Monday, 1 October 2012

Diamond Triathlon Sprint


So I completed my first triathlon last week: sprint distance at Diamond Tri in Eton Dorney, Windsor. Which is strange because I've always been a runner and have actively avoided triathlon. I just didn't see how I would ever get the same emotional connection like I do from ultrarunning.  Triathlon just seemed too aggressive and all about the 'wasted seconds' in transition or on the bike. It didn't seem, well, spiritual enough if you know what I mean. Nope, not for me.

Until now. But why? Three months ago I started cycling to work. At 40-miles each way, it came as a shock at first, but slowly my body acclimatised to the onslaught of commuting and the seemingly never-ending ride home.  Indeed, the first week of the commute killed me. My wife feared for my return. Nothing short of a whole braised minted lamb shoulder would satisfy my hunger and a new respect for regular long-distance cycling began to develop. One month into it, I thought to myself 'you're banging out some miles here boyo, and running at weekends – why not put it to some bloody use?'.

The natural move would have been to sign up for a duathlon and be done with it. Indeed, that may have been the case had I not happened to watch the Brownlee brothers at the Olympics. The sheer determination they showed us moved me so much, I was inspired to get online and sign up for something. Anything, as long as it started with a 't' and ended with a 'riathlon'. So I did. Done. Paid. Then I reminded myself that I'd neglected swimming for way too long...

To cut a short sprint short; I found myself standing thigh deep in the water at Eton Dorney. My first tri in uber-shit weather and I was nervous as a calf in a slaughterhouse. Go!

The swim was surreal, like two worlds: chaos on top of the water and calm underneath with zero sound. The bike was lonely, an almost virtual battle with myself. The run, well, that just happened and I floated through it with absolutely no feeling in my feet.

And it was over. 26th out of 280. 11 whole minutes behind the winner - which is like Earth to the Moon in triathlon. 4th overall in the run and 9th in age group which, by way of reminding me, is Veteran.

I'm in. This year I doff my cap to triathlon. But it has to be with a twist because once an ultra-oriented brain, always one.

Err, waiter, a Norseman please.


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