For however long it lasts.
And I raced today. Signed up for the XO Size race at Elwood. It’s format was an Enduro sprint, so basically swim-ride-run and then swim-ride-run. Effectively 2 mini sprints back to back.
The short story is that the weather was perfect, the swim conditions could not have been better (perfect isn’t a good enough word for it) and the wind was non-existent. Yes, it was that good.
The race itself was fun – but I went into it with that intention. Clearly, I got up early enough (shame on me for last week) and was at the venue by 6am. It really was a glorious morning. My wave was the last one to go, which sux because eventually, we were the last ones on course. Rather quiet on the road.
I wore my wetsuit for the first swim. The swim was crazy racing. Women 30+yrs all swimming over each other. I haven’t quite experienced that before. But yet, it was 250m of white water. I got kicked, nearly lost the goggles and had numerous hands grabbing hold of my feet – eww. But I made it unscathed, and felt pretty good coming out of the water.
In transition (the first of 5!) I skimmed off that wettie without a blink – thank you BodyGlide – and got going. I was on my bike easily and yes, I still do a stop-start mount. Sad, but there it is. As usual, I overtook quite a few people on the bike and covered my 10k in a smidge under 20min with an ave of 30.3kph.
T2 included a bloody long run with the bike. Not happy but I scooted through quickly and got out onto the run course without too much effort. By then it was getting a bit warm. Threw a cup or two of water over my head and covered the 2.5k course in 12mins, with my ave page a tad under 5min/km. Can’t be anything but happy with that.
T3 was the one I was dreading, along with the 2nd swim. I know from my aquathon experience last year that I find swimming after running very difficult. I need to be able to breathe freely, not every second stroke! I panicked a bit at the start. I managed to get my swim cap back on (it was optional) and still shove the Garmin inside it to get accurate GPS data. I was impressed.
The cool water was a bit of a shock (it didn’t feel that cold at 7am though) and I took in a bit of water but by the first buoy I was good. I didn’t put my wetsuit back on, so I swam just in my tri suit, which I haven’t done since 2010. It was a valuable experience because I had been so worried about it. My actual swim time (not including the running from and to transition) was about 5mins total, which was slightly quicker than the first swim (5:35min). It was far less crowded and gave me the opportunity to get in some solid swim practice. Getting up the sand bank however, was tough on the quads.
T4 was quick and easy without having to deal with the wettie. The second bike leg felt way more difficult than the first. In fact, my ave speed was 28.3kph, so yes, it was slower at 21:28mins. The long run into T5 was, well, long. And it felt it. Worse still, there was hardly anyone out on the course so it felt rather lonely. The run, however, was not so lonely. The public were out in force. I had to keep dodging cyclists and walkers and the two drunkards who were trying to cheer us on (but just coming across sleezy and scary).
I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful to cross the finish line. Overall, it was a great experience and I had a ball. I placed 11 out of 17 in the F35-39 age group but today wasn’t about podiums. It was about restoring my confidence. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much and I’m ready to drop, but I’m glad I did it. I’m also glad I took up the challenge of the different format. It helps to broaden the experience and quite frankly, with 2 swims, 2 rides, 2 runs and 5 transitions, there was plenty of opportunity for practice today.
Now, if only I hadn’t smeared chain grease all over the backseat of my car…
(P.S. I will post some pics when I have them.)