Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Triathlete In Training



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).

14 comments:

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

Getting dressed as quickly as possible? Ha! I'd fail at that hurdle - what if I "don't have anything to wear" on that day?! Huh?! Ok, joking aside, I think you're mad but it's absolutely great! Good luck with the training. Love from London xo

becky said...

Good for you, Rachel. Loved the part about dressing for more support for running than swimming...truly a challenge! Thanks for the giggle in your story!

Red-haired hiker said...

Oooh, exciting! Doing a Sprint Triathlon is on my 30-before-I'm-30 list if only to give me a reason to get myself into the gym on a regular basis. It's not going to happen before I'm 29 though, which probably means this time next year I'll be in about the same place you are now.

Good luck!

Rachel said...

It might be a bit troublesome, but what about a sports bra under the swimsuit?

lackofgravitas said...

I'll let you know in a fortnight if I'm in or out ... if I hate doing my 5k, or I fall over and break something, I'll be out. Otherwise ... hm, watch this space.

Are there rules about what you can and can't wear for the stages? Pretty sure the friend who did it last year swam in his cycle shorts (commented about them being a bit nappy-like as the padding soaked up the water!) I was initially thinking sports bra, swimming costume, cycling shorts, then wondered what the cossie actually added - cycling shorts plus my sports bra would amount to a VERY modest bikini!

Kazzy said...

Those are very decent times. Best of luck!

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

Congrats! trying is the best

Charlotte said...

That's so exciting, Rachel! GO you!!!! I would be nervous about the getting changed in front of everyone aspect of it, too. I'm sure you'll be great :)

American in Norway said...

WOW.. good for you Rachel! GOod luck & I hope you will keep us posted! :-)

Jenny Woolf said...

I'm impressed! I never thought about the problem of dressing. Sounds like a special suit is the answer,you can always sell it on ebay after, if you decide this is not for you :)

Rolled Up Pretty and Cut Off Thoughts said...

Nice to meet you too! Best of luck!

Rabbit Hole Report said...

Enjoy the challenge, Rachel. And all the pleasant ripple effects -- pun intended -- of trying something new. Best of luck!

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Good luck, our eldest daughter did some triathlons a few years ago, the swimming was her weakest section :)

Lindsay said...

Wow...good for you! Very inspiring!

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