Not long now …

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Can you believe it ? I can’t thats for sure. In exactly one week I will have completed my first ever triathlon. Granted, its not exactly a full Ironman but you have to start somewhere and that somewhere will be Athy in County Kildare for the annual TriAthy. Its generally regarded as the easiest of the triathlon season and the perfect course to introduce budding triathletes to the whole world of triathlon.

The swim section of the race takes place in the river Barrow and while the river water will not be as buoyant as sea water, apparently the flow of the river will aid you in the swim which will come in very handy. The swim is probably the only part of the race which concerns me at all. I recently bought a wetsuit and tested it in Sandycove and was very pleased with it. While it does let in some water the temperature was very tolerable. I expect the water in the river Barrow to be about 13 degrees on the day so I know now what that feels like which is half the battle. I did buy new swim goggles but having tried them on they are too big so I will need to acquire another pair, because the last thing I need is for my goggles to start filling up with water in the middle of the first leg of a triathlon.

In recent weeks I have been practising ‘sighting’, in the pool. This essentially means lifting one’s head every few strokes so as you can see where you’re going and if there is anyone in your way. I intend to start at the rear and in the outskirts of my group/ wave to ensure that I’m not in many people’s way. I only took up swimming 4 years ago and while I hope to swim the 750 m leg in about 15 minutes, I’d like to do so without getting in the way of better swimmers which would be frustrating for all concerned.

The cycle leg is a 20km route out of Athy and back again, I will be aiming to do this in less than 38 minutes. I learned a couple of things during the course of the duathlon I did in Naas a couple of months ago, one of them being the importance of maintaining an aero / streamline position while pedaling. During the duathlon, my back began to hurt possibly because my positioning wasn’t correct and I stood up in the saddle a few times, which would inevitably have slowed me down. I bought a pair of clip on triathlon bars which allow me to maintain a more aerodynamic position hopefully for longer and help me shave some time off.

As far as the run leg of 5km is concerned I have no issues aside from a couple blisters which will be healed by next week. I had done very little running in recent months because of some bone bruising and any running I did do was on grass. In spite of having run very few miles I still managed to run 5km this week in 19.04 mins with which I was very pleased. I had considered running without socks to save time on the day but the blisters I got this week have convinced me otherwise.

All in all we’re looking good for next week’s Sprint triathlon. Half the battle is surviving the months of training in one piece so that you are actually in a position to line out on the day. next week will be all new to me but I aim to enjoy the experience. I do have a ball park estimated time of 1 hour 15 minutes for completion. If I can manage that I will be delighted, but right now just negotiating the race from start to finish safely is my main goal, exciting times ahead, bring it on 🙂

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