The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

A Legend in my own Mind. Sea Lions Duathlon Race Report.


Too chicken to dive off the platform
Last week I swam as much in 7 days, than I had in the previous three months. A measly 2000 meters. I was signed up for the Cornwall Sea Lions duathlon: 800 meters of swimming plus 8 K of running. Swimming had taken a back-burner to Marathon training. Despite poor performance in practice, I wasn't feeling too bad about the swim; this was supposed to be just a fun event.

We'd been at the swim meet all morning, watching Guylaine take 1st place in age-group for all her events (no one needs to know how many other W40-44 there were). Heats were rolling by fast and furious. Time to swim: Flashbacks to the last time I did this event, losing my goggles on the dive-in. I asked Liz the starter, "can I start in the water". "No Way- you gotta dive in". ~~ crap ~~

So I lined up with all the other swimmers - Whistle ... "Swimmers, take your mark" ... "BOOM"

It was a perfect dive. I didn't lose my goggles this time. BUT: they did fill 92% with water... oh, and I lost my bathing suit. Okay, it didn't actually come off, but somehow, I was able to reach back and hike-it back up my half-exposed butt, and tuck myself in without anyone else noticing.

And now, I'm swimming. And swimming pretty good. The first wall fast approaches, somehow, I've recovered from an almost ward-robe malfunction and made the firm decision, that I'm not going to stop and empty my goggles... *flip*. etc. etc. etc.

My first four laps were top-shelf. In my mind's eye, I was putting on a clinic. I could hear the voice-over track to the swimming 101 video I was making, "...and this folks is exactly how to swim... watch the perfect breathing pattern.... 1-2-3 breath... beautiful... and that folks, is a perfectly executed flip turn... this guy is on fire... "

But then, as it so often does, it fell to crap. After about lap 5, I was dead. "Geepers, why did I sign up for 800. 400 would have been so much better. Oh crap, not enough energy to flip. *weak touch-and-go* ... ok, I'll flip next turn... (next turn) *semi-pathetic flip where I only just manage to touch the wall, but get zero push-off effect* ... oh, god... how many laps have I done?? ...why is everyone staring at me and laughing..?"

And then, finally, I'm put out of my misery. I hear the bell - my last lap. I put on the jets.... 14:44 (whee! I had hoped to be sub-14:59).

Now for the easy part... a measly 8K run. This wasn't a triathlon-type transition race. There was a break between events. Time to catch my breath, dry off, change, and take a 20 minutes to chill. As we gathered outside, I noticed something for the first time this year: Heat and Humidity. This was going to be interesting.

The run was actually quite painful. The heat was not agreeing with me. Somehow, I was running a hair under 5 minute pace, and I was dying. The only thing keeping me alive was Rik. He basically pulled me through the whole course, and he wouldn't let me give up. What a nice guy.

Finally the last 50 meters, and Laura was there to meet me. She started running beside me. What a beautiful picture: father and daughter crossing the line together. Go ahead, I urged Rik, as Laura and I jogged in together...

... but then, with the finish line in sight, a most powerful and evil force over came me... with 10 feet to go, my mind and body were hijacked by the dark side of the force. I dropped the hammer... and I out sprinted the nicest guy in Cornwall... the guy who towed me around the entire run, thereby taking all the glory afforded to the 5th place overall finisher in the run.

I guess I still harbour some bitterness from my duel with Ed Whitlock. Take notice old men... Phil Barnes will hunt you down!

Final Time = 14:44 Swim + 39:41 Run = 54:25. Official results weren't posted, but I'm sure that's a top-10 finish.