My Coach (and club member, Kevin Keane!) advised me to enter Joey Hannan Memorial Triathlon – the Olympic Distance race. I reluctantly put myself on the cancellation list for an entry. I just don’t like racing in the Spring. It’s the cold that gets me on the bike. I find myself taking a keen interest in the weather forecast in the lead up to a race (will it be cold with hail or sunny and warm) and debating a few days prior to these Spring events as to what to wear on the bike so I can focus on the task at hand rather than be side-tracked by the elements. But it’s a tricky balance; being somewhat comfortable on the bike can mean overheating on the run!
It wasn’t a surprise that the race had sold out – it has a reputation for being a well organised event by Limerick Triathlon Club and one of the longest running events on the triathlon calendar. Lucky for me though, I got an entry.
The morning of the race presented blue skies and sunshine, but it was chilly. The 1500m swim was in University Limerick’s 50m pool. I was in a lane with about 8 males who could swim fast! I figured I was squeezed into lane 5 as I was on the cancellation list, so I decided to play safe and stay at the back of the group out of harm’s way! A few rules were reiterated to us on deck (no tumble-turns allowed, marshals will tap your head with 2 laps to go, etc.) and off we went. The pace was 1.20 per 100m (at best I could manage 1.30) so I lost feet with 25m into the start! I just focused on keeping my own pace and half way through the swim I could feel fingers tapping at my feet. I stopped at the wall and let the stream of swimmers through – I got lapped, twice, and towards the end of the race I had the lane all to myself to finish out the last 100m. Bliss 😛
If my swim wasn’t going to break any world records (1500m in a time of 26:11), my T1 sure as hell wouldn’t either! I decided to layer up on the bike. That meant base layer, gillet, cap and gloves, the latter which refused to go on my hands without a struggle. I lost 13 gender places here with a T1 of 2:19 minutes (ouch!). I secretly swore at this cold Irish weather but was also thankful for small mercies – at least it wasn’t raining.
I loved the bike course – it was an out and back of 38km that took you off the old Dublin road and along quiet(ish) undulating roads. Someone shouted to me when exiting T1 that I was 6th female (in the 2nd wave) and by the halfway point I had overtaken 3 women. I was surprised to find a headwind on the return to T2 and found it difficult to get my heart-rate up to its usual racing level. Perhaps the 10k race I did the week before left me feeling a bit jaded.
Back into T2 and off with the layers (to avoid that overheating issue, remember?!) and onto the run. This was a flattish loop of 2x5km around the grounds of University of Limerick. I felt good getting off the bike and onto the run and at the 5km mark I had passed a few more women but it was difficult to know who was in the 1st wave and who was in my 2nd wave and who was on lap 1 of the run and who was headed for the finish line and who was olympic and who was completing in the earlier Sprint race! In the last 400m I was closing in on a woman ahead of me as she ran to the finish line but I was running out of road and wouldn’t catch her in time. Just as she neared the finish line she turned to round the bollard to do another lap.
Maybe, just maybe I thought, I have this one won. I crossed the mat in a run time of 41:03 and met Kevin there, who was in 18 minutes before me beaming to say he had a great race and also thought he might have won! Some time later it was confirmed by Sportstiming that we both came first, a double victory for Belpark 🙂 Next up now is Mallorca 70.3 for both of us on 7th May.
Well done to Celia Davin, TriLakes Tri club and Annmarie Power, Cork Tri Club for their 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Thanks to Gordon Thomspon & James Elliman Photography for the images.