The long weekend around the August Bank Holiday was all about triathlon and enjoying the west of Ireland. I had not been there before so going over for the race on Sunday and then staying for two more days to see a little of of that part of the Emerald Island.
I rented a car and went over to Kinvarra, Co. Galway on Saturday evening. The Sunday after a good night’s sleep was all about the race. I drove to Loughrea via some narrow country roads and was very proud of myself that I did not get lost on them, neither pro nor post race.
I had picked the sprint triathlon in Loughrea as my last pre-olympic distance test event but it also would bring me up to the four national series events (1 sprint, 1 olympic, 2 what ever you want), if you already include DCT. I also liked the fact that the swim was in a lake so that I have started my first three triathlons in a river, in the sea and now a lake.
The triathlon also had some waves of paratriathletes competing in their national championship. I had hoped to see a little bit more of them because I am absolutely amazed how they race in a triathlon. Watching running, swimming or cycling events at the Paralympics is one thing, but changing from one discipline to another? Wow… Well done to everyone!
The swim was in Lough Rea, a shallow clear lake. The water was much warmer than the Irish Sea in Dublin and I really liked that. The start was off a wall and after the start the fast girls were just gone. For most of the swim I was on my own and no one to be seen, apart from the one or the other guy from the previous wave. This is probably why I git slower in between because I got into some rhythm for a 1500m swim instead of a short 750m swim.
Usually, I wear glasses which I quite like and for swims I am fine without. Who needs to see the tiles or seaweed anyway? During the race however I need to find the direct line to the buoys, the swim exit and from there the transition area, so I race with contacts. This unfortunately also means that I can see the bottom of the lake, especially if it is shallow and clear – yäk! So much about “there are no shopping trolleys, etc”… I did see some buckets, plastic bags and so on – I did not want to see that!
But altogether the swim was nice in the calm lake and my sighting was quite good, too. Now I only need to work on the speed.
Transition 1 went very well. I think it was pretty close to perfect.
This was a constant up and down, although it felt I was climbing more than descending. The first 5K were as painful as I expected them to be, my legs just did not want to go as fast as I wanted them to move. I just did not have the legs as cyclists would explain this feeling. Maybe shouting “Shut up legs” at them might have helped. In the beginning I also had a little trouble with the Velcro on one of my shoes but I was able to fix this. The cycle itself was nothing special and I think I might have pushed myself a little bit more…
When I saw my cycle time after the race I was slightly disappointed with myself. I know I am better, I definitely should do better. I think the bad food (= no energy) and no long cycle for quite a while might have played a supporting role. I think Blessington and the Sublin Mountains might see me again a few times before the season ends to get me back to where I was in late spring / beginning of summer. And as motivated as that sounds, I will start that by skipping the cycle on Sunday…
Transition 2 was not too bad either I have to say. Could it be that transitions are the easiest parts of the races?
The run was the first 2.5K of the bike route and back. Luckily I had forgotten how hilly it was but I also have to say that those 2.5K felt quite long. Apart from that the run was not too bad, the time was okay-ish but I think there is still a lot to improve. I also could have pushed myself a little bit more but that always is easy to say afterwards.
My next triathlon will end with a 10K run and I think if I run it as I ran on Sunday I will be quite happy with the result. In the end of the season I still do the triathlon in Clogherhead and after three sprints and an Olympic it definitely should be my best tri of the season but it is just one week after the Dublin Half Marathon so my legs might be a little bit tired.
I was back after 1h 25min 50sec and I am happy with the overall time. It was also a good confidence booster for DCT in just over 2 weeks time, giving me the one or the other tip for little improvements until then.
The two days after the triathlon were all about enjoying the west, despite the wind and the rain which made it a little less pleasant but partly also a little more exciting.
On Monday I was quite lucky – every time I was outside walking, the weather was fine and when I was in the car, it was raining cats and dogs. At first I was down at the castle in Kinvarra, afterwards I drove to the Flaggy Shore on the Wild Atlantic Way for a nice walk and then drove to the Burren National Park. Along the way I stopped for some chocolate (I still need to test the one with Irish seaweed) and in a perfumery. On the way home I took a detour for dinner in Ennis.
On Tuesday I spent quite some time in the car to get to Connemara. I was really looking forward to it and with stopping the car because the sheep was running over the road made it the experience I was looking forward to have. The rain came and went again but the wind stayed and kept me from the walk in the national park I wanted to enjoy in the park. I was advised not to go all the way up. I went further than I should have and was almost blown off the rocks. Not cool… My plans to eat on the way were not very successful – first attempt was Clifden, second Galway and third Athlone – and so I went for a pizza back home in Dublin and a good night’s sleep after spending most of the day in the car.
Yesterday I still drove up to Trim Castle before I brought the rental car back. I finished the day with a visit to the hair dresser and a sea swim in the very choppy Irish sea – I really do not want to know the height differences between the troughs and the crests.
This weekend I have my 8 mile run scheduled for Saturday and my Sunday will start very early because I will be out on the cycle course for the Half Ironman in Dublin.