First Sprint Triathlon - Notes to Self

Last weekend I raced my first Sprint Triathlon - The Loch Lomond Beastie.  

750m swim, 15km mountain bike, 5km run all in the grounds of Balloch Country Park and superbly organised by Loch Lomond Swimming & Triathlon Club.

These are the notes I made afterwards, mainly for my own benefit so I won't forget.  I am new to triathlon so please - experienced triathletes - add your contributions in the comments.

Like the half-ironman distance I ran two weeks earlier, I was aiming for a time not a finishing position. That said, with 117 competitors this time, as opposed to 28 at the Highlander, I was comping to place around the middle.  MORE

28th out of 117 put me in the top 20%, and 6th in my age category was very satisfying, but there are some negatives to note.

SWIM - I was 41st out of the water.  Clearly there is huge room for improvement.  I was slightly freaked by all the flailing arms and legs and I confess to a momentary panic "I don't think I can do this".  My open water swims in local Loch Sunart had gone well, and I thought I could start fast on this shorter distance.  But I went too fast, had a few collisions, swallowed some water and got whacked on the head a few times.  By the turn I was feeling much better and I feel my return swim was better form and probably faster.  I must get used to all this.  

BIKE - The course was three laps of tarmac, gravel track, slippery grass and gloopy mud.  I loved it.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy mountain biking.  Walking the course the day before made a huge difference because I knew it was going to be slippery and muddy.  My bike and my head were ready.  As it was I rode the whole course - many pushed on the wet, grassy hill or dabbed in the mud.  I was 23rd on the bike.

My biggest mistake was to misjudge my energy intake.  I used two gels and a sports drink on the bike, where I now realise (and should have realised then!) that in 1hr 30min I don't need any additional sugar.

RUN - As a result, the moment I started to run my gut cramped.  I had what felt a little like a stitch in my left side for 3km of the 5km run.  22'45" is a slow 5km run and I finished 58th.  Thank goodness I had done well on the bike!

So my main lessons are to improve my swim, improve my run and in particular pay attention to refuelling - don't take gels when they can't do any good.

I tried to thank all the marshals as I made my way to the finish.  It was a well run event, organised in conjunction with a shorter novice/super sprint (The Wee Beastie).  Both are deservedly popular.

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