Steelman, powered by flapjacks

Posted: July 5, 2016 in Running, Swimming
Tags: , , , , , ,
Steelman 4

All changing rooms need a glass tower

It was a last minute decision to enter the Steelman Aquathlon and between making the decision and turning up on the start line I had managed to pick up a calf injury. It’s amazing how long a week can be. I was overjoyed to find out that my event even had a civilised start time of two in the afternoon. This meant that I could have a lie in and race on the same day.

After a frustration drive round the motorway I arrived and registered. The registration tent was almost empty as mine was one of the last evens of the day. Once I’d registered I needed to find something to fill in the time between now and start time. The flapjack stall seemed to obvious place to start. I’d not had any dinner and I felt that a big wodge of stodge in my stomach would enhance my prospects in the race.

I got to transition changed and in plenty of time but due to chatting and watching someone change an artificial leg I missed the announcements that we were due at the swim start. It made me feel better when I found I wasn’t the only one sprinting across the field to the start. As I entered the water I was told that there was one minute till the start, so there wasn’t enough time to complain about the wetness against my skin. I lined up with everyone else, I was the only one not wearing a wetsuit, and waited for the start. It wasn’t a long wait.

Steelman 1

The swim course was full of buoys

The fast people steamed off into the distance. From my point of view it looked like the entire field had overtaken me on the start. I’m used to people going faster than me but not quite that many. I headed in my not very direct fashion to the first buoy convinced that I was at the back of the field. There was nothing I could do about it so I settled into my stroke and started enjoying the swim. It was a two loop course in the Eton Dorney rowing lake. Despite my proven ability to swim in circles I managed to go in a reasonably straight line. I nearly went round the wrong side of the first buoy but apart from that it seemed to go well. The people in front disappeared and when I tried a cheeky glance back I couldn’t see anyone. I must be last.

Transition was its usual haphazard affair. Not wearing a wetsuit removed a layer of complication but putting on my shoes seemed to be far more complicated than it needed to be. After struggling with laces and realising that sitting down to put shoes on was far more preferable to hopping about I set off on the run.

The run route was along the slide of the lake to a turnaround point, twice. There were other events going on and that meant there were plenty of people to chase, catch and overtake. This did my ego wonders. I slowly worked my way round to course reeling in people. I felt that I was going really well but my calf was complaining a little. The high point of the run was overtaking two others from the same event. Admittedly they were running along side by side and chatting but I could ignore that minor detail. It also meant that in my world I was in my favourite finishing position: not last.

Steelman 5

The end in sight

The last part of the run was a struggle. Thankfully it was with the wind but my calf muscle was complaining quite wildly that it shouldn’t be subjected to this sort of treatment. I tried to explain that I needed to reel in just one more person but the muscle just carried on grumbling. I could see the finish line from a long way out. I knew it would end soon and I knew without looking at my watch that I’d done a fast run split. What’s more I knew I wasn’t last. All of that made for a good finish. The (non-alcoholic) beer after was a bonus.

Steelman 3

Re-hydration, Sir?

After changing I headed over to the results machine. I looked at the ticket in surprise; I’d finished a lot higher up the field that I had expected. My swim split was good and my run split even better. I felt so pleased that I demanded a selection pack of flapjacks from the flapjack man.

Steelman 2

The stall of heavenly delights

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