At the start of the year I set myself the challenge of completing a triathlon at every distance in this calendar year.
You could say that the approach to these distances has been erratic at best.
In an ideal world, I would have increased the distance with each passing triathlon, thus the running order should have been
4. Half iron
5. Iron distance.
So far my season has gone like this.
1. 3/4 Olympic
2. Half Iron
4. Iron distance
To complete my challenge I needed to find a supersprint.
A supersprint consists of a 200 or 400m swim, followed by a 10km bike and a 2.5km run.
I was really struggling to find a suitable race for late in the season. There are a limited number of Supersprint races especially later in the triathlon season.
One option was the Brownlee triathlon but the cost and the fact I had plan for this meant this was not feasible.
Then all of a sudden out of nowhere I saw on Twitter an advert for the Derby supersprint. This race was being held on Sunday 1st September. HMMMMMMMM?!?!?!?!?!?
Not ideal as this is the same date as my Wife's birthday. How to broach this one?
I decided to just go with honesty. After a really nervous phone call, my plan was approved.
I really do have an understanding wife. Not only have both our holidays this year have either been for triathlons or training camps, but now I was allowed to do a triathlon on her birthday.
She is so supportive of me, it is unreal and this unwavering support is one of the reasons I have succeeded in every triathlon I have.
In my darkest moments she is there to reassure me and for this I am eternally grateful.
So after paying the £20 entry fee (a lot cheaper than the £95 the Brownlee triathlon anted for the same distance), I was enrolled for the Derby Supersprint. Sweet my main goal for 2013 would now be completed.
I got up on the 1st September at 05:00 to travel to Derby for the triathlon. This was exceptionally early for such a short triathlon. I had my breakfast and was on the road. I had packed everything the night before to not wake the neighbours.
During my drive I was mentally checking through everything that I had packed and with about 20 minutes to go, I realised I had made a rookie mistake. I had forgotten my number belt. Balls, balls, balls. I would either have to borrow or buy a number belt at the venue.
HUUB were sponsoring the event so there was a chance they would have number belts with them. As soon as I arrived I unpacked my gear and made my way over to the Sports Centre. I saw the HUUB van and asked if they had number belts. They said yes but were too busy to sell me one there and then. Disaster averted so I went to register.
After I returned from registration there was no one at the HUUB van. Right so now we have few choices left. Either: -
• I pin both the race numbers to my trisuit and wear them for the pool swim
• I pin one to my gilet for the bike (as it was about 10 degrees) and pin another to my trisuit for the run and wear the one on my trisuit for the swim.
• Wait around for someone to return to the HUUB van.
• Beg for a number belt
• Borrow a number belt
• Steal a number belt
I saw the BTF race official and explained and thankfully she had some elastic with her that she kindly lent me to act as a number belt. Phew. I quickly set out my transition area and got undressed to my trisuit before making my way to the Sports Centre for the swim in the pool.
What can I say about the swim?
As you all know by now, this is the bit of triathlon I am best at. I had entered an estimated time of 3 minutes and 10 seconds for the 200m, which I thought, was achievable.
The swim was 8 lengths of the 25m pool and we were swimming in groups of 5 (one swimmer per lane) at 5 minutes intervals. I got in the pool and waited for the go from the starter. We were on our way and I quickly pulled clear of the other swimmers in my group. I was motoring. I exited the water in 3 minutes and 12 seconds according to my Garmin. Sweet I was nearly at my estimated pace. I jogged out of the pool hall (depositing my swim hat in the bin) and ran down the dewy grass.
I entered T1 after 3:48 had passed which was the 8th quickest time of the day. I was thrilled.
I faffed a bit in T1 getting my gilet and gloves on. One of the other swimmers from my group overtook me. I really need to work on my transitions. The time was 01:44. Not too bad but a lot of room for improvement as the best T1 time was 29 seconds.
I so need to practice the shoes clipped to the bike thing.
One of the reasons I was slower was that it was 11 degrees and I wasted time putting on my gilet to keep the chill off my chest.
The bike course was a complete unknown to me and I found it quite complex. There were lots of tight bends; this restricted my chances to put the hammer down. For the first time in a triathlon I did not get overtaken on the bike, which was another bonus. I did overtake two people though, which is always nice.
There was a sting in the tail of the course in the shape of a little hill towards the end but I noted this on the way out and kept something in the tank. I was a little disappointed with my time of 19:09 for the 5.91 miles as this equated to an average speed of under 19mph and I proved in my TT that I could average over 21mph. I think this loss of speed was due to the complexity of the course but it was the same course for everyone. I shouldn't complain I had the 27th quickest bike split our of 90 people
I breezed into T2 and racked my bike. I had unvelcroed my show on the way to the dismount line and slipped my feet out to save time. I quickly put on my trainers, took off my gilet and set off jogging.
This was the first triathlon where I have gone sockless and given the short distance I didn't see this as a problem. Even me with my wussy feet can put up with rubbing for 2.5km. My feet were still wet from the swim and it took me a few seconds to get the trainers on and laced. At this point I noticed a woman had just pulled into T2 panting. I joked only 13 minutes of hard work to go. My T2 time was 1:04, which I was pleased with.
Note to self invest in some elastic laces for your new racing flats to save more time.
I had purchased some Skechers Go Run 2 at the London Triathlon and this was the time to see what these lightweight flats were made of.
I set off jogging at a reasonable pace and saw someone in the distance. I tried to remember to race my own race and not chase them down so as not to blow up on the run. I was not going to walk during this 2.5km. I ignored the person ahead of me and ran at a quick pace for me.
The next time I looked up I was gaining on the person in front. Unintentional but I'll take any bonus. The run course was flat and this played to my strengths. You left transition ran around the edge of a field before heading back towards transition before leaving the field and joining a running track where you completed two laps. I have never ever run on a running track before so this was a pleasant surprise.
I enjoyed the experience of running on a proper running track and was really starting to gain on the person in front. In the last 100 or so meters I opened up my run and started to speed up. I gained on the person in front and flew past with 10m to spare. I love saving something for a sprint finish. It is such an invigorating feeling sprinting towards the finish line.
My run time for the 2.5km was 12:55 and as such was a new PB for the distance. It was also the first time that I have not been overtaken on the run in a triathlon. Maybe there is a runner in my body somewhere and it is trying to break out. I had the 46th quickest run, which is not quite top half but close enough for me.
Oh and I really enjoyed my new racing flats. I felt fats and had a new PB. Now I just need to see how far I can run in them blister and sock free. Hopefully a 5km and maybe some 10km runs but that’s for experimentation over the coming months.
It turns out my prediction of 13 minutes of pain was justified as well. The woman I joked with had used me as a pacer and kept me in her sights and finished in just over 13 minutes as well. Someone using me as a pacer. Whatever next?
I was elated with my performance on the day. Overall I was the 31st quickest athlete on the day with a time of 38:42:55.
After a quick packing of my stuff, it was a quick drive back home to celebrate my achievement of completing a triathlon at every distance in 2013, a good race, some new PB's and more importantly my wife's birthday.
Hope you are all still enjoying the journey as it has a long way to go yet.
Thanks for reading,