Today is the last Belgian triathlon of the season and the last chance for me to complete the swim leg. The race is in the middle of a forest, in the Lille recreation park near Antwerp.
Following the advice of my coach, I arrive early so I can check the water before the competition. I put my face in to practice breathing. The cold is paralyzing. Then I try out my crawl and that’s when I realize that this time completing the swim is within my reach.
We stand ankle deep in the water when the signal goes off. It is pretty crowded. People are bumping into me and hitting me with their arms, but I am swimming, and I am even overtaking some of them. The first lap is over soon and I plunge into the lake for the second lap. I swim steadily and reach my personal record of 1:58min/100m. I get off course and swim almost 0,25km too much, but still finish with a good time of 24:32 and the feeling that the hardest part is over.
After a transition of 5:18, I step on the bike and see one of my glucose gels slip out and fall. I have one more so I don’t bother turning back to fetch it. When I realize I had also lost the other gel, it is too late and I am left with no food for the rest of the race. I have cramps from the swim, but I quickly reach a good pace of 37km/h on the long roads of the track. On turns and in the city it goes slower. At 7,4km I hear a noise behind me and see that my tire repair kit has landed on the ground with the lid broke open and the contents spilled all over. It sucks but I cannot risk leaving it behind, so I search the grass and pick up most pieces. People I passed are now passing me and I know I’ll have to work hard to make up for it. That incident drags my overall average down to 32,7km/h, which some might be happy to see, but I expected better of myself.
Bike to run transition takes only 2:50. Running with the pace of 5min/h feels good. I get a cramp while jumping over speed bumps and have to stop by a tree to stretch my foot against it. I lose maybe a minute on that. The cramp comes back when I am running uphill and I have to slow down to 6min/h. I check the distance and something’s not right. The marshal tells me the lap is 2,5km which adds up to more than the 10km. It turns out I ran one lap too many. I guess I enjoyed myself so much that I didn’t want to stop 🙂
I am very happy with the competition. Even with the extra swimming and running I completed the race with an overal time of 2:53:45. It is a great ending of the season and I am looking forward to the first triathlon of 2017.
Garmin details: Here