On Tuesday evening, I took part in the Tralee Triathlon Club Sprint Triathlon, which was part of the clubs mini-tri training series.
I took delivery of a brand new Zone3 Aspire wetsuit (thanks Zone3!) just a couple of hours before the triathlon started, and I was keen to try it out.
Once we got set up in Fenit, and received instructions from race director Niall, we set off for the walk to the slip, from where we would swim back via the buoys, to the beach.
Once in the water, we got the start signal from John, and off we went. The conditions were good, with a slight swell in places, but fairly calm overall. I loved the new wetsuit, which has excellent buoyancy, and I was surprised at how free my arms and shoulders felt. I had paired it with a new pair of Zone3 goggles, and, having had bad experiences in the past with trying out new goggles for race day, I was a bit wary. However, the goggles performed faultlessly, and, for the first time ever in a sprint swim, I didn’t have to stop once to adjust them, or leave water out!
I slogged away on the swim, but my lack of speed training soon showed, as I saw most of the pack pull well ahead of me. I eventually got to the beach, and headed straight up the ramp to transition.
I had a look down at the water from transition, and was pleasantly surprised to see a few swimmers still in the water – unusual for me! The new wetsuit was surprisingly easy to get off, despite this being my first time removing it – in fact, it was easier to get off than my old suit, which I’ve worn for several seasons. I grabbed my bike, and headed out on the cycle.
The cycle route was from Fenit to the roundabout in Tralee, and back again, a distance of 21 kilometres, with a few minor enough hills. I got stuck in, and I was surprised that fatigue didn’t seem to be too much of a problem. I had overtaken a couple of people in transition, and now I could see a few slower cyclists ahead, so I got stuck in to trying to pass them – I overtook one cyclist near the halfway point, and only realised afterwards that it was my sister Hazel. I caught a couple of more on the return leg, so I was very happy with my cycle – the Ribble Aero 883 possiblely has something to do with that!
I got back into transition feeling surprisingly fresh, and, a quick change of shoes (and only remembering to remove my helmet because my son shouted it to me) I headed off on the run. I had arrived into transition just when a few of my Born To Run club mates were leaving, and I was determined to catch them – I gave Fiona O’Connor a shout as she passed that I’d pass her before the end!
The run route was just over 5k, with, again, a couple of small hills included. I know this route extremely well, as, not only have I run it in training many times, but I have also run it as part of the route on 2 ultras, 4 marathons, and 2 triathlons!
Again I was pleasantly surprised by how little fatigue I felt as I set off on the run – I had expected my legs to be tired, but this was one of my freshest ever runs off the bike. Perhaps I should do a marathon as prep for a triathlon more often.
I could see a good few runners ahead of me, as pushed myself as much as I dared to try to catch up. Just before I reached the halfway point, I met Catherine, and soon after the bunch I wanted to catch.
I pushed myself hard on the return leg, and I slowly began to reel in those ahead of me. I passed a couple of runners before Fenit, and I could see Fiona grab a bottle of water from another runner. I began to sprint on the downhill into Fenit, but as soon as Fiona heard me coming, she began to push on too, and, despite getting within 10 meters of her, I couldn’t catch her before the line!
This was my best ever sprint tri (though to be fair, I don’t have a great record with them!), and as far as I can make out, not only did I do an overall PB, but I’m pretty sure I got PB’s in every individual leg as well.
Thanks to Sinead, Niall, and all the Tralee Triathlon Club volunteers for another fantastic event. I’m a bit more confident that I’m heading in the right direction for the Landers Tri Kingdom Come now!