Garmin Forerunner 310XT – The Review

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Having abandoned treadmill running in favour of the great outdoors it wasn’t long before I began to bemoan the loss of my preferred running watch the Garmin Forerunner 305. I long for pretty maps to illustrate my outdoor running routes and spur me on to explore my surroundings and for that you need GPS.

Fortunately for me I am spoilt, and my good lady wife didn’t listen to my moans for long before coming home with a beautiful orange gift – the Garmin Forerunner 310XT.

The Forerunner 310XT has been the long awaited upgrade to the Forerunner 305. The Forerunner 405 (reviewed here) let us down with it’s silly bevel features that went haywire at the first hint of moisture, so the Forerunner 310XT marks a back to basics approach, stick with the tried, tested and much loved functionality of the 305 but add the long called for water resistance that should mark this as the triathletes choice.

Not of course that I can call myself a triathlete having done only one sprint event about 3 whole years ago. I am occasionally known to dabble in open water swimming though, or at least I have done twice, but I don’t think one should limit oneself, who knows when I may decide to pull on the wetsuit and explore the local waterways.

So the biggest change between the Forerunner 305 and the Forerunner 310XT is that Garmin have made the 310XT waterproof and therefore suitable for the swim. Having looked into the watches swim capabilities though I think I understand why Garmin took their time to introduce the feature and make a truly triathlon oriented GPS watch.

If you wear the watch on your wrist, as most people do, the watch will be plunged under water with each stroke reducing and possibly even removing its connection with the satellites and the stroke action will have the wrist unit moving forwards and back and effectively mapping out a greater distance than the rest of your body. The result is a very messy GPS trail and a wildly overestimated swim distance. A firmware release has added open-swim functionality to the Forerunner 310XT which averages out the missed points and gives a smoother GPS and distance closer to the truth but still not what you could call accurate.

DC Rainmaker has written an excellent review of the Forerunner 310XT as it performs in open water and compared the results with that of the Forerunner 305 worn underneath the swim cap.
I recommend you check out his analysis if you intend to use the watch for swimming or triathlon. The point I’ve taken away is that the 310XT really needs to be worn under your swim cap if you want to be able to trust the data and get a pretty map. It doesn’t show any improvements over the Forerunner 305 which you can shove in a sandwich bag and also pop under your swim cap but I suppose it does offer some peace of mind in case you drop it and it gets waterlogged.

Another major change is related to battery life. You can now run or swim or bike for around 20 hours vs the 10 hrs quoted for the 305. This is great news for endurance athletes or indeed anyone who can’t be bothered to charge the unit after each use. I have noticed a reduction in the data recording options though and wonder if this has gone someway to improving the battery life. With the 305 you could select the data recording option to every second or every 4 seconds with the “Smart Recording” option. With the 310XT the option has gone and now you only have smart recording. This isn’t really a problem for me although I do notice the charted data is a little less granular than it was in the 305 and it’s always nice to have the choice.

As with the Forerunner 405, the 310Xt is ANT enabled which means you get the automatic upload of workout data using the ANT stick and it means that the watch is compatible with assorted ANT devices such as cycle power meters. I don’t have one of these but I’m sure if you did, you’d be very happy with the enhancement. If you want to use the watch as your main cycle computer it is worth investing in the optional quick release kit, which is relatively cheap.

I’ve paired my unit with the ANT footpod that came with my Garmin FR60 but you could also pair it with the Adidas footpod that comes with the miCoach if you happen to have one. You can set the 310XT to use the footpod for distance measurements if you are running inside or on a treadmill or leave it set on GPS in which case the footpod will be used to measure cadence only.

I’ve been using mine mostly on the run and have noticed a few other improvements:

Physically the wrist unit is smaller and sleeker and is of course orange. It picks up GPS signals very quickly and seems to hold onto them, so despite running in wooded areas I haven’t noticed any spurious results on my map output. The unit is easier to use with less delving into menu systems required. For example if I want to switch from bike to run I just press and hold the mode button for about 3 seconds and it pops up the option to select the sport.

The multisport function has been improved as well. You can set up in advance the different stages of your race eg. Swim, T1, Bike 1, T2, Run and then when you press the lap button it automatically moves you into the next sport mode.

As with the 405 you can change the pace of your Virtual Partner on the fly. Press the up or down for a second and then you can slow the little stick man down long enough for you to be able to overtake him. Perfect, but perhaps shouldn’t be used too often.

A number of features are common to both the 305 and 310XT but I’ve noticed improvements to the “Back to Start” and the alert features.

If you want alerts you can choose to have sound or vibration or both. The vibration is particularly strong and sends ripples up your arm to ensure you don’t miss your lap times or interval notifications.

The Back to Start feature is very useful if you run on unfamiliar routes. It effectively lays out a bread crumb trail for you to retrace your steps with. When I used it the other weekend, I was trying to get back to my car which was who knows where. I’d gone a little bit around the houses and didn’t want to literally retrace my steps so I ignored the first turn off and headed back to an earlier point in the route. I was impressed to note that the watch forgave me and soon started picking up its directional instructions, buzzing at me when it was time to left or right. I don’t remember this being a feature of the 305.

So here’s my assessment.

Pro’s and Con’s

Pros
1. Small, pretty and new
2. Waterproof
3. Longer battery life – 20 hrs vs 10 hrs
4. Better GPS reception
5. ANT enabled which allows for wireless syncing, footpod pairing and power sensor compatibility
6. Back to start routing available – Included with 305 but not 405

Cons
1. Not really a swim watch – it still needs to sit in the swim cap
2. A lot more expensive than the 305 which currently retails at amazon for less than £140: Garmin Forerunner 305 with Heart Rate Monitor

I’ve got a lot of pro’s there but then I like shiny new things and I didn’t have to pay for it. I have to say though that I am a bit disappointed about the swim functionality, I can see that it’s a tricky concept to engineer but I’m paying a lot for it over and above the price of the 305.

If you are a cyclist and want to use the power meter features then I think you would be happy with the 310XT, if you are a regular swimmer you may settle for the safety aspect of having a waterproof item even if you do have to wear it in your swim cap.

If you are a runner and don’t have need to record workouts in excess of 10 hours, I think you may want to take advantage of the reduction in price of the Forerunner 305 and spend the money you save on a swanky pair of Vibram Five Fingers or some such.

The Garmin Forerunner 310XT with Heart Rate Monitor currently retails at Amazon for just under £265.

World Rubber Crisis

Wiley Coyote

OGB may well have left London in search of science but he hasn’t stopped harassing me. The last email I got from him went along the lines of “how do you fancy doing a 10k race in Cardiff?”

Cardiff? That’s in a whole different country, why would you bother?

He obviously thinks I’ve gone soft and will sign up for any old event, I did afterall allow myself be bullied into the “Great North Swim“. Yup, I did say SWIM.
It’s apparently the first mass participation swim event ever, styled by the organisers of the Great North Run, and involves thousands of folk jumping into Lake Windermere and trying to swim over each other to reach the other side – a mere 1 mile away.

Sounds like great fun if you don’t drown.

Wiley Coyote

One minor problem with this event is that it requires a wetsuit. Not surprisingly there is a huge shortage of off the peg wetsuits in my size so I’ve had to go down the made-to-measure path. How scary is that?
I’ve just gone through the measuring process and sent the figures off to Snugg for verification, I can see them now with calculators in hand, trying to determine if they possess that much rubber.

I’m not looking forward to the receipt of this item, it will require me to come face to face with my excesses. This suit will presumably be the size of a rolled flat me, where the hell am I going to store it?

What’s more, I can’t spend 200 quid on an outfit for 1 event. This is going to be the start of numerous wetsuit donning activities, OGB is just going to have to invest in a bike, I see triathlons ahead.

Gyro 10k

Triathlon World Championships Hamburg

Isn’t it lovely when the powers that be decide to organise a running event slap bang on your doorstep? I was still luxiariating in my bubble bath as registration was opening, which has got to beat bouncing up and down with a fitness first instructor as a way to warm up…… mmmm let me see….. aerobics or radox muscle soak?

The start of the race was tucked away across Barnes Bridge in the well hidden Civil Service sports club. I arrived and immediately started worrying about my inevitable back of the pack placing. This was a small race, maybe 240 which doesn’t bode well for company in the longer distance races, not that I’m fussed about being last as such, but I would rather not finish 30 mins after the rest of the pack.

Gyro 10k

So, I started the race bringing up the rear and held onto that coveted spot right the way to first km marker where our first run/walker showed her strategy. I passed her, which immediately triggered a 10 second comeback, she passed me and stopped to walk again less than 5 metres in front of me, so I passed her again, she put on a little spurt and fell back to a walk about 4 metres in front of me. Now, I have nothing against run/walk as a race strategy but it does wind me up quite a bit to be someone’s repeated trigger, can’t you use a tree or a lamppost? I was wondering if I could possibly handle this too and froing for the next 9km but she never made another comeback after the 5th passing. The first psychological battle was won but now I had to worry that she’d actually quit the race, she can’t quit or I’ll be back to last place again!

I had an atrocious run last night, a planned 5k route that degenerated into a 1k run and 2.5k sulky walk, so I wasn’t sure what to hope for today. I set my garmin virtual partner for a 75 min target but at every check I seemed to be gaining distance on my plan. It took me about 10 mins of mental arithmetic to work out that I was actually on target for time close to my pb – 72 mins and something. I couldn’t remember what that something part was though and anyway I had my garmin set up so that I couldn’t read the seconds after it ticked past the hour.

In the latter half of the run I managed to pass a few more runners who had dropped right off their original pace and I crossed the line in 72 mins and something, I just had to wait for the official results to see if a pb was recorded.

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Triathlon World Championships Hamburg

It was a pretty good event, all the entry fee went towards Sport Aid, the t-shirt wasn’t too bad and they had a bbq at the end – a bbq with beer no less. Talking of beer, I caught the highlights of the world championship triathlon held in Hamburg, did anyone else see the huge glasses of beer the podium winners were given? There must have been about 10 yards of ale in those buckets.

Oh yeah, and they had chip timing, with the results piped down the phone line within 2hrs of finishing.
Official time: 1:12:23
11 flippin secs short of my pb and I could have had those 11 seconds if I’d been a bit more organised.

SportsAid Gyro 10k at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Travel Community

GNR Weekly summary Wk 7/10

Mon: nowt
Tue: nowt
Wed: 42 km bike
Thur: 42 km bike
Fri: 5 km run
Sat: 3.5 km run/walk disaster
Sun: 10 km run (race)

BPTT Update for 19th May

Front of pack

Not much to report on the running front this week, it’s all been quite a struggle. Deege explains the runners eternal battle with the mind body dichotomy better than I ever could. I’m afraid to say that while Deege managed to win her battle, I just bailed. Out on my long run my body started grumbling and managed to convince me that it was only 2 km away from self-destruction. Strangely, that happened to be the exact distance between my disintegrating body and my front door, so thats where I took it. Long run turned into the shortest run this year – pants!

I went to Bushy Park yesterday but I didn’t even manage a run there. It was my turn for volunteering. Great job that, I can imagine it catching on, and I got an event t-shirt for my new page. It’s quite good fun watching sweaty, staggering blokes struggling to remember their names as they come to register their finishing positions.

Front of pack

It’s also quite impressive to watch the start from the front, I thought I was going to get gathered up in the stampede and carried to a new pb along with my laptop. I might try plonking myself at the front next time I run and see how far I get before I actually have to start running.

Photo by Rodiogirl

So a frail running week but I have been building back up with the cycling, managed 100 k this weekend. After BPTT my intention was to conduct a reccy of the Thames Turbo Triathlon bike route. I must have taken the wrong exit out of the park as it took me 6 k to find the start at Hampton Outdoor pool. I never manage to find that place I think they shift it each time I visit, which wouldn’t be too much trouble at all.

Great route, jolly scenic and all that, just need to remember to turn left as you pass the Southwark and Vauxhall waterworks. I think thats what its called – crazy name considering its in Sunbury.

ThamesTurboReccy

I cut the route a bit short as I was caught short and I was miles from home. I think I’ll try and get the full route sorted next weekend, if I can find the pool a bit sooner.

Here’s the official route map, nicked from the Thames Turbo race pack. Still two more left this season I think.

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Event T-Shirts

Great Trail Challenge T-Shirt

Quilt

At the special request of Jogblog who always manages to pick great t-shirts with running events tagged on as a bonus, I have set up my own homage to the tatty duster material I get landed with.

Maybe when I get a whole stack of them I might go really nerdy and have them turned into a special little quilt. If you fancy making your own you can get the instructions here.

Ever worried about the right time to wear your race t-shirt? Check here for the definitive guide to race t-shirt wearing etiquette.

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17/06/12 Great Trail Challenge

A fabulous, tough challenge based over either 10k, half or full marathon distances. I completed the half marathon and only just lived to tell the tale.

Given that it was organised by the same folk as the Great North Run I was surprised at how few competitors attended in its first showing. I’m sure the ranks will swell for next year now that word has got out.

This isn’t an easy event by any means, much of it wasn’t runnable unless you have the genetics of a mountain goat but it provides a challenge at least as tough as the likes of hellrunner and Grim 8 etc.

Race report for the Great Trail Challenge held in Keswick.

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19/09/10 Great North Run 2010

If you are only going to do one race a year it may as well be one of the Great series and the Great North Run is clearly the best of the lot.

2010 marked the 30th anniversary of the event and it must have been the first year in it’s history that it’s actually rained.

Rain suits me though, keeps me cool, calm and collected. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to speed me up.

The t-shirt is bright blue this year – possibly described as royal blue?

Race report here.

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14/09/09 Great North Swim 2009

Great North Swim T-shirt 2009

So I braved this event for the 2nd year running and enjoyed it just a smidgeon more I think.

The weather was great, the organisation was much improved and the whole event somehow managed to double in size without feeling too chaotic. Who would have thought that there were more than 4500 wetsuit owners in the country?

The t-shirt isn’t as flash as last year, grey marl always looks a bit cheap I think but this year they offered it in different sizes which has got to appeal to the masses.

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21/06/09 London to Brighton 2009

London to Brighton t-shirt

This t-shirt was actually an optional extra so the whole event proved to be a bit pricey but then it was a proper charity event so I shouldn’t whinge too much. I’m rather fond of red and this is a quality, classy number.

Like the “Great Run” folks, it seems that having picked a colour that works they tend to stick to it. I saw a number of earlier editions of the London to Brighton event tops and they were all red and of a very similar design. Gives me a good excuse not to bother with the event again though.

Been there, done it, got the t-shirt.

Enough said.
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05/10/08 Great North Run 2008

Great North Run 2008

All the Great Run t-shirts are worthy of the name.

I love these events and the t-shirts are designed to be worn with pride. I’ve got quite a few of them now though and I wouldn’t mind if they switched to a new colour next year, much as I like the blue-grey tone a bit of variety can’t go amiss.

Race report here.

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13/09/08 Great North Swim 2008

Great North Swim 2008

This was the first swim event in the Great “run”/ swim series. Apparently they have more planned for 2009.

Race report over here.

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06/12/08 British London 5k

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I have a fairly strong recollection of spending New Years Eve, getting slightly drunk and entering every race on the UK running calendar, strangely though, I manage to get all the way to July before taking part in the first race of 2008. After a slack 6 months it is not too surprising that this race proved to be exceptionally slow for me.

The British London 5k is the baby sister of the 10k, it starts at 8:30 so that all the runners have finished and cleared off the route by the time the 10k’ers start at 10:30. The route takes in the embankment and parliament square and includes the patriotic brass bands that the event is known for. Not quite as much public support for this event as the 10k but still fun and the queues are much more manageable.

Race report over here.

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01/12/07 Grim 8

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Nice T-shirt eh?
Race report over here.

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04/11/07 Loseley Park 10k

Loseley Park 10k T-shirt

A very safe t-shirt for quite an unsafe race. Definite ankle spraining opportunities in this event but thats what you get with cross country events. That and a lot of mud.

Great weather, fine and dandy course, lovely company, what more could you ask for in an event? I think it was pretty cheap too so no complaints with the t-shirt.

Race report here.

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30/09/07 BUPA Great North Run

Finishers T-Shirt

Here’s a t-shirt designed to be warn the next day, either for bragging rights or to explain why you are hobbling off the tube like an incontinent 80 year old. Tis made from thick, good quality cotton and is a kind of bluish grey, the photo suggests it is more blue than grey but my eyes say the opposite. It’s a very popular t-shirt as well, Shakti has already tried to nab it from me but I shall just refer her to the rules of race t-shirt ownership – see no 10.

Brilliant, brilliant, event. If you can be at all bothered to travel all the way up North for a run I would definitely recommend this. I can’t imagine another race making you feel so warm and gooey inside. Mind you, if you are a super duper good runner aiming for a sub 1:30 pb you might not like all the sideline festivities designed to hold you back a bit. This is one for the smiley happy runners.

GNR Running Vest

I’ll be doing it next year but might break the bank by staying over on saturday and sunday night, I think it would be a bonus to miss the exodus out of South Shields.

And for completeness, here is the running vest I completed the event in. It was provided by my charity: Wheelpower. Must say those iron-on letters worked an absolute treat as the supporters cheered me on by name.

Race report over here.

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02/09/07 Sports Aid Gyro 10 km

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Just a fruits of loom white cotton number but its fairly thick cotton and tasteful enough to wear without a running excuse. I’m showing the back of shirt here, the front is fairly minimalist, sporting an open font G in the bottom corner.

They had womens specific t-shirts as well, which had an interesting cut, but I decided my belly button is best left covered and so opted for the shapeless blokes version.

Good event this, it’s held on my doorstep which awards it multiple bonus points. The route is along the river between Chiswick and Hammersmith bridges and finishes at the civil service sports club which laid on a bbq for and an open bar – yowser!

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12/08/07 SheRunsHeRuns Bluewater 10 km

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This is a special t-shirt because its a proper running shirt – real techy fabric and everything. It’s unusual for race organisers to provide commerative t-shirts that you’d actually want to run in.

My photo isn’t quite doing justice to its full glory. I entered the race late so had to pick it up on the morning of the event. As everyone else was wearing the little peachy red number, I had to whip mine on quick or risk being a pariah for the whole run. This shot was taken post race and is slightly marred by the pint or so of sweat it absorbed during the morning. Nice eh?

I understand the colour runs in the wash too, so hold it back til you have a full load of peachy red clobber.

Race report is here.

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15/07/07 Brighton & Hove Running Sisters – Trailblazers

trailblazer tshirt

Women only this one.

A fairly tough but rewarding run around the South Downs with pretty much an equal amount of ups and downs. The route is well marked with either painted arrows or friendly marshals. This year they organised a walk at the same time as the run which is good for non running mates but there wasn’t a huge turn out – it was positively received nontheless.

Here is the course t-shirt, I didn’t actually get one but Shakti who beat me home did. Not sure what the criteria is for getting one but maybe you have to be just a bit faster than me. The entry was £15 I think so not too bad with or without the t-shirt. Mind you I do like the t-shirt, I think the blue panted lady has a striking resemblance to my own running self.

Race report

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Every Saturday 9am – Bushy Park 5k Time Trial

BPTT T-Shirt

This is my new favourite t-shirt!

BPTT has got to be the best thing in West London as far as running is concerned, early risers are welcomed every week, rain or shine, including xmas day. The event is FREE! and well organised and provides accurate, timely race results and stats via the event website.

The time trail is maintained by volunteers and actively encourages all comers with its friendly and supportive atmosphere. Set your alarm and come along.

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July 1st 2007 – British London 10k

British 10k London Run

I haven’t discovered time travel yet but as the t-shirt arrived this morning and because its the best duster I have so far I thought I’d include it.

Race report will follow but expect it to be a tale of woe, it is on record as being one of the worst organised races in history, second only to the shambolic Great Escape run.

Nice t-shirt though and it has a back:

British 10k London Run - back

**UPDATE**

I’ve now done the race and although it had a few organisational issues at either end of the run, I would really recommend you have a go at this one. It is such a joy to run along this central London route with the roads closed off and supporters lining the sides. It gave me a feel for what the London marathon would be like.

Race Report
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May 13th 2007 – Stratford Sprint Triathlon

Not sure how I feel about this t-shirt but it was a fantastic event, brilliantly organised and as a result I will not hear a bad word said about this pink work of art.

Stratford 220 Sprint Triathlon

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March 25th 2007 – The Great Escape

The Great Escape

Absolute pants! That goes for the run and the tatty bit of cloth I swapped for twenty two of my British pounds.

Avoid.

Boy am I bitter about this one!

Race report.

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October 9th 2006 – Nike Run London – North vs South

My first running event. I remember her fondly. I could gush about its wonders or you could go and read the race report.

Nike Run London

The t-shirt was a strange one. Its the only shirt thus far that could be classified as a sports top. It did use technical fabric in the construction, just not very much of it. It had to be worn for the run and it pulled in an alltogether unflattering fashion. It was also completely transparent which meant I had to run with another shirt underneath and therefore nearly collapsed with heat exhaustion.

Still, it all looked very nice in the photos and I still see people running in theirs almost a year later.

As you can see on the back it says “We South” and we won by the way!
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Stratford Sprint Tri – Results

The official results are up now, so my gadget catastrophe didn’t matter too much in the end.

I’m not familiar with the way triathlon results are recorded but I’m assuming they include the transition time immediately after each event. It’s quite an achievement to capture everyones stage results without the use of the timing chips, but then the organisation for the whole event was exemplary. Certainly one to recommend!

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Chuckles Like Muttley

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Stratford 220 Sprint Triathlon
400 metre Swim – 23 kilometre Cycle – 5 kilometre run

Did I give the impression I was apprehensive about this tri-affa-lon thingy?

‘Twas a piece of cake and an absolute buzz to boot! My legs are killing me but I have had such a great day and I didn’t have to strip off in public once! I’ve been beaming all day.

I really didn’t think I was going to make it. My mum was suggesting I ought to throw a sickie and I was seriously tempted! Then I hired a Streetcar which hadn’t been filled with petrol and found myself coasting down the M40 in dire need of a petrol station – the car literally conked out as I pulled up at the pump. I had a bit of moral support though as Shakti decided to come along with me and that really does make all the difference, along with all the positive messages sent my way via the blogosphere – thanks so much folks!

In the end I arrived safely in Stratford but I was still near shaking with fear as I allowed someone to scrawl some number on assorted parts of my body. I think this number will have to become part of my life now, it is practically tattooed into my flesh! Still, I’m prepared to live with it, I felt such a pro walking out of that hall with my arm suitably tagged.

I didn’t actually get round to drawing up a transition list but I did stay awake til 3.30am “visualising” and the result of this was pure exhaustion when my alarm went off at 5.30 but a hassle free transition – you takes your choices.

I snook off to the start of the swim in my tracky bottoms and t-shirt and it was here that life started getting a bit more comfortable for me. Everyone in the 59 min estimate zone was terrified. There were even tales of people vomiting. Nothing like a bit of terror to make people chatty and nothing like other peoples fear and paralysis to make me feel cool, calm and collected!

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The swim went like a dream, never mind 59 mins – when I popped out of the other end my declared time was 7 mins and something. Woohoo! Great start and now on to the bit I was looking forward to.

It was raining, but as an all weather commuter I think this acts in my favour. I’m also a seriously competitive biker! I had a blast but in the end I had a bit of a too and fro with a woman who finally got the better of me. You can’t draft in triathlon so you either have to overtake or drop right back, a shame as I think we were well matched for a bit of mutual support. I finished in just under 50 mins, I think. The approximate times are due to my complete incompetence with todays gadget of choice, the polar RS800SD. I’m hoping that the 220 guys are going to release official times soon so that I can actually see how I did against the pack.

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The run was slow and seriously slippy but at least it was flat and so didn’t cause my knee any bother. I found it difficult to get in my stride, my hamstrings were really tense after the bike slog. I’m used to running after riding but maybe the intensity and distance made all the difference, it all felt quite peculiar. There was a great atmosphere on the run, the double loop meant you passed the same people at least twice and there was plenty of positive banter flowing. The marshalls were great too.

My time for the run was around 35 mins so now I just need to find out the overall time to get an idea of how efficient the transitions were.

I finished before the worst of the weather hit but those starting after me had a terrible time of it. Rodeogirl set sail through an absolute torrent that didn’t let up til it was all over. Didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirit though and it made those hot showers at the end so much more delightful.

Just need to book myself into the next one now!

Cold Cold Feet

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I’m having a fairly serious anxiety moment. I always get cold feet during the build up to a race event but this weekends triathlon is a whole new kettle of panic and paranoia.

A typical running event will see me pitching up in full running attire and in a state of planned dehydration so I’m not tempted to use the stinking portaloos. All I need to do then is concentrate on avoiding the forced team bonding/stretching exercises for half an hour, until the whistle/gun/man lets rip and all I have to do is plod forward til its all over and I can go home.

With this triathlon thingy, the worries just don’t seem to stop. First thing I’ve got to concern myself about is how to get there. When the whole Stratford triathlon joy was first mooted I felt as if I was signing up for a little jaunt across to East London. Not a 100 mile expedition towards the Stratford of Shakespeare fame. I suppose I can cope with this though, at least it gives me an excuse to pull out the nicely spoken GPS lady.

overloaded

When I get there I have to register and pin my number to both front and back of my running shirt but I’m gonna be pushing my bike and carrying about 30 different outfits and bottles and pumps and puncture repair kits and rucksacs and towells and as yet undetermined stuff cos I can’t park my bike up until 30 mins before the start of the swim. Its going to be a a complete baggage disaster zone.

Next is the worst bit. I get to my racking area and allow all the rucksacs and trammel to spew out onto the floor around me. After frantically trying to organise all the junk into some kind of prescribed T1/T2 efficiency combo I have to get prepared for the swim. So I’ve travelled down in my costume so it can’t be so bad but do I really have to strip off and parade around in my swim wear for 30 mins????? I can manage 30 secs I think, but no way can I manage this sort of exposure for 30 mins.

I made a bit of a mess of my entry as well. You had to put in your estimated swim time for 400m. Not knowing whether I could swim a length or how long a length was, I didn’t have a flippin clue. I tried entering my time as SLOW hoping that it would mean something to the organisers but it wasn’t accepted. I then opted for the largest number it would accept, this was 59:99 mins. I have since discovered that 12 mins is slow but 59 mins would take a monumental effort. This number was also the decider in your race starting position, with all the slowies going out first.

naked biker

So it’s fair to say that I am not looking forward to Sunday.

I am going to have to stand half naked in public for 30 mins before jumping into an empty pool as all the other swimmers will be jumping in at least 47 minutes after me. Either that or I’ll be behind a bunch of swimmers who will actually take 59 mins to do 12 laps and I’ll be dead of hypothermia before I get to the good bit.

Can I go home yet?

Run, bike, swim

Sundays now seem to be the day for upside down triathlons. This morning I nipped out for a short run around Chswick and Barnes Bridge to check out the aftermath of the boat race.

Boat Race 3

Gorgeous morning, the river seemed to be teeming with kayaks for a change.

After a longish transition involving the production of potato and gherkin salad and relaxation in a luxurious bath I headed out with the Stumpjumper only to return to the house a few minutes later to collect the forgotten helmet. I see a disqualification heading my way if I don’t sort out this mental block before Stratford. Bounced around Richmond Park for a bit before arriving at Hampton pool.

I am beginning to think that swimming is never going to be my thing. I haven’t really read any more of the total immersion book so I quickly flicked to chapter 8 (the drills section) while I was in the bath this morning, that just scared me so then I started flicking through in search of breathing tips. I saw a few references to yogic breathing which I know about but have never really tried under water. Book closed – non the wiser.

Started off in the pool “pushing the buoy”, then remembered to breath. Started the next length focusing on breathing. Breathing every third 3rd arm flap seems manageable but while I’m in this routine I seem to forget about pushing the chest down. Revert to pushing chest down then immediately stop breathing again. Bob up to the top gasping for oxygen after about 12 arm flaps. Finaly fall back into the ever so slow, vertical, head shaking, bilateral breathing technique that I started with before I wasted cash on umpteen books and special vacuum sealing goggles.

Got out of pool, devoured delicious potato salad and started smiling again.

I Float

I took advantage of my extra light hour this evening and cycled down to Pools in the Park for a little paddle.

Seems I can still remember how to float but forward progress is slow and quite painful actually. The front of my ankle hurts after a few lengths so I had to give up on the leg kick and just tickle my way forward with the arms. My lower back hurts as well but that’ll be because I’m bent in the middle trying to keep my head in the breathing zone.

I did 20 leisurely lengths in about 20 mins so that suggests my predicted time of 40 mins for 400m was a little pessimistic. If I can suss out how to handle the head in the water breathing I should improve matters a little.

I’ve been thinking about triathlon logistics recently, particulalry the transition stage. I reckon I could lose an hour at T1 and T2 if todays attempt to leave the house was anything to go by. I had to nip in and out twice to collect missing items from rucksac, like money and bra. I was half way down the road when I realised I’d forgotten my helmet. At the pool I was in my costume before I discovered I needed to purchase a token to retrieve the key from the locker so I had to get dressed again and go back out to the reception.  Dizzy ***!