Monday, 1 August 2011

London Triathlon 2011

Hi everyone

Well, for some crazy reason I decided last November it would be a good idea to do the London Triathlon again.  Then having signed up, for some strange reason I didn't get on with my training...  Last year I trained for about 6 months, this time, TWO months!  Aicarumba...  Rach Chia and Alex Evans also did the triathlon, and I blame them for this torture.  2 months ago I sent them an email to see if they had been training and whether they intended to go through with it.  The tone of the email was crystal clear there was only one response: NO!  But what did they say?!?!  "Yeah, have been doing a bit of training, but really need to ramp it up now!"  Yeah, thanks guys...

Anyway, this lack of training (on my part!) was why I didn't do any fundraising this year - I don't think I earned the right to ask folk for their money!  But that means next year you all have to give twice as much!!  :)

Anyway, I'm typing this so it means I survived, but it didn't start out that way.  The swim was the bit I was most confident in, having spent more time in the pool than cycling or running.  The water was really choppy and I took a couple of knocks from guys swimming past and in the first 100m swallowed quite a bit of 'water' (i.e. dock-water, ewwww!).  From there I found it really difficult to breathe and had no rythm, and after about 200m I really thought I was going to have to quit.  I felt completely spent and had nothing in the tank, but decided to push on and do breaststroke instead for a while.  That "while" turned into about 1km, with intermittent 50m bursts of freestyle.  Breaststroke is not an easy stroke when you've not done it for about 20 years, but after about 1km, strangely I started to feel quite good and breathing became easier and so I tried swimming freestyle and the rythm came back and managed to swim the last 500m at quite a good pace.  Managed to catch about a dozen or so guys as well, which was nice!  Let's leave out the bit about the front-swimmers from the next wave over-taking me...  ;)

Anyway, I finished the swim about 15 minutes slower than last year, and felt like hell on earth, but hey, I finished it when I never thought I would!  It was through fuzzy eyes that I saw Mel, Tara and Becca cheering me on out of the water.  Walking was a struggle at that point, so I probably looked a bit worse for wear...

I then got on with the cycle leg - 40km, taking in 12 hills!  Despite last year saying I'd never do this again on a mountain bike, I didn't listen to myself and tried to prove that I didn't need to fork out for a new bike.  However, once again I proved that mountain bikes are SOOOOOO slow!!  Pushing it at times as fast as I possibly could, folks just cruised past on their road bikes!  I reckon there's probably about 15 minutes between a road bike and a mountain bike!  If I'm stupid enough to do this next year, it will DEFINITELY be on a road bike!  Despite this, I still managed to complete the cycle leg about 2.5 minutes quicker than last year.  It was awesome seeing a whole bunch of folk from the Barge along the route - Mel, Chris, Tara, Becca, Rosemary, Amy & Paul all made their way down to cheer Alex & I on.  And boy did I need it...  Ask Rosemary what I said last year when I got out of the water - I thought the same this time too... 

Then for the run!  10km of joy!!  Well, not quite...  It was 25 degrees and sunny, so a beautiful summer day, unless you're doing a triathlon...  The run consists of 4 x 2.5km laps, and the layout this year was really good.  Most of the route has crowds and charities along it, and they are such a boost to make you want to run and not walk.  I felt quite tired starting out, but as soon as I started I saw Tara, Becca and Jim!  I didn't expect them at all, so that was a huge lift!  A little further on I saw the rest of the crew, then pushed myself on.  Half way through lap 1 I saw Pete "Super Coach" Andrews!!  He was on his bike, so he cycled along the side of the track alongside me for about 500m!  It was great having someone to talk to, and this kept me distracted so I kept running, and when he couldn't cycle further, the charities took over, then everyone from the Barge, then it was lap 2, then lap 3, then all of a sudden it was the final lap!  I was knackered, but knew I had another 2.5km in my legs!  When  I got to where Pete was waiting for me, he called out "hurry up, I've got to get home" - I think that was supposed to motivate me - thanks Super Coach!  :)

Interestingly, all of my laps were almost identical in time - only 25 seconds separated my quickest from my slowest.  Nice and consistent...  The run leg was about a minute quicker than last year as well!  It's awesome as you finish as well - it goes from outside, to inside the venue and as you round the last courner they call out your name over the loud-speaker!  "And not we have CLAYTON RYAN crossing the finish line!"  The sweetest words I'd heard all day!!

I didn't break any records, but I finished, and that was all I was aiming for!  Alex did awesome for his first triathlon, so well done big man!!  And RACH, legend extraordinaire, in her 5th (??) triathlon, did her best time of 3:13:27!!  Amazing stuff!!

So, anyone want to do it with me next year...?  No...?  Ok, maybe it's time to retire anyways...  ;)

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