Anyone that knows me well knows that I don’t do things by halves, I either commit 100% or don’t bother in the first place. This means that when I decided to “get into” triathlons a week ago, instead of starting small and building up my distance gradually I planned a route that would allow me to cycle from Crystal Palace to Southwark park (~12km) , run a park run (5km for those of you that don’t know), cycle to the Royal London Docks (~10km, without getting lost), swim the NOWCA open water course (400m), then cycle back to Crystal Palace (~20km). I will make this easy and do the maths for you but that makes a total of 400m swim, 42km ride, and 5km run… without any specific training or nutrition plan. A regular Olympic triathlon is a 1.5km swim, 40km ride, and 10km run, and apparently should be done in that order.
My adventure started out well, the sun was shining while I ate my breakfast (see my instagram page for my food diary) and I couldn’t wait to get on my bike and start which was good because I was running late so I needed to get a move on. The journey to Southwark was great, it rained a tiny bit but no more than a drizzle and I got to the park with about 7 minutes to spare before the run started. It turned out today was Southwark’s 200th park run (congratulations guys!!!) so it was pretty busy but we still started on time and I ran my fastest ever 5km in 21:40! I am pretty sure I could improve on this time next time I go if I start nearer to the front too.
Then it was time to cycle to the docks. Cycling around East London is the worst at the best of times but add in a triathlon closing the roads, google maps trying to send me through multiple construction sites, and a very strong headwind, and I was pretty close to tears when I arrived. Luckily as I walked my bike over to where I thought the start might be (apparently google maps doesn’t know where the open water swim centre actually is) I saw a familiar face from my running club, and my mood instantly picked up. She will probably read this so massive thanks GD! Anyway, after a super quick change into my costume (I decided to brave the cold and not bother with the wetsuit this time), I went down to the start line, dipped my toes into the freezing cold water, and then we were off! Now after feeling pretty apprehensive at the start of my first ever open water swim I have to say that this was without a doubt the best swim I have ever done, and I can’t wait to go back next week.
After a quick coffee and a couple of oranges I was back on my bike and heading to Crystal Palace. With only 30% battery left to power both google maps and Strava I was feeling slightly worried about my journey home but luckily I have cycled this route once before so I managed to figure out where I was going when the inevitable happened and my phone went flat 3-4 miles away from home. And its a good job I did because by the time that happened it was absolutely siling it down with rain drops and I was soaked.
So in summary I ended up having a really good trip today and it is definitely something I will do again, maybe just once a month as it takes up so much time but its definitely worth it. I’ll finish with a few highlights/lowlights from today:
- All time PB at Southwark park run.
- Being in the water with the cable cars and planes overhead.
- Cycling home in the rain (I know its weird but I actually really enjoy running/cycling in the rain as long as it’s not too cold).
- Having to cycle around the wharfs and use the greenwich foot tunnel.
- Falling fowl of the “Strava or it doesn’t count” rule that all serious athletes live by because my Garmin Forerunner 10 is only capable of recording a single sport (a multi-sport watch is on my list… advice in the comments would be much appreciated)
- Trying to remove the smell of river weeds from my skin.
Overall I would call it a pretty successful morning!