Introducing Triathlons – Hamish Delorenzo – Busselton 70.3 17/10

Introducing Triathlons – Hamish Delorenzo – Busselton 70.3 17/10/2020

Prior to triathlon my only sporting interest was weightlifting, this became a bit stagnant after nearly 5 years of doing it on and off. I had no athletic goals in sight and no challenge that took my interest. After running my first half-marathon in Fremantle November 2019 I became hooked on the endurance side of sports (1 hour 43 minutes was endurance to me!). Unfortunately, I came down with shin splints after this event which kept me off running until the start of March 2020. Boxing day gave me my first ever tri-suit, at this point I was now invested into the sport and I was preparing to take on the Busselton 70.3 in May 2020. Coronavirus was not an easy time for me by any means. Riding my bike on 30km rides up the Northern suburb’s coastline was an essential therapy session for me. In the end the global pandemic is what allowed me to focus and ramp up my training, I was still able to socialise with my friends throughout my training. Upon the cancellation of the May 70.3 I decided to embark on a separate endurance challenge to run 7km every 4 hours for 48 hours (84km). 

Impressions of the club?
It took me a long time to gain interest in joining a triathlon club. I enjoyed training solo, I had always felt that this was not a team sport and you should be able to perform on your own without the support of others. My mindset has since then changed. Everyone in triathlon is out there on their own in competition facing their own demons, yet the community aspect underlying this sport is incredible and you will find support no matter where you look. I decided to join the UWA tri club for a few running sessions to see what all the hype was about when training with others. I had one good friend in Oggi however it only took 1 session for me to be welcomed in by other club members, of which I am extremely grateful.

The ‘A’ race – Busselton 70.3 October 17th, 2020
With the cancellation of events left right and centre this year I did not have many options to complete my first triathlon before Busselton came along. I was not too concerned about a 70.3 being my first event, I figured the technical aspects of transition were proportionally less significant and therefore I could be more relaxed in this 4th discipline. 

Always expected a poor sleep the night before this event, by keeping on top of my sleep in the lead up week I knew my performance would not be affected. Sure enough I got about 4 hours of quality sleep in there. Breakfast of porridge 3 hours before start time and a coffee at T minus 2 hours. Felt very relaxed all morning, not stressing about what everyone else is doing and had a nice pre-race swim with Edwin.

Swim - survive
This is by far my worst discipline in the sport. I have also never swum more than 500m in open water before race day…. Failing to stay on the best line, bit of breastroke here and there, slight panic at the furthest point off shore, never been this far out in open water and I’m pretty sure I have a small phobia of swimming in the open ocean (definitely keeping my eye on the lifeguards here). Aussie exit swim gives me the support I needed from the UWATC members, full body cramps occurring – should have practiced more open water swims…. Second half of the swim I was a lot calmer, changed my stroke to unilateral and just begun to enjoy the atmosphere. Being able to see bits of shipwreck on the sea floor was incredible.

Transition 1 – 

Cramping all over upon exiting the water. Was not running to the transition zone here. My wetsuit zipper was stuck under my necklace, so I had to snap that off. Forearm cramps here prevented me from putting the bike repair kit in my pocket – screw it we are going without (let us hope there is no puncture today)

Bike - Slog

Full leg extension on the first turn leads to a bad cramp – avoid doing this for the rest of the ride! I had taken note of the course direction and wind b
efore hand – knowing it would be head-tail – head – tail for the out and back bike leg. Riding felt incredibly easy compared to the swim, but I knew I needed to reign it in, maintain a consistent effort and not blow up. This is your first event, at least make it to the finish line. Alarm on my watch every 10 minutes – consuming caffeine and sodium Cliff Blocs + water – cramps have stopped but still scared of them. Half-way through the bike and I have started laughing to myself like Heath Ledger as the joker, not sure what is going on here. Ran out of water on the bike with about 20-30 minutes to go so I came in to grab a bidon from an aid station – managed to knock 4 out of the volunteers hands before successfully grabbing one (definitely needed to slow down more). Quick sips, a discard and off to finish the bike leg with no nutrition or water remaining.

Transition 2 - 

T2 went smooth, racked the bike before removing helmet, shoes on easy, hat on - quick bit of confusion because of another person with the same shoes in a nearby transition.

Run – Send 

Came off the bike way too fast, fortunately I have always run quite well off the bike in brick training sessions. Immediately I know the legs are going to be the problem here, barely struggling cardiovascularly. The run leg was always going to be my strongest, settle into a steady pace and for the rest of the half-marathon I did not change anything. On the precipice of cramping the entire time, if I stopped or tried to accelerate, I’d be walking for a bit. My feet are numb – I size down my race shoes and I’m not sure whether my feet are swollen from the rest of the race or the elastic laces (which I didn’t try in training) are too tight. Either way the numbness prevents foot pain at least. Became quite emotional over the run course, I have always had a fear of failure and throughout this leg I am constantly reminding myself “You are not going to fail this one”. Support from the UWATC and other race spectators was what got me through this struggle. Smiles for the camera at the finish line, as soon as I am out of the frame I break down to the point where volunteers are asking if I am okay. I find whenever I am mentally and physically drained all barriers come down and you have nothing left to protect yourself. A fear of failure conquered a sub 5-hour goal attained – Proud of myself is an understatement.

Post-race thoughts
“First with the head then with the heart” (Bryce Courtenay) – Overall I feel I raced smart, handled my nutrition and paced myself well. Fantastic day down in Busselton and then I have no words for the support we all received so thank you UWATC and to coach Steve Gleeson for my bike/run performance.  Until May 1st, 2021 when we do it all again.