This is going to be epic… T-5 days to TriAthy

Rain, rain, go away! – It’s May, nearly June and that’s summer in most peoples books. With the heat on at home the motivation to go training is difficult when you’re lacing up damp shoes or facing a downhill spin at 40kmph with slippy leaves everywhere.

But TriAthy is happening, they’re not going to postpone it because of the rain and that means wet runners, wet socks and some white knuckle rides down into Enniskerry, hoping I make the turn at the monument before I hit the back of a bus!

But over the last two weeks I did train and I’m delighted that (most of) it has gone well, I’m more confident on the bike now than I have ever been, I’m running good distances, feeling strong afterwards and I’ve even been to the gym for some strength & conditioning.

With less than a week to go, the last few sessions have turned to race specific training. Transition practice, choosing & training in my race day gear and deciding on a nutrition strategy has been fun. I enjoy reading up on other people’s experiences and talking to other triathletes has helped me no end in deciding what I’m going to do. It’s really nice to see other, more experienced competitors sharing their knowledge in blogs, on twitter and Facebook. They were novices once, and their advice has been invaluable.

For me, time on the bike will be key. Depending on how tired I am coming out of the water, the first few kilometers on the bike will be used to get some breath back, fuel up and get the mind focused and prepared for the run. I’m going to take my time in both transitions to get my bearings right. If I rush I know something will go wrong, I need to dry my toes properly, set my watch, tie my laces properly – I’d prefer to take a minute longer here than head out and forget something.

But what about your swimming I hear you cry? Well dear friends, therein possibly lies a problem, swimming was the reason I moved from sprint to Olympic. It was my strong point and sure most of the river Barrow course is downstream so that makes it even better. Because of that, I may have neglected to swim enough. In the last fortnight, 2 pool sessions were aborted before 1000m because I just ‘couldn’t get going’ and my one open water swim to date was in sea so rough the support boat wouldn’t go out.

So I turned up to Swim Athy on Sunday decidedly undercooked and very nervous, facing a river swelled by 3 days of solid rain and a current so strong the ducks were all hiding in the rushes.

In jumped the Try-a-Tri warriors, they had to swim 250m downstream, and finished so quickly most of them were out and dry before the smoke from the start gun had blown away. 700m sprint competitors were next, 200m upstream, turn and finish just after the bridge. These guys knew what they were doing but when our 1500m group saw that many of them were having difficulty just getting up to their start we knew we had a battle on our hands.

Now, I’m not talking about the raging Colorado here, but the river had swelled 9inches overnight so our 600m upstream was a challenge to say the least. This didn’t do my head any good, I was here to test my abilities, I already doubted my decision after the poor lead-in, but I had entered and I was going to give it a lash.

Off we went, for some reason I found myself in front of the whole group, which is ideal experience if I was a cage fighter, not so much for a novice triathlete. A little battered, I settled into a slow but steady routine making the 600 turn in about 30minutes with the 900m swim home taking less than half that.

Job done. Slow and steady didn’t win the race this time around but it got me over the line and set me up for the real thing. I wasn’t last, I was slower than I’d hoped but I know now what to expect.

A week to go and this is going to be epic. I can’t wait.

Some Garmin Data from the week…
16th May – BRIC Session, Bike – Garmin Data
16th May – BRIC Session, Run – Garmin Data
18th May – 8mile LSR – Garmin Data
19th May – 4mile easy – Garmin Data
22nd May – Speedwork – Garmin Data
24th May – 10mile LSR – Garmin Data

About @killianbyrne

I'm a 40 something husband and dad who has lost lots of weight, finished a couple of marathons & triathlons and learned to enjoy life in the last few years.
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