Triathlons, I can see the appeal—those cool short socks, the swallowing/breathing in of salty sea water–followed by choking, the being kicked in the face or drowned by other swimmers, the minimally padded tri-suits—it’s a barrel of laughs. But on a more serious note, there are some real things that kind of appeal. I can honestly see why people like it: the different disciplines. Finding what your weak area is and improving it to improve your overall time. Are your transitions letting you down? IMprove them. Is your swimming the weak part? Focus on swimming for a while. It’s all a bit of a game.
I’m a cyclist, though. And the more I get into cycling, the less it appeals to be honest. It was a bit of fun, but I personally find cycling hard enough to train for. I mean, you also have different disciplines: climbing, sprinting, going hard, descending etc. So adding swimming, running and transitioning… Nah.
I have also been having issues with my left knee for many years, it went away for a year or so and I managed to complete a half marathon with no issues, but recently it’s come back. It only running that causes the pain, so cycling is fine. I think it’s either time to hang up the runners, or see a physio. Seeing as I’m generally a bit poor, I think hanging up the runners is the option for now.
Anyway, I did some triathloning on Sunday. The annual corporate triathlon. It’s a bit of a relay triathlon, where three team members all do a full triathlon each and pass on a timing chip between participants. My boss, Mark did it with me and we brought in Maeve as a secret outsider—you know, because she’s pro.
I did the first leg, and really struggled in the swim. Besides the aforementioned face kicking and swallowing seawater, I was not fit in the swimming department. I, as always, got carried away and went out super hard. My arms spinning like a wind turbine in a hurricane, for about 30 seconds, then I had that usual realisation, “oh shit, I am not a swimmer, why have my lungs stopped working, I can’t get enough air in them, I’m going to die.” This is followed by doing breaststroke for a bit to catch my breath. The swim basically consisted of that. Freestyle, almost drown, breaststroke, freestyle, almost drown, breaststroke and so on.
Coming to shore I put my feet down as soon as I could and waded the rest of the way in. I was seeing stars and therefore knew I’d gone as hard as I could. A gentle jog to the bike compound to get my body back in working order. I transitioned as quickly as I could, but my socks proved a bit annoying to put on, but I managed it. I ran out to the bike mounting place, and jumped on in a swift and forward moving motion. Definitely looked pro.
It makes me laugh at some of the sights you get on these types of triathlons. The type that every man and his dog can enter. You get the genuine pros, the wannabe pros, the athletically fit, the hubbards and the normal people. The equipment follows the same suit. Genuine pros on their tri-bikes with aero helmets travelling FAST. The wannabe pros also on their tri-bikes with aero helmets but struggling to get their feet into their shoes and generally going slower than most. I even saw one guy with an aero tri-bike, aero helmet and… runners. Like, bro, any advantage you’re getting from your aero helmet is being completely squashed by not wearing cleated shoes.
So the ride I smashed. Easy peasy. Then came the run, and I was still feeling fairly fresh, even after pushing myself as hard as I could on the bike. So I started out pretty quickly on the run, sub 4:30/min but it didn’t take long for my knee to start hurting. Brilliant. I basically hobbled around as quickly as I could without causing too much damage. My right calf is feeling the strain a few days later, having taken most of the weight.
I passed the timer onto Mark, who finished in remarkable time considering he'd done no training. He then passed it onto Maeve, who also smashed the swim, did really well on the bike considering she doesn't ride at all, and then smashed the run too. Here she is bringing it home:
We all did pretty well, considering none of us had really trained. Will I do any more triathlons? I don’t know. I don’t have any intention to right now. Not until my knee is fixed!