Round one of the Australian Junior Triathlon Series (AJTS) – Runaway Bay Super Sprint Race Weekend Report
It was going to be a fast and furious weekend to accumulate points, in short, sharp, sprint races. I was excited, but a little bit nervous, as it was my first ever competition under super sprint race conditions over a two day period. These events primarily cater for triathlete’s that are short sprint racers (not me). The weekend Youth A & B consisted of 5 races different races: aquathlon, criterium, track run and two triathlons. Humid, hot conditions were forecast for the weekend. Racing was conducted mostly during the middle of the day; therefore, my plan to avoid dehydration was to hydrate with electrolytes and plenty of water from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep in preparation for the following day’s events.
My goal for the tough weekend of racing ahead was to finish in the top 10 overall
RACE RESULT - Overall for the weekend
6th Place ITU Youth B
Race 1 - AQUATHLON - 200m swim/1200m run:
This was my first race of the day so I was nervous, but at the same time looking forward to it. The only time to do a warm-up swim was before 9:45 am. I would have preferred to have warmed up prior to the race however with so many athletes and use of all lanes for the events meant I had to warm up 3hr prior to the first race which started at approx 12:10pm. This threw me a little as normally I would warm up ½ prior to an event; I felt I was going to go into the first event feeling stiff. For my swim warm up, I focused on my tumble turns as they always need work. I also swam laps to loosen the muscles and get a feel for the pool.
When the time came to do my run warm-up, I did 10 minutes of jogging and run drills to warm up the legs, then a few explosive sprints to fire up the legs ready for a hot race. I spent another 5-10 minutes of stretching. Since we had to do the swim warm up at 09:45 am, my only opinion of warming up my arms was to swing them around and stretch before my race start. For all my other races I completed a similar or near identical warm up.
I felt that I started strong; I dived in and quickly started to swim my hardest as I knew I am not the strongest swimmer. I was equal with everyone for the first 50m but after that, I held my pace as I watched all the other competitors start to speed up even more to get a small lead. I was losing seconds on my tumble turns. The lead swimmers did not have a sizeable lead and I thought I might be able to catch them on the run. I sprinted into transition and put on my Mizuno running shoes and on I quickly went to start the 1200m run. I felt confident in my run and started to go past competitors that were leading the swim and I managed to only catch a few competitors as it was only 1200m, I then sprinted to the line to finish 9th overall for my first race.
Result - 9th Place
Race 2 - CRITERIUM (Le Mans start) - 300m run/ 4km bike/ 300m run:
For the criterium I wanted to make the front pack. The event started with a Le Mans Start of a 300m run on the running track into transition. I knew I would have to sprint as hard as I could to make the font pack. After the first 100m of the run, I had a quick look around to see where I was positioned. After looking around I realised I was nearly last at the fist corner then, I ramped the speed up even more. Then I started to make my way to the front. After leaving transition I made the front pack and worked together with the other competitors for the next 4km. Approaching the transition/dismount line I made sure I was in a good position to ensure I had a clear run off the bike ready for the final sprint run to the finish line.
My transition was a little slow, as my bike was position up against the rail and there was not a lot of room to get my bike in. After leaving transition I knew I had to go hard. On the final straight it was a sprint finish for third and fourth. As we were nearing the line I leant forward to try and get in front, which worked as a photo shows my body leaning forward and taking third place. After the race I went off a nice easy jog ready for the 800m track run, which I knew I needed to try to finish in the top 8, to get some much-needed points. I knew this was going to be hard as I am not a short distance runner.
Result - 3rd Place
Race 3 - RUN - 800m Track Run:
The gun went; I had a terrible start and was caught up in a fall shortly after starting. I worked hard around the first turn to pull myself up into 10th. With one lap down and one to go, I tried to move up into the top 8 which was my goal. With 200m to run all I wanted to do was finish as my body just had nothing left from the previous racers. I was working hard and felt like I was going nowhere. I sprinted as hard as I could, coming in 8th place with a time of 2:32. That concluded my day. I then did a short recovery run and mentally knew I had to go into recovery mode ready for another day of tough racing.
Result - 8th Place
I woke nice and early ready for another day of racing. Today I was a little nervous but fairly confident that I was going to finish in the top ten and complete my goal. I was currently in 7th place and was already getting closer to finishing in the top 10. My next goal was to try and place even better and still complete my goal. I did the same warm up as I did yesterday for both races which consisted of a swim – stretch/laps, then practiced my starts, finishes and tumble turns. For my run - 10 minutes of jogging and run drills to warm up the legs, then a few explosive sprints to fire up the legs.
Race 4 - SUPER SPRINT TRI - 200m swim/ 4km bike/ 1200m run
The race started, for the first 100m, I was level with the pack, then the faster swimmers took off and gained a small lead out of the water. I went into transition feeling relatively confident I could catch the front group on the bike leg. Unfortunately, on the bike my group did not really work well together, I spent a majority of the race at the front as the race pace was not consistent and the group dropped off in roll outs. I was determined to catch the leaders on the bike I eventually moved into 5th place, I knew I had expelled a lot of the much-needed energy I needed for the run. The run was fast and furious and all I was trying to do is not to let the other runners catch me. My tactic didn’t work as I was caught and finished in 7th place. After the race I completed my post-race warm down of a light easy jog, followed by a stint in the ice bath for recovery before the next super sprint triathlon final.
Result - 7th Place
Race 5 - SUPER SPRINT TRI (Grand final) - 200m swim/ 4km bike/ 1200m run
The final race of the weekend, I was a little nervous before the race start, but as the race started I put my nerves behind me. The swim leg again left me working hard in transition to make up seconds lost on the tumble turns. On the bike my goal was to try and catch the leaders. Leading onto the second lap I had already moved into fourth place and was gaining on the competitors in front. Coming into transition my bike got court up with my green box to discard my equipment in. I was sitting in 4th place for the start of the run catching third. I was eventually court by two faster runners in my age group, I ran hard to jump on the back of their feet. I finished the race in 6th spot. After the race, I congratulated the other competitors, spoke to my coach Toby Coote and did a recovery run before jumping into the ice bath one last time with some fellow competitors.
Result - 6th Place
Overall I was happy with the weekend’s efforts, I came away with some valuable lessons learnt and race strategy for upcoming races. My future focus was now set on the next AJS Race 2 at Robina in January. Thank you to Head Coach SCTA Toby Coote and well done to all the other athletes that raced on the weekend.