(Belated) Christmas Biathlon!

Hawaii 149 Sunday I raced in a local “biathlon” put on by the Waikiki Swim Club which consisted of a 5k run followed by a 1k swim. This “Christmas Biathlon” was supposed to be held last month, but lucky for me they had to postpone it until I was here on the island and ready to race. These local community events are really fun, and a great way to reconnect with other athletes in the area. Equal in enjoyment for me, however, is the ability to bring humor to a race where the primary goal is to have fun.

[Above: Can you guess which one’s me?]

So, I wore a pink Splish suit with big bubbly eyes on the front and my K-Swiss K’Ruuz. I figured nobody wanted to lose to a guy in a little pink suit, imageand with my K’Ruuz it would be pretty hard to beat me. One guy, Brandon Laan (6th at the Honolulu Marathon this year!), did outrun me, however, and the swimmer of his relay was Bill Goding (we used to duke it out at swim practice a few nights a week). They beat me, but nobody else did!

[From left: Todd Iacovelli, Stefan Reinke, Ben Collins, Bill Goding Brandon Laan]

From the gun I followed the lead of Todd Iacovelli and Brandon, both very good local runners. I did my best to stay on their heels, and when Brandon put in a surge at mile 1 my legs shouted at me for not having done any speed training since early November. Brandon gained a few meters on us and I pulled ahead of Todd to try to close the gap. I didn’t see Todd again, and about the time I got back in Brandon’s draft he surged again, creating a 20 second gap over the next few minutes, which remained for the rest of the run race.

I crossed the timing mat at the start of the swim in 15 minutes 50 seconds – 23 seconds after Brandon tagged Bill to start the swim. Jumping into the water, I felt like an old rubber tire trying to swim. Running and swimming are different muscle groups, so I didn’t realize how much of an affect one would have on the other. Somehow in triathlon there’s not so obvious a connection between swimming fast and running fast. It took me a long time to start swimming smoothly, my tummy felt like it was dragging on the bottom, my arms couldn’t seem pull any water, and every wave knocked me around like a turd in a toilet bowl (sorry, for some reason that was the first image that came to mind).

Coming back into the finish I finally started feeling a bit stronger. Bill was LONG gone, but my legs were able to kick again, and my arms were able to pull again, so I kicked and pulled as hard as I could and when the bottom came up to meet me I stood up to hear my fans shouting and telling  me to go away. Apparently, in the pre-race briefing when they said, “keep all the buoys on your  right” they meant “keep the two turn buoys on your right, and the final buoy on your left”. So I went back out and swam around the buoy, I lost very little time and it didn’t make a difference at all in the outcome of the race. After a few Hawaii 125more people went to the wrong side, however, they sent some volunteers out to direct the swimmers to the other side. All was well.

[Left: Bob Havrilak drove me to the race and took pictures. As you can see, I’m more worried about what’s going on in the pre-race briefing than looking at the shutter. Pictured is Me, Courtenay, Sarah, and Than (Courtenay’s sister and brother)]

Courtenay raced as well, and we were both the first individuals of our respective genders. Go us, right?

On January 17th is a the second race in this 3-race series. Same course, so it would be an excellent way to judge improvement, or get in on the fun if you missed it the first time around. Check out the WSC website (linked above) for entry info.

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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