool and get dressed as quickly as possible. Which sounds fine until you realise that you're doing it in full view of everyone, and my swimming costume doesn't have anywhere near the level of support I need from a running top. I've heard that you can buy specialist triathlon suits, which I might have to investigate, especially if this is going to be more than a one-off (a matter on which I'm reserving judgement for the time being).