My first Tri : GMC TriSeries Race 1

Wow I don't believe it. I am a triathlete. I know you cant believe it either. I just started swimming again after the last Aquathon series (report HERE)  and attending a once a week swim lesson with Hamilton Aquatics since a month ago. I am still bad at it. I could barely swim 200 m without taking a break and swallowed one-tenth of the filthy pool water in the process. I also never ride a road bike ever in my life. The last time I rode any kind of bicycle was during my time at UTM in the 90s. So I was a sure bet for the last place in any bookmakers mind.

Why I suddenly want to do this you might ask. Well I must start preparing for life after Marathons. When I have reached my full potential which I think wont be too long now considering I will cross the new age group in few years. There are two options for 'retired' marathon runners, joining the Ultra Marathons or Triathlon/Ironman. I choose the later. Only because training for triathlons would benefit my marathon trainings as well whereas training for ultras will affect my speed. Swim and cycle are also well known as good choice of cross trainings.

I was presented with this opportunity. A super sprint triathlon race organised by Triclub Doha. The distance was perfect for a total rookie like me. 250 m swim, 10 km bike and 3 km run, but I did not signed up until the very last minute. I shall thank my friend Joost who persuaded me to register. I contacted Nickel, the race director and asked if he knows anyone who can lend me a bike. He then post it on the club's Facebook page. Offers came pouring in from members of Triclub Doha. I contacted the first offer I got. I did not even know the guy and never met him so I was very grateful that he even willing to lend me with his expansive spare bike. The super cool Specialized Roubaix Elite. Thank you Najib.

I only had a chance to try the bike once before the race and sure enough it felt awkward. I did not even know how the gear works until the last 100m of my 10 km familiarisation ride.  I was also worried if I scratch that pretty thing. The race took place at Aspire Zone. The swim was done at the pool and we started two by two at few seconds interval from the middle of the pool,  and swam up and down the lane snaking to the first lane before we get out and proceed to the transition area. I was the last person to jump into the pool after missing my start. I was not relaxed and already very tired after the 250m swim. I forgot all the techniques that I had learnt during my swim lessons and back to my old habit of taking short deep stroke, breathing every 2nd stroke from the right only and swam with lots of drag. That was probably the slowest 250m swim I did since I swim competitively (that does not sound right, does it?). My swim time was an abysmal 6'28".

I quickly ran to the transition area, put on my cheap QAR 49 helmet I got from Lulu Hypermarket last night, rolled socks into my feet, put on my running shoe (yes I am a rookie, I cycle with my running shoe) and brought down the bike from the rack. From there I had to run with the bike for about 30-40m until I passed the 'mount here' hump. Boom my T1 time was 58". That was pretty awesome.

We had to cycle on an uneven, hard brick road for  the entire 10 km. The course may be more suitable for a mountain bike than a sleek road bike like the one I was riding. My bum was really sore and I felt pain on my lower back and shoulders. Maybe I did not position my body correctly. I was very conscious and careful especially around the corners. My 24'26" cycling time was so slow it was like taking an easy ride around a park.             

I did better at T2 with just 36" and that include a wrong turn. Now into my favourite discipline, the run.   What a 3 km to a marathon runner you might think. Well I thought the same thing too. But what I did not know was a run after a swim and a bike was an entirely different animal. I cant feel my leg for the first 1 - 1.5 km. It was so awkward I was almost lost my balancing. That was the very reason why triathletes do brick sessions in their training. The run itself was hard. The 3 km felt like eternity. I was so spent after the swim and the bike I cant wait to get it over and done with. I finished the run in 12'27" still pretty decent. It was a great feeling when I ran past the finish line. It was a different kind of joy from finishing a marathon.  My total time was 44'57"for 36th place out of 68 in individual category. So I did not came last after all. That in itself already an achievement considering the level of competition I was up against.

I think I just found a new love. I fell in love with cycling and the whole triathlon thing (except I am still dread over swimming). I asked Najib if he wants to sell the bike after the race. He said I can have for QAR xxxx. It was a done deal. So it's official I can consider changing my profile from a marathon runner to a triathlete. I hope this is not just an infatuation.     

Swim, Bike, Run and my 1st ever triathlon medal

Result in detail:

Swim:   6:28   Rank 55/68
T1:        0:58   Rank 24/68
Bike:    24:26  Rank 56/68
T2:        0:36   Rank 22/68
Run:     12:27  Rank 14/68

Total:    44:57  Rank 36/68 


azlie said…
You meant Najib gave the bike away for free? That's awesome!
LOL it was misleading wasn't it. Ammended thanks
RaYzeef said…
Congrats bro. IronMan next :)
I understand that as a marathoner, the next natural progression would be towards a triathlon or ultra. Can I know why you chose Triathlon? More things to learn and cost on biking mechanisms. And a father to father question, how do you balance work and training with making sure we're still very much in our kids life? I'm just thinking of going into ultra instd at least I'm just concntrating on running.
Memang tu target nya bro. Kena start dr sekarang

Well im into tri because cycling and swimming are good cross training and, a triathlon training helps marathon training as well. I dont want to do ultras just yet because it will affect my speed.

I usually train very early in the morning around 4/5 before they wake up am or late in the evening when the kids already in bed.
FrH said…
Hi. Found out ur blog after saw akmal hani (who was my schoolmate) posted on her recent run. Congratulations. Keep up with the training. Nice blog. Send my regards to akmal who still looks hot even with 3 children!

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