Fritton Lake today; Olympic distance triathlon. I wanted to test a few things out for Zurich, in competition conditions. But not the competition bike; that isn’t going to be used in anger until Zurich!
Things didn’t go entirely as planned.
Swim – I switched to bilateral breathing in the pool at the start of the year, encouraged by a coach; it is second nature now; but it didn’t work in the lake swim today. I pulled up after a couple of minutes; I couldn’t get my breath; got in a panic; the start was much nearer than the finish; I was close to going home. I tried to restart a couple of times with one-sided breathing; I still couldn’t regulate my breathing. I watched the other green swim hats disappear in the distance; decided to give it one more go; breathing just to the right. It was ok; in fact it was better than ok; I powered ahead; felt great; caught a few green hats by the end. It will have to be one-sided breathing for Zurich; the zigzagging that results isn’t pretty to watch; but it will get me through. I did try a few bilateral breaths once I got going again; I felt a hint of motion sickness that I had never felt breathing more frequently. A good decision, for now.
First transition – I had decided to go with a technical t-shirt plus tri-shorts this time. I left the t-shirt in transition to put on after the swim. I discovered after the event that I had worn it back-to-front (in my defence the logos looked pretty much the same front and back…but you know the feeling that the neck is higher at the back; and the label was definitely at the front!). I will find a tri-top to wear under my wetsuit for Zurich; problem solved.
Bike leg – no disasters. I find over this distance I have a tendency to get carried away with the race and put less effort into nutrition on the bike leg than I should; but I managed pretty well this time; I used up everything I took with me on the bike. One more discovery: the salt capsules I take (Saltstick caps) look indestructible; but they need to be kept in a container or they disintegrate on the move (I had a tic-tac box last year but couldn’t find it for today).
Second transition – after the event a friend noted that I had gone for the ‘old-school’ option of tying my laces and not one of the ‘technical’ alternatives. My thinking, as you will see further on, is that I won’t improve my time much at this distance; so, my instinct is to stick with ordinary laces as I am not too worried about transition times in Zurich (can you take a deck chair as an aid during transition?!).
Run course – this was an off-road run course; tricky enough when tired; but, when the organisers only provided one drink station, and that ran out during the race (three lap course), that is taking the level of difficulty too far.
Today’s time: 2 hrs 43. I have posted bang on 2.40 three times before. Clearly, I have a speed limiter. But, when I posted 5 hrs 31 in my first half-ironman, last year, I thought, maybe I can replicate a similar performance whatever the distance. We will see how well that translates into a full distance event.
I’ve just read on WordPress that the Rapperswil Ironman event (also in Switzerland) was cancelled because of a landslip. Hopefully the wet weather will let up and not affect Zurich.
Joe Friel recommends a couple of ‘big days’ before an Ironman event. The idea is to extend the training day to include all three disciplines, something closer to the full distance, but with breaks in-between. An extension of what I tried today. I like the idea. It will have to be next weekend or the one after. Running out of time.