Sunday, October 12, 2008

Quadthlon - Swim, skate, part one

I am glad the Quadthlon is finished. It felt like a distraction for me. The main fitness goal now was to train for the marathon coming end of the year but with the Quadthlon I had to dabble in a few things that I was not confident at.

For your information, I did finish the race which was the goal and I did it with only minor injuries. A few scrapes on the knee as I tripped on the swimming carpet. Luckily it was soft so I just picked myself up and continued running to the transition area.

The four disciplines - swimming, skating, biking and running - none of which I am particularly good at but I was at least confident of the run because I had been running quite a bit this year. At least, I figured I should not have much problem finishing the 6km run.

Swimming was very difficult for me. First, I suck at the front crawl. I tried swimming 2 laps in the swimming pool 3 weeks before the event and concluded that there was no way I could have finished the 500 meters with my current front crawl. Therefore, I decided to use breaststroke. I started out at the back of the pack because I didn't want to kick anyone in the face. However, I got the direction of the swim wrong and ended up being in the middle of the pack. Also, I realised that there are many whose front crawl is just slow. In fact, I had to tread water for a while because I was caught in the middle of the swimming pack and could not overtake the few 'front crawlers' in front of me. Well technically I could overtake and kick them but that would not be a nice thing to do. Breaststroke is not a good stroke for these type of mass swimming event because it is slow and requires such a big gap to avoid kicking the other competitors. Unfortunately, it is the only stroke I am competent in. Needless to say I was ultra tired after the short swim and that contributed to me tripping on the carpet.

Skating was much better. I did wear my speed skates even though I did not think I would have save much time given that I still have not gotten used to them and I take forever to put them on. I think a pair of high end recreational skates with 90mm wheels would have been the fastest setup for me at my current skill level. I used the speed skates because it was a better learning experience than skating with recreational skates. As my skill increases, the speed skates will definitely be faster than the recreational skates. My skating instructor said that I will need one year to get used to speed skates but given my frequency of using them quite likely longer. I go for classes around once a month. I did have a small fall because one skater fell right in front of me. I avoided him but still had a controlled fall. Fortunately, I wore gym gloves so my hands did not get any abrasions. I talked to one of the spectators and it seemed like there were a lot of skaters who fell. I think there were only 3 main areas that was a little more challenging - a small step around 3 cm at the beginning, some bumps to slow down bikes and the u-turn. I was going rather slow at these areas to avoid falling but still fell because of the skater who fell.

If you are still interested, check up later on this site and I will write about the cycling and the running part.

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