Friday, May 24, 2013

Time to Tri - Europcar 3DTri Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Last weekend was the Europcar 3DTri Sprint Triathlon held in the National Aquatic Centre. I had entered registered for this a few months back thinking that since because I had only started learning to swim around christmas the pool swim would be a good way to do my first triathlon.

Some last minute changes to the event meant an 8am start so we needed to be at the NAC before 7 to get setup in transition. So it was a 5:30 wake up and a strong coffee then out the door. Once I got there I ran into a good few others from Wicklow Tri Club who were also racing (Brian, Andy, Miriam, Des, Eilish, Wendy & few others) and got some good tips for transition and the race. One of the great benefits of being in a club is that everyone is so willing to pass on their experience which is great because theres a lot to figure out with the logistics of triathlon! I was in Wave 2 so had a 45 minute wait before we got in the pool. I did a quick check of my blood sugar before starting - 9.2 was a little bit higher than I'd have liked but ok as I expected it to come down during the swim. Anyway, I didn't want to have to take any insulin before starting as it would increase the chances of going low during the race.

750m Pool Swim at the NAC

There were 8 in the lane and we self seeded so I went towards the back knowing that I'd probably be one of the slowest. My estimated 18 minutes was definitely a bit on the optimistic side. Sure enough I found it tough to keep on the toes of the swimmer in front and by the 2nd or 3rd length I'd dropped back a bit. At this stage I could either have pushed hard and tried to keep up and risk being totally wrecked after the swim, or just go at my own pace and make sure I was in good shape for the bike & run. I remembered Coach Caoimhe telling me to pace myself and not worry about times - so thats what I did. After 15 lengths I was done and as I ran out of the pool towards transition I saw 20 mins on the clock. I was one of the last few out of the pool in the wave but happy enough with it considering 6 months ago I couldn't even swim a single length.

I was quickly through T1 and onto the bike and got motoring nicely passing plenty who were ahead of me out of the pool. Its great motivation to be passing so many people - being a slow swimmer has its advantages! I was wondering what my blood sugar was doing, but with no way to check while on the move I took a gel as planned near the start of the bike and just kept on pedaling hard. At this stage I was regretting the fact that the bike leg had been cut short to 15k, another 5k would have allowed me to make up even more places. I ended up with a 29 minute 15k bike split.

T2 was fairly good, just a few seconds delay trying to get a still damp foot into a runner (must remember to bring talc next time) but I was quickly out onto the run. At this stage the sun was out and not a cloud in the sky - looked like summer had finally arrived in Ireland! The run was on closed roads in the grounds of the National Sports Campus and I passed a good few more people in the first few Kms before settling into a good steady pace. Saw some of the rest of the Wicklow Tri crew on the run -Come on Wicklow! Great encouragement from everyone. I took another gel while on the run as I was a little worried my blood sugar would be dropping - as it turned out this was totally unnecessary. Since I'd started the bike nobody had passed me but in the last 200 metres I looked over my shoulder and saw a guy from Cavan Tri club that I'd been just behind coming off the bike and had passed halfway through the run. He passed me as we ran in towards the finish and I tried to kick to respond but couldn't up the pace enough to catch him - damn it! Anyway, finished the 5k run just over 23 mins giving a total of 1hr 18. While waiting for the rest of the wave to finish I checked my blood sugar ... 15.6 - way too high, and explains why I couldn't kick on when needed at the end of the run. The extra gel taken on the run was the problem. Will know better for next time, racing with Type 1Diabetes is a constant learning process unfortunately!

After getting changed (a bonus of being in the NAC is the great facilities - beats getting changed in the middle of a field any day!) we headed over to support some of the Wicklow Tri Youths racing in the Aquathon. Some great performances and loads of tired but happy kids with their medals!

So overall a successful first triathlon, good to get one under the belt and pick up a few tips along the way. As expected a slow swim dragged me down on my overall placing but pleased with being well inside the top half of my age group for the bike & run. Will have to really work on the swimming - or else just cycle and run a bit faster :) Looking forward to next event TriAthy next weekend and first wetsuit swim.