My First Triathlon: Part 1

On April 21st 2013 I completed by first ever triathlon at the East Coast Triathlon in Gt. Yarmouth Norfolk.  If you have read by blog before you will know that I had set myself the goal of beating the winning time in the 19-24yr age group from the previous year.  I set my self a target time of 53 minutes to complete the 250m swim, 16km bike ride and 3 km run.  This is the story of the 24 hours prior to the triathlon and hopefully the 53minutes of the triathlon.

Saturday 20th April 9.26am 24 hours to my start time

Wake up have poached egg and toast for breakfast, I have no training planned for today in order to be fully rested for my triathlon tomorrow.  Over breakfast I check over the details of the triathlon to make sure I haven’t missed anything important only to discover to my disappointment that according to British Triathlon I am in fact a year older and therefore in the next age group 25-30.  This throws my dreams of glory out the window, my whole training plan and goals have revolved around that winning time of 53:02 in last year’s 19-24 age group, believing I could match it and win my first triathlon.  I quickly search for the 25-30 age group winning time from last year, 49:40…….  BALLS looks like my Hollywood dream is over!!  But wait, I remind myself that even if I do the performance I believe I am capable of it doesn’t mean that I would have been guaranteed a win, performance is far more important than outcome.

23 hours to start time.

Panic over time to wash my bike, as a clean bike is a faster bike (probably).

22 hours to start time

Pack kit…. Make sure I’ve remembered everything.

  • Shoes
  • Helmet
  • Tri Shorts
  • Cycle Jersey
  • Garmin
  • Goggles
  • Swimming Cap
  • Towel
  • Race belt
  • All my nutrition products
  • Breakfast for the morning.

19 hours to start time

Car packed and ready to go.  Time for lunch and time to start my carbo-loading.  For lunch I have Penne al Arabiatta, eating roughly 150g of pasta washed down with an SiS Nitro Gel.

18 hours to start time.

One final check to make sure I have everything and off we go to the hotel.

15 hours to start time.

 Check into hotel.  Sneak bike into hotel room to build and make sure everything is working and tyre pressures are correct.  Have another check to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything, luckily I haven’t.

14 hours to start time.

Head out to find more carbs to cram into my face.  I have opted to go for an all you can eat Chinese buffet, an unorthodox choice you might think.  However this option is perfect for a triathlete on a budget as long as you stick to some simple rules.  Rule number 1. Use rice to as your staple for each plate ensuring you get ample carbohydrate.  Rule number 2. Steer clear of any deep fried treats, spring rolls, battered anything ect. (Yes I broke rule 2 but only had one spring roll) Rule number 3. Stick to a simple sauce, sweet and sour chicken is good as this is made mainly from sugar, and although not perfect will help you increase your calorie intake.  Rule number 4. Eat until you feel comfortably full, not sick.  These 4 simple rules will ensure that you take in a large number of carbohydrates so that you are ready to race in the morning.

13 hours to start time.

Head back to hotel.  Get ready for bed and have another SiS Go Nitrate Gel.  Lie down and watch rubbish on TV until I fall asleep, making sure I get plenty of sleep as it’s an early start tomorrow.

4 hours to start.

I wake up to the sound of my alarm, ‘Harder Than You Think; Public Enemy’ – because after the amazing Paralympics of last summer who can’t get psyched up to that music – to have breakfast. For breakfast I have a massive bowl of granola bought from home for my last big hit of carbs before the start, washed down with a SiS Go Nitrate Gel.

3 hours to start

Get dressed and have a final check of all my kit before loading it into the car and drive to the Great Yarmouth Sea Front.

2 hours 30 minutes to start.

The race is run from the Marina Leisure Centre on the Sea front Strip of Great Yarmouth, a bizarre place with 2 penny arcades with Vegas style fronts with their neon lights and 50’s décor.  Each one looks like a scene from a ghost town this early in the morning.

I head into the sports hall to sign on and get my number, 100, and set my kit up in transition.  The allocation of your place for the transition is a free for all, so I decide to pick the spiot closest to the exit and entry for the cycle ride so I have as little time pushing my bike as possible.

2 hours to start.

Time for the briefing from the race marshals, excellent people who volunteer their time to make sure we can compete.  The format for this triathlon is a 250m swim in the pool, a 16km bike along the sea front and then a 3km run along the promenade.   Being a pool swim we shall go off in number order with a 30 second gap between each swimmer.  The first thing I learn from my first triathlon is that it is very important to listen to the briefing as I found out later.

60 minutes to start.

As the first competitors set off on their swim the nerves start to kick in, ‘Have I remembered everything?’   ’53 minutes seem quick.’  These thoughts start to creep in, but I remind myself I can only do my best and if I do that I will reach my goal.

40 minutes to start.

Now it’s time for my final stage of preparation, a final SiS Go Energy bar and my warm up.  Being as I only bought one pair of trainers and they are in the transition zone,  I cannot perform my warm up outside as I planned.  Fortunately the leisure centre is a maze of carpeted corridors, so I find myself a quite one and get started.

I start with some gentle shuttle runs up and down the corridor for 5 minutes, followed by some sprints, to get my legs switched on and ready for the bike and run.  Next I need to to get those arms warmed up for the swim, using a resistance band and door handle I try to recreate my swimming stroke for 5 minutes at an easy pace.  Once I’m down I wrap up in my track suit to keep nice and warm and head back to the pool.

10 minutes to start.

Time for the goggles and swim cap, and a final think through my plan; Swim; Go off at a steady pace, keeping your stroke long and efficient, pushing of long and hard at the turns; Cycle; lay it all down in the opening 10km, and then reign it back in before the run; Run; go off at a steady pace and get gradually increase the pace, saving a little for the final 200m and then empty the taps.

5 minutes to go

Finally strip off to my shorts, squirt a SiS Go Caffeine Gel down my thought and join the cue for the pool.  The number order is worked based on predicted swim time, that means all those around me should be swimming at similar pace, so if I can keep the distances I should be on track.

1 minute to go.

It’s time to get in the pool, as I slide into the water I know this is finally it, what all the training and following SiS nutrition advice has all been about, hopefully in 54 minutes from now I will be crossing the finish line just outside this building.

The marshal starts counting down.

10..

9…

8….

7…..

6……

5…….

4……..

3………

2……….

1…………

G0!

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