Race report: Vanajanlinna 2017

Time flies, and before I knew it, it was race day. My very first triathlon; I was a nervous wreck 😀 It’s always so much easier if you’re doing something for the first time with a friend, but there I was. About to do something nobody in the family has done before, and that apparently also includes the extended family.

750 meters never looked so long. Can you spot all 3 buoys?

We got to the venue in plenty of time, as I wanted to see the men’s first start (the start before all women) after checking in and collecting my race pack. I thought it would ease my nerves as I’d see how it all begins. I was right, but also so wrong. The music, people clapping and then the ticking sound just before the horn? Yeah, not making anything good for my nerves, haha. The race briefing did that better, though, and I was starting to feel ready once I had changed into my race suit and everything was ready in transition.

Swim

I quite like this race cap. It’s so bright!

I was a bit more nervous about the swim than I expected. Going into the race, I was sure the most challenging part would be the running, as I didn’t start training for that soon enough. The swim and the bike? No problem. In the end, the hardest part was actually the swimming, I have to say. It was a lot harden than I thought it would be. I’m very glad I had time to do a little warm up swim to test what the water felt like, because it was pretty cold in my opinion (14,8 Celsius)! Definitely started to like my wetsuit at that point, haha. The first time I put my face in the water I almost inhaled the lake in. I also kept getting water in my nose, but after a moment I calmed down and it started to be a little easier. Still a little eerie not being able to see all that much, but yeah. That’s the lake view for you 😀

Alright, so the water is a bit chilly, haha.

Well, then. The swim itself? My sighting was all over the place, and I think I used every swim style possible except for the butterfly because I don’t know how to swim that at all, haha! I was a little scared to stare into the bottom of the dark lake, and kept looking so much up that my neck was getting a little stiff when heading for the second buoy, and once the volunteers had to show me where to go because I was swimming off course a little too much, haha (750 meters turned into 787 meters for me 😀 ). But at least I kept moving and there was still water in the lake after I was done, so there’s that!

And off we go!

But yes, open water swimming is definitely something I need to practice a lot more if I ever want to do a longer distance than the sprint. Still, I did a lot better time-wise than I expected, so at least that’s something positive, haha. And that I didn’t quit after the first 100 meters!

“Well that’s done, at least.”

Bike

After struggling with the zipper on my wetsuit and making my way up to the transition area 250 meters away from the shore, I was ready to jump on the bike after a 6 (and a half) minute transition. My heart beat was still rocketing, or so it felt like at least, haha. It took me a moment to calm down a little, and to remember that this is the part that I actually like! 😀

I think it was  mostly uphill all the way to the turning point, and then, of course, downhill back. Still, being told that my bike time was only 00:48:52, after I was really hoping to be done in less than an hour, if at all possible, was a big surprise. My average speed for the 20 km was 24,6 kph. Seems like the downhill helped, because I remember glancing at my Forerunner during a hill and going barely over 10 kph for a while, haha!

Run

My transition into the run was surprisingly fast, but then again, I only needed to put away my helmet and change my shoes. I already had put socks on after the swim, and now I didn’t need to struggle out of anything, haha. A quick pondering on the visor (no, because there were quite a lot of trees for shade on the course), and I was off to the support station to get some water, and then to the run course. So little to go!

Nice and shady under the tree. The water was also looking very tempting!

I’m not really a runner yet, it seems. The first lap was mostly walking and trying to run. I started it by running, but then it pretty quickly turned into speed walking, haha. I was determined to get the run done within an hour, though, and I made sure to at least run all the downhills! But then something happened during the second and last lap, and suddenly running wasn’t so hard anymore (maybe because it would soon be over, haha??).

I was able to (slowly) run almost the whole second lap. I had my eyes on a lady running in front of me almost the whole run. She was going just the right speed for me to keep her in my sights even with me walking the first lap. I always almost caught up with her after a moment of jogging. I was able to get ahead of her towards the end of the second lap because of the surprise strength I was able to find from who knows where 😀

I have to say I’m very happy with myself! I reached my goal which was to finish! I also reached my secret-but-not-so-secret-goal of not being last in anything. Also, my swim time was under 30 minutes, cycling time was under an hour, and I did the run in under an hour (but hoped to do it in under 40 minutes) 😀

I still have lots and lots to improve on, but this was a nice start to everything. This is a good place to go forward 🙂

Swim 750 m: 00:24:28
T1: 00:06:24
Bike 20 km: 00:48:52
T2: 00:02:14
Run 5 km: 00:46:15

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