From my recollection, I’ve never done a BRICK (short for doing a bike ride/run/swim consecutively) before February this year. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect when I signed up to do a mini duathlon (swim 500 m then run 6 km) with Try3 club in March. I just remember stressing about transitioning from swimming to running (I didn’t have a triathlon suit at that stage) and potentially catching a cold running outside straight after a swim (fortunately I didn’t).
Having cycled 80 km in the mountains the day before, my legs felt like lead on Sunday morning when I turned up to do the duathlon (I haven’t discovered the benefits of foam rolling and recovery workouts at that stage). After the head coach went through the rules with us, we went off to change into our swimming gear and gathered by the pool. I struggled through the swim, only managing to do free-style for the first 200 meters before lapsing into breast stroke. I was the last out of the pool, feeling very sluggish and not looking forward to the run. There was only one other fellow newbie in the transition area, struggling to put on her long running tights. I quickly towel-dried my hair, slipped on my running jacket, running shorts and (powdered) running shoes and ambled over to the entrance of Chaoyang Park to start the run. I managed to find the running track and followed it most of the way with some guidance from the club members.
To this day, I’m still not sure if I actually ran 6 km, but it didn’t matter. I finished my first mini duathlon and experienced what it’s like to run straight after a swim. Transitioning wasn’t as messy as I’d feared, and running with wet feet sans socks wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated, but I really wished I brought a cap to cover my wet hair during the run. I did remember feeling completely knackered afterwards and napping involuntarily in the afternoon.
In the weeks following my first dabble into multisports, I realised just being able to swim, bike and run wasn’t enough prep for taking part in a triathlon. I needed stamina to swim, bike and run consecutively for a little over three hours for an Olympic distance race.
To gain some triathlon racing experience, I’m off to Wuxi tomorrow to do my very first Sprint distance triathlon armed with my brand new Garmin Forerunner 920XT, and enjoy some fresh air and time by the lake.
Happy Dragon Boat holidays to those who’ll be getting some time off!