Today I took part in a Aquathlon organised by my triathlon club Havering Tri, together with a local running club Havering 90 Joggers. We also did this event earlier in the year which was my first multi-sport event, so I was keen to see how I had improved since April.
Arriving at the venue, there were plenty of club members waiting in our new club hoodies and T-shirts, it was great to see such a good turn-out from both clubs. I collected my swim cap, got marked up with my race number, found out my wave time, and nervously waited to start. I wore two swim caps as usual, one to keep my hair in, and one which which had my race number marked on. The swim cap was incredibly tight, it felt like a vice squeezing my head, I couldn’t wait to get it off!
We were assigned a swim time based on our estimated time for the 400m- being a slower swimmer I was put into one of the first waves of the day- great as it meant I could get on with the race, I hate hanging around waiting to start!
We swam two people per lane, the man alongside me shot off to a flying start but ran out of steam after about 6 lengths which mean I was able to overtake and get into the lead!
I concentrated on keeping my front crawl steady and reminding myself of all the technique tips I’ve been given at my swim training.
The 16 lengths passed really quickly- at 14 lengths we were shown a paddle to let us know that we were approaching our final 50m. This really helped as I find it hard to keep count of my lengths!
Climbing out of the water was the toughest part, I flopped onto the poolside and rolled over like a beached whale! I was really aware of being watched, as spectators were allowed to watch from poolside, as well as those competitors lining up for the next wave.
I ran outside to the transition area whipping off my swim caps and goggles, quickly toweling myself off and putting on trainers and club T-shirt. Our club member Dave was providing the commentary for the day, with funny anecdotes about everyone as they passed through the transition area- he gave Cycle Rhythm a shout-out for me!
The run route headed out of the school grounds and across farmer’s fields into a nature reserve, before looping back around through a graveyard, and back to the school. It was a mostly trail-based run with uneven terrain, muddy puddles, gates to go though and stiles to jump over! I nearly lost my footing a few times in the rutted fields, but managed to stay upright! Luckily the rain had held off, otherwise the route would have been a mud bath!
The marshalls were fantastic giving loads of encouragement and support to runners, with a water station at the half-way point. I was overtaken by a few runners who were a little slower out of the water, but made up the time on the run. The Havering 90 Joggers were really speedy, compared to us triathletes!
I really enjoyed the atmosphere on the run, loads of high-fives and cheers from club members as we passed each other. It was a little uncomfortable running in a soaking wet trisuit and squelchy shoes, but thankfully the 5k run was over really quickly.
I went for a sprint-finish into the school gates to the finish. I wasn’t actually sure where the finish line was so I ran a little further just to make sure! I had an splitting headache as soon as I finished, which I think was from the tight swimming cap- I don’t know if my head is bigger than most people or if it is just my thick hair?!
My times were 9:08 for the swim which I am really pleased with, as my time from the Aquathlon in April was 10:26. The swimming lessons have definitely helped in terms of technique, stamina and speed.
My run time including transition was 29:35- I would have liked to have been closer to 27 minutes, but I think I wasted a bit too much time in transition toweling myself off! At the April Aquathlon, my run time was 30:28, so another improvement there. I came 7th female out of 17, and 41st overall out of 63.
There were no medals at the Aquathlon, but fruit and water, plus a prize-giving for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place male and females.
Overall a fantastic event, made really enjoyable by my club mates both competing and organizing the race- a great team bonding session. The highlight of the day was Kelly completing the whole race in his tiny pair of Union Jack “budgie smugglers”!