50 metres long. Start and exit were on the far side of it.
Yesterday was a perfect day for a triathlon. It was dry and sunny, but not too hot, and there was some wind, but not too much. I had signed up for the Waltriathlon in Brunsbüttel
, a little more than an hour northwest of Hamburg. I felt well prepared for the triathlon: basic endurance and muscle formation training during the winter, followed by interval training, many intense training units during the last six weeks and reduced physical load during the last week before the event. My goal was a finishing time of 1 hour and 40 minutes or below for 500m swimming, 20km cycling and 5km running.
However, when I came into the attic yesterday morning to get my bike, I saw my hopes dashed. One of the tyres was flat. I had had a little problem with the valve a few days before, but I had thought I had fixed the problem. I carefully pumped up the tyre again and put my ear close to the valve. It did not sound as if the air was escaping. I decided to take the pump with me, loaded the bike along with all my other equipment into my car and checked the tyre again
Start and goal for the cycling part
You had to run with your helmet on and closed to the gate, then you were allowed to mount your bike. On the way back, you had to get off your bike below the gate, then run to your spot with the helmet closed.
when arriving in Brunsbüttel. It seemed okay, so I went to get my number and time chip and attend the briefing.
The guy who did the briefing was anything but optimistic. Before even telling us where we would have to go, he told us that they had had to alter the running route because of some roadwork that had not been finished on time and that we would have to pass two turnpoints twice. It was somewhat confusing, but I figured the helpers at the turnpoints would tell us where to go when we would get there. Next, he told us that the cycling route was not optimal because the road surface was not in good condition and because there were some narrow spots, in some of them we would even face two-way traffic. Then he said he was hoping car drivers would respect their not being allowed to drive on the bike route. He made some more encouraging comments, but I won’t cite them all.
In the end, I asked another athlete which way we were supposed to take from the pool to the transition area, from there to the bike route, and then from the transition
... with the river in the background and my nice index finger in the foreground ;-)
area to the running route. After that, I took time to carefully prepare my equipment.
Finally, we were ready to start. I got into the pool with the other athletes. In a triathlon, you usually share the lane with a number of other athletes, and then you line up with the fastest one first and the slowest one last. When we started off, I realised that I should have been more confident and gone more towards the front. It took me some effort to overtake the woman right in front of me. Shortly after that, I was being overtaken by another woman who recklessly pushed me into the chain that separated one lane from the other. Another woman was behind me and kept on touching my feet, while I could not pass the one in front of me. It was such a stressful situation that I had trouble breathing. To get an overview of the situation and catch my breath again, I changed over from crawl to breast stroke for about one lap. This of course cost me time, but eventually I had caught my breath, could go back to crawl and speed up again. The last couple of
Katha on her bike
The picture was actually taken last year at the triathlon in Wilhelmshaven, but never mind, the bike still looks the same (although Katha has lost some weight :-)).
laps were okay, but although I love swimming, I was glad to get out of the water.
I ran over to the transition zone, dropped my goggles, put on my bike shoes, sunglasses and helmet, put the number around my waist and took some carbohydrate gel. They require you to close your helmet and not mount your bike until you pass a certain point. I did everything right and started racing with my bike. The first two kilometres were a bit of a challenge because of many sharp turns, but eventually, we got out of town and could speed up. We did a big loop, and of course on our way back we were in headwind. I tried to keep my speed up so that one kilometre would take me about two minutes. When there were little slopes, I got up from the saddle in order not to lose too much speed. When I arrived back at the transition zone, only 55 minutes since our start had passed. This meant that I could even make goal in less than 1:30:00. I paid close attention to getting off the bike at the line, then running to my spot with my helmet closed. If you don’t follow this rule, you receive a warning.
I quickly took of my helmet, changed shoes, took some more carbohydrate gel, put on a baseball cap and started running. The first couple of metres of running straight after cycling always hurt. But you just have to keep running, and eventually you get used to it. The turnpoint was indeed a bit confusing. We came down a dam and had to run along the river to a turnpoint, then back to the point at the bottom of the dam. There we were given a little ribbon and had to pass the other turnpoint again. When we passed the point at the bottom of the dam for the third time, we had to give the ribbon back and could start running towards goal. I looked at my watch and realised that I could even make goal in less than 1:30:00. I managed to speed up a little bit – and made goal in 1:27:00 (swimming: 11:50; cycling: 44:07; running: 31:03)! I was SO proud of myself, and I still am.
Last year in May, I did my first triathlon, and my time there had been 1:51:29. I August, I did one in difficult conditions, with swimming in heavy sea and cycling and running in strong wind, and I ended up with a time of 1:46:21. Now it is 1:27:00. What an improvement!
I called my trainer, and he was all happy with me. But as after the competition is before the competition, he gave me instructions on how to continue my training during the next two weeks. However, I allowed myself a lazy afternoon, with my favourite ice cream, some nice food from my favourite Indian delivery service and some time with my book in a deckchair on my balcony. Life is good 😊.
Tot: 0.916s; Tpl: 0.051s; cc: 13; qc: 33; dbt: 0.0183s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb