The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Race Report: Cornwall Sea Lions Duathlon

Technically, I think it's called an Aquathlon. This would be a 1,000 meter pool swim plus a 5K run. No transition - meaning there was a break between events. In this case, I think there was close to a 40 minute break - lots of time to get prepared for the run. Final time = Swim Time + Run Time.

Most race reports start like this: Woke up, got to the race area... but in this case, the event started at 2pm. This event was an unsanctioned add-on to an organized Masters swim meet. My swim was roughly scheduled for 3pm. In this case, I arrived at the pool about 20 to 3. Got ready, hit the deck...

*** Instant Flashback to UCSC Swim Meets when I was 12/13 (my "competitive" swimming days: 22 years ago) *** Freaky ***

I sat and watched the masters’ events – a real mish-mash of ages and abilities. All good swimmers – but in some events you would have a 30 year old and a 70 year old swimming together; although technically, I think everyone is swimming in their own age-category.

My race came. We were swimming 2 per lane (lane splitting, :-o). I had lane 2, on the left hand side – sharing with someone who looked like a real swimmer – and as it would turn out is an excellent swimmer. Ready for the start…

OH CRAP! WE ARE GOING TO DIVE IN. (to self: don’t sweat it, you can do this – you did it all the time 22 years ago).

1. Whistle (prepare to start), 2. Inaudible chatter on megaphone, 3. Beep + Flash, 4. All other swimmers hit the water. I was so nervous that I would “jump the gun”, that I forced myself to wait until everyone else dove in, to start.

I took a deep breath, and dove. Sure enough, I botched it. Goggles went straight down around my chin. I surfaced, treaded water, fixed them, and off I went.

For some reason, perhaps because it was a race, I felt obligated to hammer it, and I kind of did for the first 100m, before settling in to a rhythm. I never really did get my goggles back on comfortably, and stopped at the ends a couple of times to empty them, and attempt to readjust them.

The nice part about this race was that I didn’t need to count my laps. Because it was a master’s event, there were designated lap counters for each swimmer. The lap counters, would dip a flutter board into the water (for you to see), every 200m. They would ring a bell for you on your last 50.

I never saw the flutter boards, or heard the bell. I was counting anyways...

…38… flip … 39… flip (last length)… HAMMER it. My fastest 25, good and strong. I got the wall. I wasn’t the last one (phew). I looked up, and the official was kind of laughing. I got out. “You wanted to get your money’s worth ‘eh?... you did 2 extra laps!” Oh well.

* INTERMISSION *

Got lined up for the run. There was about 14 of us. They told us the route. “Down to the end of the road, onto the bike path, behind the band shell…. Around the clock tower… someone will direct you…” I didn’t pay that much attention. I’ll just follow the pack. GO!

For some unknown reason, I was in the lead…

Ok, behind the band shell: Check... The clock tower – oh, there it is, I turn.

“YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY”

Oops, wrong way, double back- pick up the rest of the pack, try to keep the pace.

5K races hurt. In fact, I haven’t really run 5K hard in a year and a half (since setting my PB). I had psyched myself up all week, in anticipation of the pain. My plan was to (try) and come in under 22 minutes. 4:20 pace. I hit the first K at 4:04 (including the little 50m detour). That’s good I thought – 20 seconds in the bank. But then, it quickly fell apart. 4:19… 4:32… sucking wind big time… 4:38… call the ambulance, by this time, I’d been passed by all the fast guys. I looked behind me at 4K, and saw no-one, big mistake, the flaps went up, and I only just managed a 5:00 split; crossing the line at 22:35, in 6th place.

A couple of weeks ago, I predicted 40:00 final time, based on an 18:00 swim and a 22:00 run. As it would turn out, I finished with a 40:00 final time. My swim was faster than I thought – 17:25, but my run was slower – 22:35. All in all, a fun event. Pretty happy with my swim, especially since it was an 8-second PB.