Today I did my first aquathon race this year (as the previous race at Repulse Bay was weathered out), which was 3 years after I started doing aquathons and the first race since I joined Tritons.
The race was at Tai Po Waterfront Park, the format was swim 1.5 km (3 loops of 500 m) then run 6 km (3 loops of 2 km). The swim:run ratio was 1:4, which I consider the perfect ratio, i.e. for an athlete with similar swim / run level, both legs should be completed in similar times, without bias to swimmers / runners.
I also did the aquathons at the same place in 2016 and 2017, but I only did the short distance race (swim 0.5 km / run 4 km) in those two years, because at that time I felt that running 6 km was too far for me, especially the 2016 race was my first aquathon race in my life (I was not willing to run more than 5 km at that time, and I only did my first 10 km running race late 2017).
Today’s temperature was 27°C in both air and sea, and the sea was as calm as a lake. There was no wind, no wave and no current. My race target was 61 minutes for the whole race, including 30 minutes for the swim, 1 minute for the transition, and 30 minutes for the run. My previous race times were about 33 and a half minutes in 2 earlier 1.5 km OWS races this year in January and May, and 48 and a half minutes in a 10 km run in early 2018.
The start was a water start, and the loop was a rectangle of 200 m x 50 m. The initial 200 m was brutal, I couldn’t control my own speed inside the washing machine otherwise I would be swam over, kicked and stretched. To make the matter worse, some people were swimming breaststroke at a similar speed to me that I needed to stay away to avoid being kicked, especially I used goggles in this race (being kicked into the face with goggles on would be disaster), even after the initial leg, I still had a lot of body contacts, and I was still seeing people swimming breaststroke along me at the same speed that I needed to avoid. Into the third 500 m lap, I eventually fell behind the pack and I started to get tired in my arms, and by the last buoy marking 25 m to the finish, I heard the dreaded starting horn for the next wave, 30 minutes after mine, which meant I was already over 30 minutes. I exited the water and climbed the pier steps at 00:30:47.
I decided to put on my socks in T1 for the run because the run was long and I would like to avoid chafing under my feet. Therefore my T1 time was 00:01:06, more than 00:00:46 and 00:00:50 in 2016 and 2017 respectively where I didn’t wear socks.
When I exited T1 and started the run, I got cramps in both legs, which slowed me down a lot and I needed more than 6 minutes to in my first km. Only after that I could run normally, but I still couldn’t get myself up to my target pace 5 minutes / km, and needed around 5 minutes and 15 seconds between each turn which was 1 km apart. My final run result for 6 km was 00:33:07, and the result for the whole race was 01:05:01, about 4 minutes off my target.
The ranking I got was 73 / 209 (35%) for the whole race, 63 / 209 (30%) for the swim, and 109 / 209 (52%) for the run. This was my best race I’ve ever done in my 3 years of doing aquathon in terms of percentile ranking, and the swim leg was the best also. However, the run leg was not good, when compared to 31% percentile ranking in September 2016 race at Tseung Kwan O and 33% – 43% percentile ranking November last year at Golden Beach (there were 2 run legs in that race). This was probably because I trained a lot running back in 2016, but I had no longer trained any running since July 2018 and did a lot of swim training afterwards (I started serious swim training in October 2018 and did a marathon swimming last month). As I was expecting similar times in my swim and run, I think I need to resume my run training again. (I used 1:4 ratio as my guideline, which means I should be able to swim 1/4 of the distance I run in the same time. In previous year I couldn’t swim this ratio so I focused on my swim training, but today’s result was reversed, which meant I need to improve my run to get the ratio right again) My serious swim training in the past year had really paid off, and I hope that I can continue to improve afterwards.