Grit, Determination and Chafing!!!

With the IronMan 70.3 Staffordshire only 4 weeks away, I thought it would be best to experience a Triathlon first hand before the event, in a hope to solve the mysteries of transitions. Prior Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance and all that!!

The Garmin Eton SuperSprint Triathlon was to be my chosen one. Staged at the Eton Dorny Olympic rowing venue, the triathlon consisted of 400m Swim, 20km Bike and 5k run. A fraction of the 70.3 distance, but a good way to test the water… so to speak.

Three of us entered a ‘mates wave’ which meant we could all race together. Myself, Dave Martin and Jo Livingston. All tri-virgins!

Having set up the kit in the transition area as per the manual, and donned our brand new HUUB Archimedes II wetsuits we were all ready to go.

Brownlee Brothers have nothing on me and Dave in our HUUB Wetsuits
Brownlee Brothers have nothing on me and Dave in our HUUB Wetsuits

No amount of reading magazines and watching YouTube clips can ever prepare you for your first competitive open-water swim. I have to say this was the biggest reality check of my life. Despite me starting from what I though was a relatively safe position, it didn’t prevent me from being kicked and punched in the face and massively freaking out after about 200m. A little bit of breast stroke, and treading water enabled me to get my composure back. I reminded myself that I needed to swim at my own pace and not get sucked into the pace of the rest of the group. I relaxed a little after that and exited the water to a sigh of relief in a time of 8mins 58secs.

Deep in thought trying to work out swim tactics....... shame they didn't work! ha
Deep in thought trying to work out swim tactics……. shame they didn’t work! ha

Thanks to the genius of the HUUB wetsuit, transition was seamless and I managed to get onto my bike in just over two minutes, despite having jelly legs from the swim. 20kms meant four laps of the Dorny lake. I was far more relaxed at this stage, despite the wind, and managed to complete the bike segment in 40mins 27secs.

Transition from Bike to Run was fun. I couldn’t quite decide if I wanted to take my feet out of shoes whilst on bike or run in my bike shoes. What happened was a mismatch between the two and nearly resulted in me falling over in front of the official photographer.

Struggling with Transition 2.... shoes on or off?? ha
Struggling with Transition 2…. shoes on or off?? ha

The run segment was quite enjoyable although once again the wind played a part. It was nice to know that after such a poor swim, I could make up for it with a good run. Despite me somehow missing the markings and running for the wrong finish line, I completed the run in 22mins 17sec.

What a great all round experience and learning tool. The biggest being the open water swim. Despite that, I can’t complain that I finished my first triathlon in 1hr 14mins 59secs and placed 16th in my age group! I somehow think IronMan70.3 is going to be a lot harder!

Only 26 Days to go until the big event…. please show your support.. It’s all for charity!!!

www.justgiving.com/jamesmckeownironman

Who has the hairiest chest competition... wait no.. this is after the event! ;-)
Who has the hairiest chest competition… wait no.. this is after the event! 😉

Thank you to sponsors and supporters:-

GR100 Team

Will Usher – Precision Coaching

Nick Dunn – Tri Camp

Huub Design

Gordon Ramsay Foundation

Alan Skinner – Crystal Vision Fitness

Cancer Research UK

Smart Protein

TFN

TheBodyResetClinic

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