Hartlepool Marina Triathlon - Swim
For me, this has been one of the big ones this year. To graduate up from pool-based triathlons to open-water events. If I want to go any further with triathlon, then getting into outdoor water is an absolute must, and something I’ve worked really hard at this year.
So completing this event was a big deal for me.
Anyway . . . with an 08:00 start, and a 45 minute drive to the event, and the need to have an hour on-site before start time just to get my stuff together (the mental and the physical stuff), and the need to have breakfast, load the bike on the back of the car, and have taken Huge Dalmatian out for a walk . . . I ended up staggering out of bed at 05:00. My plan had been to pull my body clock forward by 1/2 an hour a day in the preceding week, making this [relatively] early start a doddle.
That didn’t happen, so until just before six, I was staggering around like a zombie. Seriously, if I’d make the fatal mistake of just laying down for a couple of seconds, just to rest my eyes, I’d have woken up at around lunch time. Fortunately my nerves and the porridge, peanut butter, honey, Frosties and coffee eventually kicked in.
Why the need for the bike on the back, rather than in the car? And why the need to walk Huge Dalmatian before setting off - surely Wife & Daughter could do that when the got up? Nope - this race was such a big deal for me that I’d requested the Karl McCracken Supporters’ Club to come along. And in testament to her luurve , Wife (who so does not do mornings) was up and ready to go, with Daughter also dressed, by just after six.
Anyway, finding the race was easy, as it’s my business partner’s home town, and sure enough, he was also there with his daughter (as spectators). And this after yesterday was his birthday. Cool.
Registration was easy (only about 120 entrants), and once I’d got my bike (Christine) racked & transition laid out, I seemed to have time on my hands. Which was not a good thing, because I started to get nervy. And then I was changed, and it was time for the race briefing.
Uh-oh! The race directer seemed to be announcing a change to the swim course. Due to the low level of the tide, the planned rectangular course had been changed for one that was four sides of a triangle (look at the map on the link, it’ll make sense), with the exit ~200m from transition.
This race has a deep water start, so I picked a spot near the back, on the outside of the pack . . . and there’s the klaxon . . . and we’re off!
I was really glad that I’d hung back, as even with this small event, it was quite a mêlée. I was also making sure that I took it easy - this was further than I’ve ever raced before (though I’d swum the distance loads in training . . . but that’s different). Pretty soon though, I seemed toe be swimming more or less completely alone.
Had I ‘done a Zappoman’, and was now right at the front of the field, being pursued by an angry mob of triathletes? Uh, no.
I was near the back, and WAY, WAY OFF COURSE. I looked up, I was about halfway along the first straight . . . but the marker buoy for the first turn was about 50 degrees off my left shoulder, and there was a man in a canoe next to me trying to get my attention. So I smiled sheepishly, and corrected my course, swimming now toward the buoy and splashy crowd in the water.
My progress to the second buoy was better, but still not straight - I think I got maybe only about 20m off-course on this one. After the second buoy, I started to catch up with other swimmers . . . and finally seemed to have figured out the swimming in a straight line thing . . . frequent glances in the direction of the marker buoy, sighting on the buildings next to the water . . . . and then the last straight.
This was into the wind again, and the tiredness was starting to catch up with me - my left shoulder seemed really heavy . . . but soon enough, there was the final buoy, and then suddenly right in front of my nose, the bottom of the slipway.
Time to stand up. But oh my goodness, what’s happened to my legs? (wobble, wobble, stagger, stagger). I looked back as I left the water . . . at least five other people still swimming, so at least I wasn’t quite last.
I reckon I’d swum about 10% further than the ‘official’ distance for the race, and it was time for some payback. Just that short run back to transition, and T1 to do before Christine and I went hunting for some scalps!
- Type: Swim
- Date: 08/26/2007
- Time: 08:00:00
- Total Time: 00:20:00.00
- Distance: 825 m
- Average Pace: 2:25.26/100m