Being new to aquathlon and with 4 races under my belt, I reckon that the format is pretty good as it does not require a huge time commitment, and it is done and dusted in usually less that 1 hour of excercise. NZ can only cater for a few of these, and the Pure Blonde series is the second one in Auckland. It would be good if it was only one and a bigger field, but that is politics and business, two subjects that I am even more an amateur that mulstisport.
Anyway, a cr@p weekend and my first 9hours sleep in a very long time. I woke up at 9am feeling tired. the fun thing is that I had NO THING the day prior, other than eat, study and sit around the house. I did a 30min stretching session while on skype with our parents and had a very light brekkie. Nat was driver and photographer and we got there with plenty of time to spare. There was the usual faces and quite a few new ones, that I know are fast guys. I was expecting a bigger field and a lot of hard work, so all good on that front.
The numbers were slightly up from the other previous races, but not the 150 I had imagined. I went for a warmup run wih my mates Gordo and Reado. Legs felt OK, and after some serious stretching the upper body was firing as well. There was a few changes to the traditional circuit to suit the format (from 3km run to 2.5run this time, and triangle swim istead of box. There was a group of 6 or 7 good runners that I knew would be running pretty much together the whole race. My plan was to stick to them and see if I could pull an extraordinary swim and still be in contention out of the water onto the second run. The first 200m the people at the front was pushing a serious pace, sub 3min km. I made sure I was close but I was not up the front. Then the unexpected happened: there is a 90˚ left turn to go on a clockwise run around a block. The front guys ketp going straight, a few of us doubted but just kind of kept going... but then someone said something and we all realized we've missed the turn. I yelled WRONG WAY!, and turned back. The whole episode was 3 to 5 seconds.
I re entered the course and kept going... I realized I had an advantage of about 10 to 20m to the front guys. After about 20seconds the penny dropped.... this is my chance to go for it!.... I ducked in and went as fast as I could for the next km or so, then the body cought up with me and so did the first of the chasers. I was the first to T1 together with the eventual winner, Liam Scopes with a 10 to 15 seconds advantage (and a HR higher than other times, I must admit). The swimming was tought $hit, I was hiperventilated and dizzy for the first 200m of each of the two laps. I got passed by two or three guys in the 1km swim and I am lucky it was only them.
Out of the water I got a good T2 and out I was chasing the 3rd runner. I did realize I was being chased too, but didnt pay too much attention to that. Halfway through the first lap I heard the steps of my mate Reado right behind me... the guy in the front was just over 10 ahead, I tagged along him and we passed before the start of the 2nd and final run lap. Reado decided to push the pace a bit more, and I had nothing to respond... I stuck to him for 400m and then the gap just kept growing and growing. And I had a guy 10secs behind me!!... I made sure I was not passed again and finished with a worrying look in my face. 4th overall and 3rd in the Age group (national champs!)
The afternoon followed with prizegiving and I got my bronze medal, and my prizes for the overall series winner for the swim-run and aquathlon series. I even scored the second spot prize of the season, a good box of cereal bars.
As I was saying, this particular combination of disciplines has a good potential as it is easy to train for, and you can make it as complicated as you want if you're serious about speed. If any of you has a chance do one of them next season, here or abroad, and enjoy it... otherwise is not worth the effort.
keep rocking and pray for some sunshine