Yes my friends! This is the weekend of the SimplyStu triathlon and although I entered it through the endlessly encouraging and supportive ShirleyPerly I was beginning to panic. Unlike JadeLady I couldn't even see myself turning this into a duathlon. My knees are still not pain-free and so I'm not confident about going out running (certainly not without some input from my phsysio) and my orthotics have not yet arrived (hurry! hurry! hurry! can't the man smell my desperation?) so I was worrying that maybe I should just try to run something like 3 miles before heading to the pool. And then yesterday afternoon the constantly amazing Maddy had a brainstorm while commenting on Susan's blog (is that how it started girlfriends? I thought so but may well be wrong) that we could do it as a relay team - she was running a 10K, Susan was planning a bike ride and I was going to swim. So that's what we decided to do. We even picked our own race number - 330 - as we are three chicks in our thirties..
So this morning as soon as I had the show on the road at home I headed off to the pool. It was packed! There were lots of kids swimming lessons going on and families enjoying the pool and there were only 2 lanes free for "proper swimming", a fast one and a slow one. As I was being serious about this I decided to go into the fast lane, not before asking a young father waiting by the side of the pool to take my picture before the race. As you can see, the air was warm! But the fog is quite flattering. Update my father is a photoshop superguru and has somehow removed most of the fog.. I don't know how he did it but wow! I compromised on the vanity issue - you do get to see me with my bathing cap on - not generally a good look - but you don't get to see anything below the shoulder. I'm saving you - believe me. Nor do you get to see the after picture - my goggles have such strong suction that I have enormous marks on my face after I finish and look generally old and tired after a good swimming session. Oh well. And you can see my upper arms don't quite have her Madgesty's definition either. There are always things to strive for.. Oh and do note that I magic markered the 330 on my arms in true triathlete style - I felt like a bit of an idiot but I couldn't let my wonderful team mates down!
So the swim! Well I think it went quite well. I did 1500m in 40 minutes - my watch battery died so I went by the clock on the wall. That was 750m front crawl and 750m breast stroke. I am very pleased with it - after only a few swimming lessons I am able to do that much front crawl which is a real improvement. I didn't kill myself - I took it steady as I had no idea what kind of endurance I'd have for it - but I was definitely hot and flushed at times. The lane was very very busy - there were 5 of us ploughing up and down it at one point - so it was quite a genuine experience, the water was quite choppy, I got pushed and kicked in the face, and I generally had to become more aggressive in the course of my swim. The other swimmers were clearly good and confident and not very friendly - they just pushed past me. Initially I kept letting them go ahead of me but eventually I decided I was keeping up quite well with most of them so I refused to let them go ahead and stuck to my game. Ha! I have to say so far I haven't found swimmers remotely as friendly as runners to beginners..
Anyway - I made it through and then ran into a friend in the coffee lounge afterwards so had a nice latte and a chat to her and her super marathoner husband (he just ran a 3:30 last weekend in Dumfries) and then headed home. Cinema and supper out beckoned with the kids and now the clocks go forward so it was a rush getting this race report out today.
Overall it was a good day and a confidence building experience - I have no idea how bad 1500m in 40 minutes is - it's a PB simply by virtue of it being my first race! And as for triathlons - I can begin to see the attraction. Overall I imagine the cross training is good for you and strengthens different parts, and the wear and tear on one particular part of your body is less. I can't contemplate a bike yet, not until my knees have healed fully, but when they have I may well do it. Right now the focus remains to be well enough to run Chicago in October and to actually meet my wonderful team mates and blogging buddies. After that - who knows?