Kingfisher Aquathlon - where’s my bike?!

Sunday saw four of us meeting up in the sunshine, but freezing cold at Morden Park to take part in the Kingfisher Aquathlon.

This was a first for Tessa and me. I’ve only taken part in duathlons and triathlons before, never an aquathlon, so I was looking forward to seeing how it panned out.

As there were a number of heats, with juniors and youths starting before us adults, the start time was a very reasonable 10.15am! So I arrived with my daughter Aimee for support and registered, collected my number and chip and got marked up with plenty of time in hand.

Chris, Rachel, Tessa (Rachel’s sister – this event was a follow-up post-Grim sibling challenge) and I wandered off to transition to put out our towels, running shoes and number belts. It was very odd not to have my bike there and all the associated paraphernalia! No hat, glasses, cycle shoes...

And then we posted for the obligatory team photo:

We went in to the pool and up to the viewing gallery and watched the kids doing their races. By now it was the tail end of the Tri Star 3s – which was interesting to watch - with kids tumble-turning over the top of others and interesting interpretations of lane discipline! The youths then started and they called for the first set of adult swimmers - numbers 319 - 374. Chris and Tessa were first up and they queued for the pool. Poor Rachel, who’s pretty speedy in the pool, was to be the last person of the morning to swim, as they us into a couple of legs – there was a gap scheduled after my slowest swim group to clear the pool.

Then they called the next wave 375 - 400 and as I was 393, so off I went. I'd put my swim time down as 10 minutes but reckoned I'd be a bit slower - swimming is my worst discipline and although I'm speeding up with technique lessons, I'm still not as fast as the average in the competition - around 8 minutes for 400m. We all gradually dropped into the water and were set off at 15 second intervals. We had to swim up and then back down the same lane and then drop under the lane divider and repeat for 12 lengths. At the end of my second length a lady wanted past - I let her through and then carried on only to catch her up at the end of my third length - she was having a major wobble, but I think it may have been because her chip had come off - I'd seen one on the bottom of the pool a third of the way down the length. I carried on and had a decent swim - managed to push off at the change lane ends and swim under the dividers with no issues. Came out of the pool feeling happy with how I'd done (not fast but my quickest swim to date - just over 11 minutes and not the slowest on the day!). I walked quickly out to the transition area taking off my goggles, noseclip and cap and found my towel; dried my feet and staggered around a bit. I felt a bit dizzy but recovered, slipped my socks on, stepped into my race belt and headed off out onto the course. Four laps of undulating parkland on grass, wood chip trails and gravel pathways. It was a very pretty course and I really enjoyed my first lap - pace was good - I was just over 9 minute miling and felt comfortable. Came off a compacted gravel/earth pathway through a wooded grass area and my left foot went sideways down a hole to the left and I turned my ankle. Burning pain, I squawked a bit, limped a bit and thought that was it. The pain over the top of my foot was quite nasty, but after missing out on the first tri of the season because of the hideous weather, I really didn't want to be a DNF for this one. So I jogged along gingerly to see if it improved before I hit the pathway and the next lap. A guy ran past me and asked if I was okay and I said I wasn't sure, was testing the waters but hoped so. By the time I got to the path my foot felt quite numb along the left side, so as I wasn't in any pain I carried on and tried to pick up the pace a little - not back up to where I was, but enough to feel I could keep running for another three or so miles. Long story short - further three laps were a good 40 seconds a mile slower than I'd started and the foot was "there" but it didn't get any worse. I carried on, enjoying the scenery. The last lap was good, I felt tired but not knackered and was pleased to finish my first aquathlon. Total time taken was 1:07:31 – not bad for F50 and room for improvement for next year!

Rachel finished first for us in 56:47, followed by Chris in 58:03 and Tessa enjoyed her first aquathlon too – with a great time of 58:27. So although I was slowest for our club, we had a team out of three ladies and this was a London League race! Where were our men, eh?! ;-) I must say that I prefer a sprint triathlon - I enjoy the bike leg most (and I’m certainly better at cycling than swimming and running!) and it felt a bit odd coming out of the pool to transition and not following my usual transition routine! Not to mention the run being 5 and a half miles rather than 5k! But I’ll be back – I have a time to beat! So a good morning out was had by all, with some rather nice cake at the end and it was free for us athletes, too!

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