Another of our club members Catherine MacDonald took part in the London Standard Distance Triathlon 2018 - find out what Cathy thought of the experience.
LONDON TRI – OLYMPIC DISTANCE by Catherine MacDonald
‘Be Careful what You Wish For’
Last year after turning blue once too often, I decided no more open water in Scotland but rather than simply stop, I chose to finish it with an event
I chose London Triathlon. A few reasons
1. The water wouldn’t be cold.
2. I’d never tried an Olympic distance before.
3. A night out in London afterwards would be fun.
Swimming is my worst discipline – in fact watching me in the water creates intrigue and a question as to what I am actually doing. I am slow.
The water in Victoria Dock had exceeded 25 degrees on Friday and we were advised to be ready for a wetsuit prohibited event – I was happy either way because I would be warm. On the day it was 24 degrees and wetsuits were required.
The organization was sleek and the course well marked, briefing was as you’d expect and before I knew it I was in the water with a pink cap …. I don’t care for pink, why do they do pink for ladies? I had intended to crawl the whole way, while it is slow it is still my fastest stroke but the ‘piranha fish’ style start had me reverting to breast stroke within 20 seconds.
Once the frenzy was ahead of me, I tried again but my ankle (still recovering from torn ligaments) caused me trouble after 20 or so kicks and I consumed more bacteria filled water than I cared for which is down to my technique. I don’t mind being battered and bruised after an event but bacteria in my belly …… no thank you. The summary is that I did 60% breast stroke and 40% crawl. I finished the swim in 40mins 54s – I was happy, warm and not blue.
My bahookie has been sat on a bike and a turbo for most of the winter and much of spring with lots of outdoor biking in this year’s sun so with that behind me, there was no doubt that this would be my strongest discipline. I had hired a good bike but I really missed my tri bars – that was a surprise as it actually took a while to have confidence in them. An unexpected and neat realization.
The 40k consisted of 4 x 10k circuits and I really enjoyed it. I had imagined that there would be thousands of competitors getting in each other’s way, but the only pinch points were rather tight turning points at either end of the circuit – why are they made so sharp and tight?
One good thing about being a slow swimmer and a strong cyclist is that one’s ego is boosted with never ending overtakes and for the first two loops I felt really strong, in fact I stuck with a guy who had GB and his name printed on his butt which gave me an extra boost. I used to be pleased if I overtook 2 or 3 cyclists during an event and on this occasion I lost count. More importantly the only people overtaking me looked athletic and professional.
It was warm, really warm at 30 degrees and I noticed the temperature a lot when making those slow turns. I was well hydrated and always take my nutrition before an event pretty seriously, mainly because I want to feel good. The water in my bottles after only 20 minutes in the heat resembled a warm cup of tea more than a cooling drink.
The last two loops were slower with fewer overtakes but still respectable. My time – 1hr 22m 45s. I was happy, warm and not blue.
I used to describe myself as a strong runner but now I am in the middle of the pack – a combination of age, injuries and attitude perhaps.
The run was 4 x 2.5k (maybe a bit longer) circuit and I equated it to completing four circuits of the north inch at Perth. The route was partly on the walkway along the Victoria Dock and partly indoors through the air conditioned Excel building.
I hadn’t really given the run much consideration – it was flat, 10k and what was there to think about other than just doing it! I competed the first circuit without incident but the warm conditions I had wished for crept up and hit me hard as my body seemed to become ‘temperature confused’ and it struggled to regulate itself. Perhaps switching between direct sunshine, relentless heat and an air conditioned building had something to do with it but I found myself shivering cold in the baking heat. Again, I don’t mind being battered and bruised from events but something like this is more organic and I immediately walked. It only took about 30 seconds to clear the first time and I was able to run again. I remained well hydrated and fueled but the heat was something else and I recall thinking that being cold and blue in Scottish water never made me feel as ‘wrong’ as the heat.
My time 1hr 14m 28s. I finished happy, hot and not blue.
Time – 3.25.13
Place – 3rd of 11 - F50-54
Place – 124th of 273 - Women
Place – 736th of 1163 – Olympic Competitors
I reflect on the way I used to be and compare my performance to my younger self. I need to stop that.
I finished 3rd with a ‘complete and enjoy’ attitude. I wonder how it would have worked out if I had put my competitive brain in gear!
I need to put effort in to improving my swim.
Be careful what you wish for - it may just happen
The night out in London was fabulous. Bacteria stayed out of my belly.
I loved the experience, considered it a one off but I wonder ….. if I trained for next year could I beat 3rd place?
Thank you for reading. Cathy
Fantastic racing Cathy ??????????