Paweł ChalacisPaweł Chalacis

Back in January, this was my ultimate goal for this year - finish an olympic distance triathlon. It seemed so distant and difficult and now it's all done! Surprisingly I got a perfect weather, sunny but not too hot, which is not that often in London. It started to rain few hours after I finished, but at that point I didn't matter anymore. After Mumbles swim I was little scared, yet I've set up a goal to finish below 2:30. I crossed the finish line at 2:27 and it made me happy for the whole week!

I packed on saturday using my simple Triathlon Checklist application and, thankfully, did not forget anything. I have a transition bag from 220 Triathlon subscription - get it if you need one, it makes the life much easier. We arrived at Excel Exhibition Centre shortly before 11 AM, as my wave was to start at 12. It was nice not to have to wake up at 4 this time. On the other hand, few thousands of people already finished that day and I envied them a lot.

Registration was pretty straightforward, I received timing chip for my ankle, and went to the transition area to set up my little spot. From there we went for race briefing, gave few hugs, wished good luck to random athletes and jumped into water. I was so excited that I don't remember if the water was warm or cold at all.

Now, I've heard the "washing machine" term for swim start many times, but till that day I didn't know what it actually means. Well, it means that you are going to get kicked, punched, swimmed over, pushed, catched and punched again many times. I didn't notice anyone deliberately doing that, it's just so many people swimming in different pace, that it's just unavoidable. Nevertheless my swim was incomparably better than the last one. Mainly, because I was confident for the whole duration that I can actually make it. I think that the amount of swimming I've done over the past few weeks helped a lot as well. I'm quite sure I could've gone much faster, but pacing is something to address in the future. This time I wanted to finish it with smile on my face.

This is why I take photos, instead of be photographed. I suck and always look like an idiot...

Beside the smile part, plan worked. It was not the fastest swim in the world, 33 minutes placed me in the middle of the whole race. On the side note - my Forerunner didn't record GPS data from the swim. Hell knows why (yes, it had a satellite signal before I started).

Getting on my bike was the greatest feeling. Once again I was flying through the course, but this time it was on closed roads! I was surprised that it's not flat, as we went through overpass and tunell.

I think I was passed by two guys only and finished bike leg within top 200, but looking at the data I haven't done the best job there. My heartrate was jumping between 150 and 170 and my speed dropped below 30 km/h too many times. On the positives - I kept my cadence quite high for majority of the course. Still - definitely place for an improvement.

My watch recorded little over 35 km, which is what many people reported. That was little surprising, as you would expect correct distance on a event as big as this one.

That brings us to the run, which consisted of 3 laps. My plan was simple - survive it and keep equal splits if possible. Looking at the Garmin Connect data, I think I've managed to made the plan. Part of the run was inside the Excel, so GPS data is little wrong, but charts do show more consistent pace and heart rate.

I've also managed to run 10km little faster than few months ago (talking about official timed events). Yay! Run data can be found here.

In the end, my times were:
Swim: 0:34:03
T1: 0:03:45
Bike: 1:00:53
T2: 0:02:35
Run: 46:08
Total: 2:27:24

Lessons learned for the future:

  • Go faster
  • Keep focus during transitions
  • Figure out hardware (Forerunner and HDhero failed)
  • Try working out with heart rate zone alerts, so I can pace myself better.
  • Smile more! (still working on that one!)

In the end, the event was awesome and I would sign up for the next year if I was sure that I'm still going to be in London then. But if you looking for a professionally organised event - don't think twice, after all it is the biggest triathlon in Europe. And this year I was a part of it!

After the race I took a week off training, but tomorrow I'm starting with new training program which will bring me to my next race! It's addictive.