After unfortunately having to skip the marathon of Rotterdam (due to a throat infection), I had a recovery and build up period more aimed at doing a few triathlon races in Israel. The first challenge was a ‘sprint’ triathlon , comprising half the Olympic Triathlon distance (750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run).
Some elements were new in this race for me: it was my first triathlon in Israel and it started with a sea swim, being quite different from the canal / lake swims I did so far. It also was nearly 2 years since I did my last triathlon. So time to get my act together and focus on some other disciplines than just running! ‘Luckily’ the weather is getting less suitable for running (with temps well over 25 degrees), so switching to biking and swimming is pretty well timed 🙂
Having bought a bike in Israel two months before, it got a nice breaking in period to get my biking rythm back. Unfortunately biking is not very popular in Israel and mostly the infrastructure is not made for it, so searching for good biking routes has the priority. Also the sprint was a new distance for me, any finish time would yield me a Personal Best, but 1:30 ought to be feasible, I hoped.
The race itself proved to be on a warm, maybe hot day. Sleeping in until 5:30 AM to have breakfast and go the race area to get my starting number and set up my bike and other stuff in the transition area. My favourite supporter (Iris) went with me early and plenty of family was present later during the race to sniff some atmosphere (as the race was in Rishon Lezion). The water temperature was rather high with 23 degrees, resulting in no wet suit being allowed during the swim (which was just as well, I left mine in Holland ;-)). The swim start in sea was kind of busy as you can see below (the orange cap is me, obviously :-)).
My swimming was not strong as usual, the waves not helping in this respect. Especially navigating back to the beach was not quite the desired straight line I had in mind, but I got there finally (third last out of the water, which is two better than usual :-)). Fortunately the bike part went pretty smooth on a course I was familiar with, taking me past 30 other competitors at an average pace of over 30kph.
Transition to the run part was uneasy; having to run on jelly bike legs takes getting used to again. Also the temperature had risen over 25 degrees, making the run not very easy. Starting out at a 5:30 pace over the first kilometres, I managed to finish with a fast 4:55 kilometer to end up just seconds below 1:30, as shown in the picture below 😉 This ranked me 42nd in my age group out of 50, 114th overall over 150+ contestants.
Having survived this (with thanks to all the supporters), next on the list is the Olympic Distance (OD) Triathlon in Netanya, which comprises twice the distance from this race, hopefully followed by another OD triathlon in Holland in July, hopefully with less hot circumstances than in Israel. But next:
Olympic Distance Triathlon Netanya, 17th June 2011