12 11 2011

  The local Apex group has been running a Biathlon series for the last few weeks now. I missed the first couple of weeks due to week commitments but I’ve made it out to the last two. I’ve never combined a swim with any other exercise before so I was keen to give it a go.

The first was a two weeks ago. As usual, I was running late and made it to the start line with about 30seconds to spare, having registered only a few minutes earlier. The last to sign-up, I was No. 49 and was strangely excited about having a stranger write a number on my arm.

At the start line, I was amazed to see a good cross section of people, male and female, young and old(er). I recognised a couple of local runners who I knew would be at the front of the pack.

After a quick description of the course, we set off, and I started in the middle of the pack. As I settled into a comfortable rhythm, I started to pass a few runners and by the end of the first lap, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in the first dozen or so runners. Since it was a shorter run, I worked hard to maintain a sub 5min/km pace, as per my new self-imposed running rules. Not having had a lot of runs lately, I lagged a little towards the end but came home in 4:48min/km. The advertised 4km course came up a bit short, measuring only 3.5km. Still as I rounded the corner to the transition area, I was feeling the afternoon heat and looking forward to the swim.

Not the quickest transition in the world, but not shabby I hit the water soon. The swim was a suprise. It was a lot hard than I expected. After the run, it was my arms that ached in the water, and as I’d pushed myself a little on the run, I started off a little short of breath. Added to that, the six lap swim was restricted to only three lanes, so it was out and back in the same lane before moving to the next.

In short, the swim hurt. My arms were aching as I started and I with all the stopping and starting as I got caught behind people, I never really fell into a good rhythm with my stroke or my breathing. I over took a few people and got passed by only one. I took a couple of hits. As I came up behind one guy, the bubbles generated his kick went up my nose as I was breathing out and that threw me for a moment.

In the end, the swim was a lot slower than I’d hoped for but I came home in a little under 8 minutes for the 300m. Total time for my first ever biathlon was 25mins flat. I’m fairly certain I was in (or very close to) the top 12 (out of 49).

This week, I fronted up again. Registering just after 6 (for a 6.15pm start), I was number 52, and I think we ended up with about 60. I set out with a single goal –  to improve on my previous time. I’d decided that the key to this was the swim and so in order to do better, I tried to keep my arms more relaxed during the run (especially the latter half) and to be slightly more organised at the transition.

My run time was very similar, 15seconds better than last week. The transition was faster. Relaxing the arms during the run had helped and the swim felt easier. Despite the congestion in the pool again, I swam better and came home in 23m22.

A whole 1m38s better, which may not be a lot, but to me it is. I’m looking forward to next week and am hoping for a sub 22m30 time.




One response

13 11 2011

Well done. I think I’d prefer a bike / run biathlon 🙂

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