Kim's second place at the Pulse Aquathon

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Not quite a sailfish but not so much a seahorse anymore?

Over 150 wetsuit clad bodies took to the choppy sea waters at Bull Wall in Clontarf for the Pulse Aquathon on the evening of Wednesday 19 June (750 metre sea swim followed by a 5k beach run).  This was the first of a three series aquathon event hosted by Pulse Triathlon club over the summer months. Well done to Pulse Triathlon club for another well organised event. 

I signed up for all three aquathons at the time of registering for the Pulse Triathlon thinking it would be good swim training sessions and a measurement tool for how much, if at all, my swimming had improved.

I have always been aware that my swimming was inferior to other females and needed a lot more effort. A half hour lunchtime dip two or three times a week and the odd sea swim was not sufficient if I wanted to contend with the top girls. So I decided in February, after returning to what I consider proper training, to join swim sessions with PB3 coaching one morning a week in Westwood, Clontarf. The 5.30am starts followed by 1.5 hours swim training and then on to a full day work was gruelling to begin but I slowly became accustomed to it and the sessions have really helped. 

However, because of this extra swimming I developed biceptal tendonitis in April. Karen at the Maple Clinic in Booterstown, Dublin explained that recovery would be 6-8 weeks but along with tailored exercise and regular treatments my arm should fully recover.  Swimming wasn’t a no no, I could still manage about 1,000 meters before the pain set it, but the Speedo paddles that I had been using at every swim session were assigned to the bottom drawer for the rest of the season.  Following Karen’s recommended exercises and treatments my arm has improved and at the moment all I have is the odd niggle. I viewed the Pulse Aquathon as a good training session and the chance to see if my effort over the past few weeks was paying dividend.

At the Aquathon the sea conditions were quiet choppy but thankfully the water temperature was ok.  There was one mass wave start, which as I expected, was a battle won by the biggest and strongest and those who could swim over people. Coupling this with the choppy conditions, survival mode was what was required pretty much for the entire swim.  I was happy to see the exit for transition sooner than I had thought, the swim hadn’t felt that long, and as I climbed up the steps to transition I thought maybe I had done ok?

Transition was nice and small given there are no bikes to accommodate, however, I still managed to run past my spot and then spend a few seconds searching for my runners. Finally spotted them and I was off on the run.  Straight into fast running with a mouth and stomach full of salty sea water is tough for me, I miss the bike as it allows me to recover and take on some fluids. I felt ok though and took off like a bullet passing a few males and two females early on. Big mistake, after about 2k I started to feel the onset of stomach cramps, punishment for tearing off at the start of the run. I slowed my pace a little to hold off the cramps and tried to keep good form for the rest of the 5k run (which turned out to be closer to 5.5k and longer than last year). The sand based run course is tougher than an asphalt surface and I focused on my foot placement rather than my stomach which got me through the last 3k. Crossing the finish line I had no idea what position I was in and was surprised to hear that I was second female over the line, 20 seconds behind first place.  A training session coupled with a podium spot :)

Results published later that night showed I swam in 12 mins 16 seconds and ran in 21 mins 12 seconds.  The run time aside (I was 1 minutes slower than last year but the course was longer), although 3 minutes behind the female winner, I was happy as it is a good improvement on where I was at the previous year (13 mins 13 seconds at July 2012 Pulse Aquathon)

Perhaps now I am no longer the slowest creature in the sea and I am slowly moving to join the sailfish group??


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