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Singapore Aquathlon National Championships - Standard Course - Aquathlon

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30C / 86F
Total Time = 1h 14m 30s
Overall Rank = 3/
Age Group = 40-49
Age Group Rank = 2/
Pre-race routine:

Got up at 5:50, had breakfast (coffee, four granola bars--too many, probably, but they are small--less than 100 calories each). Taxi to start. Found out I was starting at 8:30, not 8:00 as originally thought, so lots of time to get set up.
Event warmup:

About fifteen minutes of jogging and strides, five minutes of swim warmup.
  • 00m
  • 0 kms
  •  min/km
Transition 1
  • 00m
  • 29m 54s
  • 1500 meters
  • 01m 59s / 100 meters

Just a truly hideous swim. I didn't really think out a start strategy for being in the third wave, as I'd been planning to start in the elite wave (which was cancelled) and not sure I've done this kind of setup before. The end result was I never swam more than 6-10 strokes (probably more like 6) without coming into contact with another swimmer or one of course ropes. NEVER got into any kind of rhythm, and ended up swallowing a lot of water (fortunately, not choking on it, just swallowing and getting it up my nose). It didn't seem to matter how I breathed--there always seemed to be a swell or someone kicking when I breathed, pushing water into my face.
What would you do differently?:

Think through a strategy in advance of starting. It really wasn't apparent what was going on until the second wave of guys started and I was already in the start hold. I really should have stayed to the outside (I think) on entering and then when we entered the course, stuck to the outside till the turn to get out of the scrum, I noticed some people were doing that and at the time wondered why they were so far to one side. That also requires swimming extra distance, but in this case it might be faster to swim further but be more in the clear.

Kinda freaky--two years ago when I did this race in the elite wave, my time was exactly one second slower. But conditions were not nearly as rough that year, and I only lost time going around people on the second lap that time, not both. I think my swim fitness is better this time. Course must be somewhat long (I believe it's the same, except for direction--it was clockwise last time.) All times for both genders were quite slow, as in the past.
Transition 2
  • 01m 4s

Actually pretty smooth, I just wasn't moving that fast due to nausea and vertigo. I didn't waste any time dithering with equipment. My transition was (I think) 38th out of maybe 300 competitors, so not bad. A few people were in the 30-40 second range; guessing they were either running faster than me into/out of transition and/or didn't wear socks. Just can't do the latter for a hot, humid 10K. Freaky again--EXACTLY the same transition time as two years ago. Kind of like a multi-sport edition of Groundhog Day.
What would you do differently?:

The whole race goes back to the swim. Would have been faster in transition and run if I hadn't swallowed so much water--related to being stuck in the scrum the whole time.
  • 43m 31s
  • 10 kms
  • 04m 21s  min/km

Felt yuck from the get-go. Last time I was sick with a cold but ran pretty well as my legs seemed immune to it.This time nauseous, legs dead. Told myself I would feel better after I got my "land legs" in a mile or two, but that never happened. Wasn't really sure where I was in the field as no one told me after the swim and there were people running who were either relay members or maybe not even doing the race (open course in a popular running area). I saw my AG rival pretty close behind me on the out and back at Bedok Jetty (near 1 km) and figured I would have to work hard to keep ahead of her, held her off for one loop, then didn't see her there on the second loop, so thought she was having a bad run (she's usually faster) and I had gained on her. Then she passed me with 2 or 2.5 km to go. So either she had a big surge after dropping back a little on the first lap, or missed a turn somewhere. Probably the former, plus I slowed down a bit.
What would you do differently?:

I felt the swim was the root of my problems on the run. I've also had some stomach stuff going on for the past week, so maybe going in a bit weaker and less well-fueled and hydrated than normal. I think I should have eaten less breakfast (four granola bars) in this case. I hadn't eaten much for dinner (which was early) and was concerned about being underfueled for the race, but it didn't sit well after all the water I swallowed. Oats plus lots of diesel-flavored salt water equals pretty ugly situation. Also, not carry my own hydration. Not sure why I did as they had decent stuff. It's just habit.
Post race
Warm down:

Tried to jog a little but my stomach wasn't cooperating. Just walked around a bit and shot the breeze with my AG rival. (She's actually really nice; we're only enemies during the race.) Was going to go back in and swim but still felt a bit nauseous and it started to look like it was going to storm. (It did just after AG awards.) So we just went to find a place to clean up.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

*Minor stomach bug the week before the race, took the edge off my energy levels a bit and probably made me more susceptible to the nausea issue.
*Too much breakfast, maybe too close to race time (about 2:15 before start), especially given above
*Poor strategy on swim, mainly because I didn't anticipate swimming in last wave
*Course design on swim
*Swallowing (and getting down nose) too much water
*Nausea resulting from above factors on run

Event comments:

The race in general is well-organised but the swim course just sucked this year. Too narrow at start and the merging was a mess for the second and third waves, especially the third (women's wave). I felt cheated when they took out the Elite wave without prior notice after specifying on the race literature up until race day that it would be offered. Call me spoiled or entitled, but the main draw of this race and their Sprint Series for me is the chance to NOT be in a big scrum at the start, get a clean swim start, do my own pace, and try to find some guys to draft.

I spend a lot of $ to get to my Singapore events and normally when I do them, there's a compelling reason like nice course setup, strong competition, good prizes, etc. It's not just a quick drive or MRT jaunt to a Saturday AM race--this took a personal leave request two months out, last-minute re-entry visa, plane ticket, hotel reservation, hour-long taxi ride to the airport, and an international flight. I'm not sure I would have placed any better had I been in the first wave, but my time would have been faster, and it would have been more enjoyable and worth it to me as a real test of my fitness, not just my ability to bash my way through a bunch of people. The prizes are also not what they were, and this course isn't particularly interesting or challenging, so I'm thinking this will be my last year for this event. Maybe next time I'll just come to train and shop for a weekend (I had a really nice long run on Sunday) without the pretext of a race.

Note: Race format is once again incorrect. It's swim-run, not run-swim-run.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2015-09-07 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 00 kms |  min/km
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Time:  00:00
Putting on cap, goggles and wetsuit:
Getting out of shoes:
00:29:54 | 1500 meters | 01m 59s / 100meters
Age Group: 1/
Overall: 3/
Performance: Bad
Includes maybe 30 seconds of jogging in after standing up, plus a short beach run between laps.
Suit: Pearl Izumi Trisuit
Course: Two loops of a triangular course with one of the most hideous setups I've seen. No elite wave so joined all women in starting last. We entered the course diagonally into men from both waves still swimming. Out in narrow lane against the onshore current out to first buoy, left, against current (it goes diagonal, onshore and down toward Sentosa, this time of year) to next turn, in with current current now pushing swimmers toward course rope. Short run between loops.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 30C / 86F Current: Medium
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time:  01:04
Overall: Average
Removing cap, goggles and wetsuit: Good
Getting into shoes: Good
00:43:31 | 10 kms | 04m 21s  min/km
Age Group: 2/
Overall: 2/
Performance: Below average
Slighly slower (maybe 30 seconds) for the second lap.
Course: Flat, two out and back loops along the running path in East Coast Park, about 50% in shade.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %?
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? No
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2015-09-07 7:04 AM

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: Singapore Aquathlon National Championships - Standard Course

2015-09-09 12:00 PM
in reply to: 0

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Bellingham, WA
Subject: RE: Singapore Aquathlon National Championships - Standard Course

That really sounds like a tough swim.  I HATE contact in the water and to have it continuously must have been awful.  But, I sure wish I could run like you.  You are blazing fast.

Edited by popsracer 2015-09-09 12:01 PM
2015-09-09 5:44 PM
in reply to: popsracer

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Singapore Aquathlon National Championships - Standard Course
Ha--On that day, not fast enough! 1:45 slower than last time. If I'd run the same time, that would have matched the winning time. My AG rival (we've been going at each other for years now) is a faster runner and always has been, unless she's sick or injured. (Sadly, she's usually a better biker, too.) My only hope was to take her commandingly on the swim and gain enough that I'd be "out of sight, out of mind". It's worked before but due to the sucky swim, it didn't work for this race!
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