August 9th saw the running of the annual Tralee Triathlon, by my home club, Tralee Triathlon Club. This event, which takes place in Fenit, a few miles outside Tralee, was my first ever Tri, and I would normally have jumped at the chance to do it again this year. However, I had decided a few weeks ago that, due to the Tralee 100k Ultra being just a week before, I wouldn’t do the tri this year, and give the body some rest. A friend of mine, Lorraine, decided not to do the full tri this year also, and asked if I would join her and her sister Kathryn in a relay team. I felt I could manage the 5k run, so I signed up. The girls decided on the rather unfortunate team name of “Two Boobs and A Bra”, presumably insinuating that I’d be holding them up……
We got to Fenit bright and early to collect our numbers and the all-important goody bags, and the little seaside village was already full of competitors and spectators. The organisers, Catriona, Annie, all the rest of the Tralee Tri Club had done a great job of promoting the event, and numbers looked to be at an all time high. I met with Catherine and Hazel who were both doing the Tri-A-Tri as their first ever triathlon, and, while both a bit nervous, were keen to get going. Unlike last year, when a very high swell caused by Atlantic sea storms meant the swim course had to be changed at the last minute, this year the sea was nice and calm, and just a little bit choppy. The Tri-ATriers set off first, swimming out to the first buoy, and all did well, especially considering so many were doing their first event. As they were coming back for their first transition, the Sprint swimmers set off, with Lorraine having a good swim for us of 17:05.
The transition went well, and Kathryn set off for the 20km cycle, out the Tralee road where I had ran the 100k the previous week. Kathryn returned for a cycle time of 45:44, and I set off on the run, wondering how the legs would take to sprinting after many months of ultra-pace training. I had tried one 5k run during the week to test myself, and had found I was badly lacking in energy reserves, and still had some residual stiffness. I had managed that midweek run in about 27 minutes, and hoped I could do the same today, though this course is quite hilly.
I set off at a flat-out sprint, but soon had the sense to ease back, as I knew my legs wouldn’t take that for long. I had a few flashbacks climbing the slope out of Fenit, where I had suffered a bit the previous week, having about 80k of the ultra done at that stage! The 5k run took us out of Fenit to the north, towards Barrow, over a steep railway bridge, and then up a long slow hill, before descending quickly to the turnaround right at the edge of the sea. I would have expected to set a good pace for this, but I started to feel the effects of all the mileage (two ultramarathons in the previous 3 weeks!) shortly before the turnaround, and I knew I wasn’t going to get any PB’s today! The hill after the turnaround slowed me way down, and I envied those who decided to walk it! I continued to push, but my pace was very slow, and I concentrated on trying to keep it steady as opposed to trying for speed that wasn’t there.
I passed some of my Born To Run buddies on the way back into Fenit, and the cheers (and no small amount of slagging) they gave me spurred me on to one of my usual flat-out sprint finishes.
I managed an unimpressive 31:03 run, which gave us an overall time (including transitions) of 1:36:03, good enough for 16th place out of 18 teams! Not anything any of us will be boasting about, but we had a good day all the same! Catherine and Hazel both did very well in the Tri-A-Tri, as did many of my other friends and clubmates. The Tralee Triathlon was a great day as usual, and praise is due to Tralee Triathlon Club and the people of Fenit for making this the fun event it is – already looking forward to next year.
Next week I will be doing the Rose of Tralee 10K, and will hopefully write about how amazing it was afterwards!