Swim: 1 km freshwater swim in the Sydney International Regatta Centre
Bike: 30 km around the Regatta Centre lake and the nearby industrial estate
Run: 10 km in two laps around the Regatta Centre lake
The Nepean Triathlon was my first race of the season, and my first since joining Project M six months ago. I’d never raced the Nepean, but was excited to test myself at the longest-running race in Australia, and one that always attracts an elite field. How often do you get to share a course with the likes of Ashleigh Gentle, Aaron Royle, and Radka Kahlefeldt??
I felt good in the lead up, but then the night before the race one of my trademark migraines came on. Next morning it was gone but the after effects were lingering and I wasn’t sure how hard I could push myself without bringing it back. I decided to not put any pressure on myself and just see where things went, which helpfully kept the normal pre-race jitters away.
The weather was great for racing: overcast and cool after a really hot day the day before (although I would have liked it to be an extra 0.1° warmer to make it a non-wetsuit swim!). My instructions were to swim hard, bike tempo, and build on the run to make the second 5k faster than the first. After sitting in the water for a minute with no count-down, the swim was off! I started strong and for once actually managed to draft off someone for a big chunk of the swim around the lake. I backed off a few times when I felt my head start to throb but was still happy with the swim, especially after the fact when I found out I’d come out of the water 4th in my age category. Swim time: 18:33.
Off onto the bike which is always a challenge for me. I focused on just getting through it without letting my heart rate go sky high. A combination of a late starting wave and a good swim meant I spent most of the bike leg getting passed (I think I passed more people with flats than I passed actually riding!) but I somehow managed to enjoy the ride for once. I especially liked the technical section around the industrial estate—a lot more fun than just pushing on the straightaways. I did have a bit of a moment when I realised the lid to my drink bottle wasn’t on properly and ended up dripping Endura all over myself. Oops! Bike time: 1:06:56.
Back into the Regatta Centre and I was happy to ditch the bike and get out onto the run, my favourite part. It took me a while to settle into a pace and when I did I realised I’d run the first 1k about 10 seconds faster than I meant to. I tried to back it off but only got down about 5 seconds slower so decided I’d just try to stick with that. The first lap around the lake wasn’t too bad, but when I got to the 5k mark and started to up the pace for the build I wasn’t sure how long I could handle it. From about 5-7.5k I struggled to hold this faster pace. Somewhat conveniently, I ended up with an unexpected pacing partner and we ran side-by-side for nearly 4k! At about 7.5k something clicked and I suddenly started to feel really good. I managed to speed up a bit more, ditched my newfound running buddy as I went up over the last bridge, and then kicked up the pace again for the last 1.5k. Or should I say 1.3k, as I was surprised to see the finish chute 200m before my watch hit 10k. I was thrilled to come in with a 4:56 pace on the run – my previous 10km run PB! Run time: 48:29.
All in all, I was really happy with the race and happy to see where I stand at the start of the season after a long winter trying to balance training and teaching. Can’t wait to see where I end up by the end of it! Thanks to Nathan, the Project M crew, my riding buddies, and of course Rich who always makes me get up in the morning for whatever is on my program.