Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Road To Putrajaya 70.3 2015—The Dive-In

In a few days' time, I'll be racing the Putrajaya 70.3, a half Ironman distance triathlon which shall include a 1.9km swim, 90km bike, and 21km run—in that order. I feel that I'm lack of training because I've only resumed swimming and cycling in March, after I recovered from a broken arm last December. To be honest, I'm quite confident that I can finish the race well within the cutoff time, barring any problems with my bike.

Truth be told, I'm not very good in swimming and cycling. I consider myself an average runner and able to handle up to the marathon distance (42km) fairly well. However, the run leg in the triathlon comes at the end, and if one's swim and bike isn't very good, he is bound to spend a lot of energy in those two legs, and then arrive at the start of the run leg exhausted. By then, it really doesn't matter how good a runner one is; if he is exhausted, he is not gonna run very well. As a matter of fact, maybe he will walk a fair bit. 

So when I embarked on serious training for the Putrajaya 70.3 in early March, I gave priority to swimming and cycling, but a few weeks is just not enough.

Between the two disciplines that I'm weak at, i.e. swimming and cycling, I'm more concerned about the swim. In fact, most new triathletes are concerned about the swim; which is quite an irony, really. You see, the swim is the shortest discipline in the triathlon, but based on statistics the majority of deaths in triathlon races happens in the swim. This is true even for the elite category.

My worry about the swim leg is not because I think I'm gonna drown. I reckon that the worst that can happen to me is maybe I would swallow a few gallons of water, but drowning is far-fetched. I don't come from a swimming background, and the kind of "swimming" that I know is not the best for racing the triathlon. I've never really had a coach; as a boy, I merely tried "swimming", starting with the dog-paddling thingy, and gradually progressed to the breaststrokes, which I realised later on wasn't really the right way of doing the breaststrokes anyway. Much later, I went on to learn the freestyle, though again doing it all the wrong way!

However, in the months before I broke my arm last December, I've been working on my freestyle, and am now quite confident to swim at least 50%, if not more, of the 1.9km in Putrajaya with the freestyle. That should help in saving my legs for the bike, and then the run. Of course it would be even better if I can swim freestyle all the way, but I guess this is as good as it gets for Putrajaya. I shall continue working on my freestyle, so that I can go freestyle all the way at IMWA in December. 

I was quite happy with the progress in my swim, until yesterday, when I was chatting with a friend about the Putrajaya 70.3. I was told that the start of the swim leg would be a "dive-in". I'm still having issues with open water swim (I'm swimming in the pool all the time), and sighting etc, and then now the "dive-in" is thrown in at the last minute!

So off I went to the pool this evening to do something about sighting and the dive-in. As for sighting, I would rate my current skill perhaps at 50%. I can dive into the water without any fear of drowning or swallowing water, but after a few tries this evening, I still can't figure out how to prevent my goggles from getting dislodged every time I enter the water.

Therefore, I'm hoping that some of you who're good swimmers might give me some tips on how to do the dive-in right, so that I can pretend to be a decent swimmer in Putrajaya this Sunday? Failing which, I will have to shamefully jump into the water legs first—a very un-elegant way to start the race. But I'd rather start the swim like a bloody fool, than risk dislodging my goggles, and then waste time adjusting it into place.

I'd really appreciate your tips please...

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