Yes, the unbelieveable has happened! By God's grace, this middle-aged couch potato who could not even run >3km nor swim (front crawl) >100m about 3 months ago has completed the OSIM Triathlon (Sprint Event) on 2nd July 2005!! Timing wise, I was slower than 60% of the field, so there's really nothing to shout about, but I am truly thankful that I was able to finish by God's grace, strength and provisions.
Funny thing is I met one of my former pastors (still a pastor but rotated to a different church now) - a young man who was also taking part in the same event - and I managed to complete the event one minute before him. Needless to say, I am still rubbing his face in it each time I see him. So much for brotherly love! ;)
In keeping with the purpose of this blog, here are the two main learning points from my attempt:
- Get proper working equipment.
Although I checked and re-checked everything (I even had a check-list), my faithful 20 year old Casio G-shock died mid-way through the swim so I had no clue how fast (slow?) I was going in the entire event. This meant no chance of pacing myself nor checking my timings against training experiences.
- Stick to the plan.
Instead of sticking to my plan to go slow and just complete the event, I panicked when I started seeing people from other waves over-take me in the swim. Okay, the long version is that "waves" are basically groups of swimmers that start the race at varying times - can't have 300 people all jump into a narrow stretch of beach at any one time. To distingush between the "waves", each wave of swimmers is given a different colour swimming cap (not very flattering, I might add). I was in the first wave to hit the water, so when I started seeing other coloured caps pass me, and had no watch to tell me my current swim time (see pt 1 above), I started to think that I must be REALLY slow and started pushing myself to swim faster. Good news, I swam faster than I ever did (22+ mins compared to my usual 25-28 mins in the pool); bad news, I was so knackered that I got out of the water feeling like I was gonna puke and with cramps in my legs. As a result, I spent the bike and run leg mainly trying (1) not to puke, and (2) nursing my cramps. I believe that really hurt my overall timing since the swim leg is the worst part to make up for lost time. It also led to very uncomfortable bike and run legs.