City of Perth Olympic Distance Triathlon

Monday, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:59

TriathlonOz - Michelle

This was my first Olympic Distance race so I had been very nervous in the lead up. As most of you are no doubt aware, Perth was bracing for Cyclone Bianca and so the weather was a bit unsettled on Saturday (as were our nerves) in the lead up to the race and the race organisers, TriEventsWA were issuing updates every few hours to keep entrants informed in case there was need to cancel the event. Thankfully, when we awoke at 5am on Sunday morning there was no sign of wind nor rain and so we headed to the Perth foreshore to setup for our race.

This particular race, although being of a different distance to a regular sprint distance triathlon, is part of a series of races held here in Perth. It's the only Olympic Distance race held in Perth over the whole year so its a unique opportunity and is a great training lead-up to the half ironman (oops, have to call it 70.3 now) later in the year. Race distances were:

Swim: 1.5km
Cycle: 40km
Run: 10km

I've never done a race of this distance but David did it last year and really had me worried with his horror stories. Running is my weakest leg of triathlon and the 10km run in the expected humidity was not something I was looking forward to. The swim also unsettles many people with the Swan River not being very clean. Women's faces being particularly remarkable upon exit with oily mustaches. Watching the race last year, I recall many people vomitting upon exiting the swim. Yuck

I found this race difficult to prepare for. Having only just got my calf niggles somewhat under control and my running pace back to normal for 5km distance I had to up the training quite quickly for this longer race however only had 2 weeks to do that from the last sprint distance race at Champion Lakes - which didn't leave much recovery time. In fact I only gave myself 1 rest day and put in a big training week of 3.5km swimming, 123km cycling, and 27km running followed by a terrible bout of tummy cramps and a physical and mental crash this week leading into the race and only managed 1km swimming, 70km cycling, and a woeful 5km running as my race week preparation with 2 days of total rest before the race. David also had a bad pre-race week having experienced the downside of overtraining and overracing - and no time off plus a huge amount of work stress with heavy programming loads = late nights.

The prospect of a cancelled race was almost a welcome thought for us both!

But the race went ahead in clear but extremely hot and humid conditions. The day's max temp was 38 degrees and many people pulled out from heat stroke in the run leg. Although I'm not a runner, I was not going to let the heat stop me. I was having a great race and knew my position was competitive in the swim and ride (placing 3rd or 4th?) and although I knew I would slip positions in the run I felt I had to ensure I finished so I set off with a survival attitude rather than a race attitude and somehow managed to actually enjoy the run. Having suffered overheating previously on a ride this summer I knew the key was to keep my core temperate under control so I made sure that most of the water from the aid stations was poured over my head and I think that helped enormously.

I placed 6th in my age group, however these results show 5th - due to a DNF placing that was later disputed and overturned.

I had a fun race with Jenny who came 5th. We were racked together in transition and met there between the swim to bike, jostled for position the whole way around the cycle course, and then came in together to the bike to run transition. She has it all over me in the run though but we cheered and waved one another along as the course looped back over itself.

David unfortunatley was one of the many that fell apart during the run leg from heat exhaustion. It was simply impossible for the fast runners to keep up their usual pace. However, he has a great mental ability to finish anything under pressure and even though he lay down on the grass for a few mintues and walked for parts of the course, he finished (in less time that I ran/plodded the whole thing!).

So it was a very tough race but its done and dusted and now we have 20th February to look forward to the next sprint distance race in our home suburb!
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