By Mourad El Aboussi
Just completed my longest Triathlon!
Half distance or Half Ironman: 1.9km swim + 90km cycling +21km running.
A tough challenge which I couldn’t do in 2019 (The fugitive) because of an illness and injury, despite training for months preparing😓
Couldn’t in 2020 because of covid.. But kept the goal in mind!
Leaving home at 5am with my wife who had to get up at 4! Thank you so much my dearest ever supporting Berni ❤❤ to start the swim at 7am in open water murky water with algae, without having time to acclimatise (covid rules: jump and swim!🏊♂️🏊♂️🐟) this was ok’ish for me, as I trained in similar south hinksey Lake, a place not catered for, where I used to swim with ducks geese and other birds🦆🦢🦅
The transition to cycling was quite fast as T1 was close to the lake, all the gear was ready, helmet on, cycling shoes a banana bite and Go! 💨💨💨
The bike leg was long, with some heavy rain halfway through, very competitive though. It was quite hilly with over 1000m elevation gain. The thing is the thought of having to run a half marathon after all of this and how to chase it off! 🤣 Once completed the first lap, I kept telling myself: over half way through come on, keep going!
After getting to transition, with the great marshals’job of directing and amazing cheering people👍👍 who got me to keep the spirit up↗️, I wore my wet running shoes, which i knew i should have covered or turned upside down because of the rain, although i had covered my gear before getting in the water, but my head was all over the place after the swim🤦♂️🤦♂️🙈
The run was unlike my expectations, 4 laps of 2 sections, the first section in the race village, starting with music in transition, people cheering and clapping👏👏. Then a longer hilly run in muddy fields, combined with rocky sections and rain in the menu😎 I had to keep pushing, the cheering helped a lot, but after 2 laps needed something to eat, as my energy levels were depleted! I made the mistake of not taking any food but gels thinking
It’s a run will need gels only! underestimating the length of the whole thing🤨 Luckily there was plenty of energy bars on a table alongside water and coke provided by the organisers. (Btw very well organised and marshalled event👌👌) I grabbed one for the 3d and another for the 4th lap. Cramps accompanied me in the last 2 laps and got intense in the up hills, but kept moving the legs and an eye on that cadence and HR. 👀
Finished in 5h49 min, happy to having kept going and not stopping, an great feeling at the end: Challenge done! 😃😃😃
A huge thanks to Mark for the coaching, follow up, continuous advice and everything else🙏🙏🙏
And many many thanks to Oxford Tri club,👊👊👊 members and the coaches hard work that kept me loving this sport!!