Liverpool Triathlon - results
Well, Sunday June 21st was the BIG day: my first triathlon. I was at an advantage over some of the competitors in that my years of club cycling have given me good cycling fitness and so I didn't have to do too much extra cycling training. I put most of my time and effort into getting my swimming back up to scratch, joining the Liverpool Masters training group at the Wavertree Aquatic Centre. This is made up mainly of people between 25 and 70 who used to do some competition in their younger years and would now maybe like to do some Masters (Veterans) swimming galas or the triathlon. I myself experienced a taste of competition (+ the intensive training that goes with it) as a young boy, competing at breaststroke in a few galas for the City of Southampton club.
I began my swimming training in early March, comprising of three 90 mins. sessions with a coach per week, although often I could generally only attend 2 of the 3. I thoroughly enjoyed this training and am going to continue with it post-triathlon... I may even enter the odd tri event down in Southampton after I move communities next month.
Anyway, back to the event itself...
Registration took place in the Liverpool Echo Arena
While walking to the start area after having got registered I bumped into 2 parents of a former pupil (the Mullets), one whom I'd conducted in our school orchestra for many years. Very happy to see friendly faces. We ended up racking our bikes and gear side by side in the transition area. They were doing the same distance as me and the husband (in his early 50s) was in my group. Being veterans of numerous other triathlons, they were able to give me invaluable advice and help me lay my gear out, pin my start number on, take my photo (see below), etc...
There were nearly 1,000 participants entered across 3 different distances: Olympic, Sprint and Super-Sprint, all of which took place in and around the Albert Dock/Queen's Dock area, using the main road up and down the famous Liverpool waterfront for the cycle. Mine was the Sprint (750m open water swim, 20km cycle, 5 km run). We went off in groups of about 100 at a time.
I was warned that the start of the open water swim in the Queen's Dock would be a bit of a scrum and that was indeed the case. Took me about a 3rd of the distance to start feeling happy with my breaststroke rhythm. Once I did, I found some of the front crawlers in front of me slowing enough for me to pass them. Finished strongly, not having taken too much out of me.
Swim placing: 113th out of 316 overall on the Sprint distance, 17th/39 for my age group (male 40-44 years).
Onto the bike... via transition. Took a bit too long getting my wetsuit off, cycle top on, etc... Will learn from that for next time. But soon I was on the bike and picking people off very rapidly. What a feeling!! My 18 years of club cycling paying off there and then.
Cycle placing: 16th/316. Age group: 6th/39.
And so, the run... the thing that scared me the most because of not being able to train too much due to having to look after my knees. Started steadily, but noticed that the expected flood of runners coming past me never materialised. This gave me confidence and encouraged me to trust my steady starting pace, hoping to be able to slowly accelerate as I went round. By the end it was eyeballs out, but I think I paced it just right... and no cramps!!! Unlike some of those around me during the final kms.
Run placing: 147th/316. Age group = 24th/39. Better than I'd feared.
Overall: 87th/316. Age group: 14th/39. I was ECSTATIC with this placing. Much better than I could have hoped for. But I also felt there was more to come from me. Very encouraging all round
. I have a feeling it won't be my last triathlon.
Coming in to the finish where I was met by Bro. Peter, a friend and fellow Birkenhead North End cyclist and another sporting friend. Was great to have such support. They were also present around the course to cheer me on.