One year ago, Jess and I moved to Woolwich and we looked around for some local events. We quickly found the Clash of the Tritons, a local Aquathlon and we both entered. It was a really nice event and it was run by the triathlon club we are now members of: Greenwich Tritons.
A year on, I was able to do the race again (Jess took up marshalling / official photographer duties). I was excited and a bit nervous. Last year, I had finished in 8th position overall and had been delighted. This year I knew I had improved on both my swim and run so I was really hoping for a good performance.
On race day, we arrived at 5.45am to help with set up: helping to put up the course maps, arranging transition and helping out at the registration desk. We were bleary eyed but the pool looked great as the sun rose!
Swim (11m03 for 750m)
We were set off in 30 second intervals, based on predicted swim time. My predicted swim time was 11 minutes and I was the 19th to set off dead on time. A great cohort of fast swimmers and impeccable organisation as usual from the Tritons!
Charlton Lido is a heated outdoor 50m pool a really great facility that is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. Most of the summer its packed with people but the race organisers had booked the whole pool for the morning. The format was 15 lengths, in a S shape which meant crossing under the lane rope ever two lengths. Tumble turns were allowed which was definitely a bonus for me!
I have been trying to work a bit more rotation into my swim. Previously, I’d been influenced by listening to Tower26 podcasts and they advocate swimming flat in the water, but for me, adding a bit more rotation definitely helped with some speed in the few training sessions before the race. I was also trying to keep my cadence up, keep my legs high in the water, kick (but not too much), turn fast, swim one stroke before breathing after every turn, maintain a high elbow, pull straight down then back (not “S” shaped), breathe keeping one goggle in the water, breathe every three strokes (but every two if I needed to) and stay relaxed but also fast. Why is there so much to think about in swimming?
Some of the coaches later remarked that I was frantically going nowhere fast! But I will take that as constructive criticism, since I was 4th fastest swimmer of the day in a personal best of 11.03! That’s a pace of 1.28/100m which I’m incredibly happy with. I also managed to beat swim rival Hayley who always leads out my lane at swimming – a big plus.
Run 17m33 4.4km
After exiting transition (walking quickly not running), it was on to the run. Three pan flat laps of Hornfair Park, and twice round the flower beds. Last year there were three laps of the flower beds, which meant overall the course this year was just a bit short. Thanks to the marshals who ensured almost everyone followed the same course.
I’ve got to say I was a little bit disappointed with my run, I saw the guy just ahead of me in the swim disappearing into the distance, and despite the incredible support on the course from the Tritons, my average splits fell back into 4 min/km. This was fast but I’d recently done a 3km effort after a swim and quite easily maintained 3.45m/km, and I recently ran a 5km of 18.15. I can only surmise that I over swam, or didn’t swim hard enough in that prior training session. However, I was very happy that my average pace had improved since last year.
I’m doing the Aquathlon European Championships in October and this was a well-timed race to show me exactly what needs work. As it turns out, that’s both the run and the swim. Specifically, I need to swim a bit faster and for longer (1km not 750m) and I need to maintain that faster speed in open water. For the run I need to practise maintaining a fast 5km pace after a hard swim.
As always, this event was a fantastic experience and the prizes donated by Zone 3 had everyone staring on enviously at the prize giving ceremony. This race ticks all the boxes: it’s small enough to have a really friendly atmosphere, it has great support because of the three-lap format and the quality of the organisation is top notch. This year had the bonus of having a really high-quality field of athletes. All-in-all not an event to miss!