Month: March 2015

Review – Fritton Lake Super Sprint Triathlon (2014)

Location – Fritton Lake and surrounding area. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR31 9HA

Type – Open Water Swim (1 lap), cycle on public roads (1 lap) and a run on trails around the park (2 laps)

Entry Fee – £35 (£30 with BTF* membership)

Medal – Yes and age group trophies

Goody bag – Free water bottle and swim cap

Event facilities  – Free on-site parking, cafe, showers, toilets, massage tent

Chip timed – Yes

Start Type – Mass start

Would I do this event again? – Yes

Overall Score – 10/10

Summary

This is 1 of 3 races held over the weekend. It is a fun, friendly and relaxed event in a beautiful location. Great for newcomers and experienced Triathlete’s.

* British Triathlon Membership

Triathlon hints and tips

It is amazing the amount of little things I have picked up from the Triathlon training day and from fellow Triathletes.

Hope you find the below useful, and sorry if these are well known

  • Screw up your race number. This helps to stop it from flapping around so much
  • Lie your helmet with the chin strap open, and place the helmet so that you put your hands either side and lift it straight onto your head
  • Always take your bike out for a quick ride when you get to an event. To make sure you are in the right gear and your bike didn’t get damaged in transport
  • Buy a mini hole punch, this really helps for attaching race numbers if there are no holes already in them
  • Rack your bike, with the handle bars facing towards you. That way all you need to do is push back on the handle bars and the bike will easily come off the rack
  • Rack your bike at the end closest to the mount line. It is faster to run without your bike than with it
  • Relax and enjoy yourself. My best triathlon times have been when I have smiled and enjoyed the event
  • Elastic laces are brilliant and well worth the money
  • If doing a long run (or you always wear socks), take the time to put socks on. It will only take an extra minute at the most and it is well worth it
  • Check out the bike route before the race if you can. It is easy to miss or take a wrong turn on the day
  • If it is warm enough and you have the confidence in the lake, don’t be afraid to go without a wet-suit. You can save lots of time in transition by not wearing one
  • If like me you suffer from asthma, take your time in Transition and catch your breath and calm your breathing down
  • Always bring warm clothes to change into after the race

Fritton Lake Super Sprint 2014 – My First Triathlon

Here we are, the day of my first Triathlon had finally arrived!

The race wasn’t until 2pm in the afternoon, so had plenty of time to prepare and worry!

I had asked a few friends if they could come and cheer me on and their support was really needed. Am still thankful to Chris, Debbie, Gemma, Stuart, Karen, John, Hannah, George and Rob for being so amazing. Also to Rebecca and her family who were also fantastic on the day.

I went to registration, picked up my race number, safety pins and stickers for my bike and helmet. Off to the transition area where I laid out my kit.

The race itself consisted of

Swim – 400m (In Fritton Lake)

Bike – 14k (Road)

Run – 2.5k (On park trails)

I completed the Triathlon in 1 hour, 5 minutes and 46 seconds. Link to my splits – http://www.chiptiminguk.co.uk/ps/results/Fritton%20Lake%20Super%20Sprint%20Triathlon/28309

For the swim I decided not to wear my wet-suit, the water temperature was warm enough and I found I was stronger swimming breaststroke in just my Tri-suit. Felt really good on the swim.

On the bike section I rode my hybrid, and I really struggled. I hadn’t realised but my mudguard had got knocked while travelling to the event. It was rubbing against my back wheel the whole way round. I also hadn’t done enough cycling outside of the gym and found hills/wind very tiring.

The run was on a trail around the woodland at Fritton Lake. I was feeling pretty tired after the bike ride but determined to run/jog the 2.5k.

Overall I was so pleased with my result and felt a massive sense of achievement when I crossed the finish line. I completed a Triathlon and most importantly raised £1000 for EACH and Macmillan.

I did the Triathlon in memory of my Dad.

Triathlon Training Day – Lake Disaster!!

A few months before I was due to take part in the Fritton Lake Triathlon, I found out about a “Triathlon Training Day” the same company were hosting.

With a month until the big day I signed up and went along.

Although the day itself ended badly. I can honestly say without going to this training day, I would not have completed my first triathlon.

I received an email to say what to bring along to the day;

  • Wetsuit & googles (this was an open water swim training day, however they do pool based ones also)
  • Swimming costume/Tri-suit or whatever you plan to wear on the bike/run sections
  • Towel
  • Bike and helmet
  • Running shoes
  • Warm Clothes – This is a must!!

In the morning we were taken down to the lake, and the instructor talked us through the best way to put a wetsuit on. He must have laughed at us all hoping around, but eventually we were all suited up.

Having never wore a wetsuit before I was surprised at how tight it feels to start with. You do get used to it and like anything new over time it gets more comfortable.

Another shock I had was how cold the lake is, I stupidly thought wetsuits kept you dry. However after walking into the lake I soon felt the cold water going into the back of the wetsuit via the zip.

To start with the cold water really takes your breath away, however it isn’t that cold once you start swimming.

There was a nice 50 m section set up for us to swim around to get used to the lake. Everyone started to swim front crawl and fast! Panic really set in….I could only swim breast stroke and it felt like I wasn’t making a progress!!! I really got stressed and my breathing was very laboured.

In the end I couldn’t join the others and swim around the lake, I was too distressed. I just watched.

Eventually and finally we all got out. Learned the best way to remove our wetsuits and got dry.

After lunch we moved onto learning how best to do the first transition (Swim to Bike or T1).

We were shown how to set up our bike and helmet, how to remove our bikes from the rack and run with them. We were also shown how best to mount and dismount.

After this we covered the second transition (bike to run or T2). We did what is called BRICK training. We cycled a 3k loop and then went onto a 1k run, the plan was to do this 3 times.

I couldn’t even run 100m, my breathing was still bad from the lake. It was so embarrassing…after not being able to swim, I now wasn’t even able to run. Trying not to burst into tears in front of everyone, I walked and cycled some of the 3 sets.

I must confess I got home that night and decided I wouldn’t be able to do the Fritton Triathlon and was ready to give it all up.

However some amazing friends really helped me, I really can’t thank them enough for listening to me worry, moan, mope and be a baby. They made me realise it was just a bad day and talked me into going back to the lake and try again.

I am so glad they did as lake swimming is a joy. You just need to relax and know that it seems like you are not moving but that is because you are not hitting a wall every 25m like in the pool.

I would say if you are new to Triathlons or are wanting to try one, go along to a training day. I learned so many handy tips that I still use and pass on to others to this day.

**Will cover more about transition hints and tips in another post**

You can swim breaststroke at Triathlons!

The last part of my Triathlon journey was the swim.

I enjoyed swimming at the gym pool, and spent the odd 30 minutes once a week or so gently swimming breaststroke. Not getting my head in the water or swimming very far.

However I wanted to get more confident and speed up a little, I figured the best way was to improve my stroke and get my head in the water.

So I invested in some googles and made a start. It was scary and difficult to begin with, I would breathe in and out when I lifted my head out of the water and found swimming for more than 2/3 lengths so difficult and trying.

In the end I figured out that I could breathe out when my head was submerged, it was tough to start with and I really had to concentrate but over time it got more and more natural. It then meant I could take a deeper breathe when my head was raised as I wasn’t breathing out, as well as in.

Over the next few weeks and months I increased the amount of lengths I could swim with out stopping from 5 to 25 (500m) and eventually to 50 (1k).

If like me you are new to swimming, I would say do whatever swimming stroke feels natural. Front crawl or breaststroke are both fast swimming techniques and allowed at Triathlons. I had read so many posts saying “you can’t swim breaststroke at a Triathlon” but that just isn’t true.

The swim is a small part of a Triathlon so don’t worry about the time and just get through it. Too many people let the swim section put them off, however you just need to relax and enjoy it.

Up next….I went to a Triathlon training day. That’s when the fun really started!!