My first race was at Arundel In May 2010, a 800 metre swim In a pool (I didn’t know there was an outdoor lido In Arundel until then), 23 miles on the bike and then a 6 mile run which included a trip to a trig point (that’s basically having to run up to the top of the downs). I was really pleased with my time of 2 hours 28 minutes, beating my target time and I was hooked!
On to the Worthing Triathlon in July 2010 and my first open water swim (1500 metres) and having to cope with the mass start, waves and tides. Even though I had done a fair bit of training In the sea nothing can prepare for the mass start experience with arms and legs everywhere. you go for a space and someone else gets there first and it doesn’t settle down until you set round the first buoy. This time it was 25 mile on the bike up the Long Furlong and A24 to Ashington and then coming back the same way. A nice flat 6 mile run along tile prom and again really pleased with my time of 2 hours 42 minutes.
But It was time to so for a bigger challenge and I booked a middle distance (roughly half lronman) race In the New Forest for May 2011. But then a bit of a hiccup, I overdid everything. l upped the triathlon training at the same time as starting to play ‘proper’ adult football again for Worthing Town In the Worthing League (they were short of players) against many players who were 30 years my junior. The upshot was that the body had had enough and I suffered a serious stomach Injury that put me out of action and ruined my plans for the start of 2011.
Physiotherapy helped with cycling returning first, then swimming and finally the running, although only 6 weeks before tile New Forest race. I agreed with my physio that I could give it a go so long as I could run 10 miles and managed that 2 weeks before the race.
The Swashbuckler Triathlon starts at Bucklers Hard, near Beaulieu and Involved a 1900 metre swim In a tidal river, 50 mile bike ride and 14 mile run. Fully fit I had earmarked a time of under 5 ½ hours, but with the limited training and unknown effect of the longer distance (particularly on the run) I was aiming at under 6 hours.
I had a reasonable swim and bike ride, although the last 5 miles was tough as It was directly Into a south westerly that had been building up during the course of tile morning. Off on the run, felt ok and settled into a fairly pedestrian pace that would get me home well inside the 6 hour target. It was twice round a 7 mile circuit and at the halfway mark all was going well, until about 9 miles in when the course went straight into the wind which by that time was up to 25 mph and It knocked me for 6. The stomach Injury started to twinge and I dropped the pace, at times almost to a walk. I eventually finished in 6 hours 10 minutes with the second 7 miles having taken 23 minutes longer than the first.
Initial disappointment eventually gave way to pleasure that under the circumstances I had managed to finish. A few frustrating months followed with niggling Injuries preventing full training and not one of my greatest decisions was to return to football 3 weeks before the Worthing Triathlon only to be kneed in the back by 1 of my ‘mates’ effectively curtailing further training. l did the race, but in a much slower time than In 2010.
But despite these frustrations, my 2011 triathlon season finished reasonably well with a good race at the Brighton Triathlon in September with a 1000m swim in the Marina, 20 mile bike and 5 mile run alone the under cliff path. A reasonable time of 2 hours 7 minutes and I decided I was well on the mend, so could continue with my plans for the Ironman in 2012.