Race recap: Sovereign Kiwi Tri Wellington

19 03 2015

Having already done a baby triathlon to tick off my “things to do before you’re 40”, the challenge of training across disciplines has started to get a bit addictive.

I’ve already talked about wanting to do a half ironman, and my return to swim school to hone my skills. But nothing beats actually getting out there and putting it all together.

Since my first tri, I’d not taken to the water as part of a multisport event, basically because I’m rubbish at it and so lacked confidence. After a bit of practice, and a couple of lessons, I felt capable of getting my feet wet again. Physically and metaphorically.

It was time to face the demons.

The Sovereign Tri series was making its annual stop in Wellington so I figured I could cope with the 300m swim in the harbour shallows. Once through that, it would be a breeze.

So I donned my wetsuit and swim mask (in an attempt to avoid the dreaded goggle eyes), and a fetching swim cap, and braved the seas.

Cap and mask web

It wasn’t as bad as I thought. Apart from maybe the look.

My swim was by no means fast. Oh no. It was decidedly slow! But I wasn’t the last out of the water. I wasn’t the first, but I never expected to be. The worst bit was thinking I was going great and looking up to spot the buoy that marked about 200m. It was still MILES away.

Or at least it felt like it.

My head went down and I started to struggle wondering if I was ever going to finish.

But the buoy got closer. And then I was past it. The ladies either side of me started to walk so I put my feet down and began the struggle that is removing a wetsuit. At speed.

The last time I’d attempted this, I’d really struggled to get the suit over my wet feet. But a quick lesson from hubby the night before had me zipping out of the suit and getting into my cycle shoes a whole lot faster.

Once on the road, I knew I’d be able to get up some speed and make up some time. Each person in front of me became a target, and one by one I reeled them in.

Even the southerly didn’t slow me down too much. I just made myself smaller, put my head down and powered through.

I was a little bit concerned about saving something in my legs for the run, so didn’t try to push it too hard. But as triathlon is a no draft sport, I had to power past people so I wasn’t accused of benefitting from their slipstream.

So on a couple of occasions, the lactic acid burned.

As I neared the end point, I’d reeled one more competitor in so he was just in front of me. But as there was a turn coming up, followed quickly by transition, I didn’t want to risk us colliding. So I eased up and slotted in behind him until we reached transition.

A challenge for Competitive Me! But I knew it would benefit me in the long (but short!) run to give my legs a little rest at that point.

A very quick change saw me in my trainers and ready to pound the pavement for the 3k run to the finish. That cyclist that I’d stayed behind at the end was soon passed. My strategy had paid off there.

My legs felt a little tired from all the other activities but I tried to keep an even pace. I didn’t feel like I was going particularly fast, but I knew it was probably as fast as I could manage by that point. The turn seemed to take forever to arrive, but once it did, it felt like it was all downhill from there. Because it was really. Ever so slightly!

On my way back towards the finish, I checked my watch for the first time. I hadn’t got any idea how I was going. I knew the swim had been less than average, but the bike had been good. And I felt pretty good on the run too.

I had two goals. My first was to beat hubby’s time from last year. I didn’t do it last year and hubby decided it would be a good idea at the last minute. With no training. His time was a respectable 53:28.

My second goal was to beat 50 minutes. So taking a tiered approach, I would have been happy with somewhere between 50-53 minutes, but REALLY happy with under 50.

At the point I looked at my watch, it said 46:20.

I was quickly trying to figure out how far I had to go. And what pace I was going at.

The truth is I had no idea.

But I knew I only had 3.5 minutes to achieve my number one goal.

I reckoned I had somewhere in the region of 500m and was running around about 6 minute kms. But I was guessing.

I figured that I was on target to beat hubby’s previous time but thought my ultimate goal was at risk. Still, I would be happy. And I pressed on to the end.

In my earlier duathlons, I’d often had nothing left to push home at the end, but I felt pretty strong this time. Probably due to the shorter bike distance and doing the swim instead of an earlier run.

I’d like to say I finished in style. But I’m not sure that would be accurate…

Sovereign Tri 2015 2

The first thing I did upon crossing the line was stop my watch. The magical numbers at the start of the time were a 4 and a 9. I’d done it. I’d beaten both of my goals.

And I felt pretty darn good about it. And I’d got 3rd in my age group.

Sovereign tri times

But most importantly, I’d got through the swim and lived to tell the tale. It didn’t fill me with confidence because it felt harder than it should. But it was a start. And it got me over that hurdle. I didn’t bottle it.

Afterwards hubby asked if it had given me a greater desire to do the half ironman. I answered honestly in that it didn’t make me go “Yeah! Bring it on!” But it also didn’t scare me off.

It will be 6 times the swim distance. 10 times the bike. And 7 times the run.

With the right training and prep, that’s achievable. There’s still nearly 9 months to go.

I can do this. Right?




One response

24 11 2015
Race recap: Scorching tri – 15 November 2015 | A little old blog, by little old me

[…] any good athlete(!?) I had a race plan. In my previous tris, my plan was to make it in one piece out of the water and back onto dry land. This time around I […]

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