Nobody told me about the mucus.

The practice run triathlon. In the car I was nervous, but I managed to talk myself off the ledge within about 3km, and part of that was at 100km/h. I came to the conclusion that there was no reason to be nervous, as the only thing I was concerned about was the swim, and I could manage (with rest and effort) about 500 metres, and I only had to do 150 on the day.

Well, we rode down to City Beach to see some fairly rough sea. The wind at that point I now see was gusting to 30km/h from the south south west (offshore), which does explain a lot. We all laid our bikes down on the grass and set up a bit of a transition area, with shoes and helmets etc carefully laid out. I had decided at the last minute to do the whole thing in my swimsuit, so I had that on under everything else, and just stripped off my knicks and jersey.

We went down to the water, and the large waves just got larger as I got closer. What was at chest level got to be about a foot above my head when in the water, so it wasn’t really a surprise when I got dumped by a wave almost immediately. I panicked for a second, then calmed down and pushed myself up to the surface. To see another wave come and dump me again. Then I just got annoyed.

I struggled through about 2 more dumpings, but I would duck into the waves and felt more confident about my survival. The distance we had to swim was negligible but noticeable. Last week at swim training we’d had to practice swimming with our heads above water, facing forward. I was annoyed to realise that I could manage part of my nose out of the water and that was about it. In the sea it’s somehow different. Perhaps buoyancy is different in salt water? Either way, I was water polo freestyling my way down the coast, and spotted where I had to get out.

I think that the tide helps take you along, which is rather nice of it, considering that it also wants to drown you. I perhaps managed about 10 to 15 strokes before I had to get out again. I quite like that part. What I wasn’t so pleased about was the sheer quantity of mucus I managed to produce. It was like the sea was one large saline solution rinse for my sinuses – an enormous neti pot, if you will. My God.

I dragged myself out of the surf as the last swimmer (not a surprise, and something that I have sort of mentally prepared myself for for next week at the actual triathlon), and didn’t bother running up the beach to the transition area. I just walked up, then ran from the start of the paving and grassed area. I grabbed my glasses and helmet. I used a plain water bottle to rinse off my feet, and towelled them off a bit. I pulled on socks and bike shoes. I was about to grab my bike but then I grabbed the towel again, wiped my nose, then grabbed the bike. I had to run to the ‘mounting line’, then pedal off. I leapt on, and when I hit the straight I was managing about 28km/h, which I was quite pleased with into a headwind.

At the turnaround, I went back up the street, then pulled into the ‘dismounting line’, ran with my bike to my spot in the transition area, ditched the bike, helmet and bike shoes, pulled on my trainers, gave my nose another wipe and grabbed a bottle and went to the run.

Now for the last few run sessions the physio has had me do a home taping job beforehand on my legs. Perhaps it has worked, perhaps it is a placebo, but I’ve done it anyway. Today I forgot to tape my legs, and I ran on hard surface for about 1.5km without any ill effects, so I was really happy about that.

When the run finished we all regrouped at the transition area, rode back to the stadium and to our cars. I had packed a change of clothes so I went into the stadium toilets to change out of my swim suit and into some tracksuit pants and a tshirt. Well, I’d like to apologise to the stadium cleaners for the sand and seaweed (!) that fell out of my swim suit. I had no idea that half of City Beach was in my bathers, but I’m not sure that I could have done anything else.

Despite my swim being somewhat sub-optimal, I feel quite positive about the whole thing. Bring on next Sunday, I say.

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