Millenium Hotel Triathlon, Mussanah, Oman

7 October 2016

(Olympic Distance)

I love travelling and discover new places, but having a big family and getting involve in the money sucking sports like triathlon it just becoming too expensive. Therefore, I like the idea of  'Race_cation' , racing at new places and have a little vacation as a reward after. I have never been to Oman so this race was a perfect opportunity for me to have a little racecation early in the season.

Reading from the description, the race was promoted as a fast one. Flat run and bike courses with the swim in a calm waters of a marina. Perfect for setting new personal records. Well what they didn't tell you was that the course was not accurately measured. The bike was 1.6 km over, the run was 100m and the swim was more than 200m longer. I don't mind about the bike and run over distance that much but the swim? Being a weaker swimmer that will cost me dearly.

Gear Check

The race has only about 80 starters so the mass start was not too intimidating. I managed to latch on the lead group until the first buoy before I slowed down and swim my own rhythm. I focused on a long smooth stroke and emphasized of the catch. It was amazing how easy it felt. I have always been struggling with the swim, fighting with the water just to make it out alive, but this this, I was actually enjoying it. The water feels warm but not too hot, calm and clean. I enjoyed it so much I didn't mind it was 200m too long. And to add to the excitement, I had someone drafting on my feet! How cool is that? That was the first! I was so proud of my self when the guy even said thanks for the draft when we get to the beach after the second lap.  My pace was 1:59/100m for the 1700m+ swim. my first sub 2:00 pace in a race.

The bike was 4 laps on a flat and fast smooth highway. I knew I had a lot to catch up after the swim if I want to be in the top 10. I hopped on the bike after a fast transition and pedaled hard to join the party. I forgot if I have already pressed the lap button on my watch so I pressed it again. It shows 'Transition', oh maybe I forgot to press the lap button after the swim so I pressed it again. To my horror the watch shows 'Run'. Bloody hell. Now I wouldn't be able to get my bike and run split. Never mind, this was just a 'training' race. So I biked hard and overtook a few. I was happy to see my self at T2.

This is it, my strongest discipline. Again I flew the transition and ran sockless. I knew I could hold a 4:45/km for 10km at my current fitness. 1 km into the run, I was shocked to see that the run course diverted off the road onto a soft sand trail then on concrete pedestrian for a bit before it went to the soft sand beach along the hotel front. I am a lousy trail runner. I was like Francisco Brunolli in the movie Cars 2 when he went on that dirt road in Towkyo. There goes my hope for a PB in Olympic Distance. The run was 4 laps. It was still hot this time of the year in Oman. The volunteers did an amazing job splashing us with ice cold water to cool off but it also drenched my shoes. Two laps into the run, my feet hurt from blisters. The price I had to pay for running sockless. I had sands in my shoes from running on the beach. I didn't think about it too much. I didn't come all the way to Oman and walk this race. I manned up and ran through the pain. I finished the race in 10th place just 9 places below and some 30 mins after Abdulla Attiya the pro ITU national triathlete from Bahrain.

Asking for my second wrist band after completing the second lap (photo courtesy of Muscat Triathlon Club)

I didn't manage the PB I hoped for but I really pleased with my results especially with my swim. I will take it from here and my 2016/17 calendar already looks promising.

As a reward, I had one day doing touristy things in Muscat before flying back to Doha.

Next race, Dukhan Watersport Triathlon Series Race 1 (Super Sprint)             
It's a wrap



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