Are you ready for your first Orca #triathlon wetsuit?

As stockists of the Orca range , the 2015 Orca S5 has just arrived into our Galway store ready for you to check out the perfect wetsuit for tri-beginners and improvers. Orca’s generation S-series wetsuit continues its evolution with the S5. While retaining many of the great features of the S4, the new S5 introduces a 5mm front panel from neck to mid-leg, increasing flexibility and buoyancy.Orca S5The removal of a front seam ensures that it is the most flexible wetsuit to date in this range. Like its predecessor, the S5 promises hydrodynamics, flexibility, buoyancy and durability.2014-orca-wetsuit-s5-fullsleeve-women-frontIts full neoprene coverage includes SCS coated 3-4mm Yamamoto 39-cell neoprene across the full front. 2mm Yamamoto 39-cell coated neoprene underarm and shoulder panels provides superb range of motion.The back is made of 3mm Smooth Skin neoprene, offering buoyancy and thermal protection. Silicone-print Hydrostroke forearm catch panels increase power through the stroke, while Speed Transition calf panels make transitions a cinch.2014-orca-wetsuit-s5-fullsleeve-women-back

  • 2mm SCS Neoprene Arms & Shoulders – High stretch SCS coated upper torso and armsbecome-true-triathlete
  • Yamamoto Neoprene – Performance level durable Yamamoto neoprene provides excellent buoyancy, flexibility and thermal protection.
  • Speed Transition Calf Panels – Guaranteed easy removal of the wetsuit and faster transition times.2014-orca-wetsuit-s5-fullsleeve-men-back

Orca wetsuits are available in a wide range of sizes to suit everybody an we are on hand to help you select, size & we’ll show you how best to handle your wetsuit when fitting and removing to avoid unwanted pulls and tears.

If you are ready to know more we have a handy Appointment Maker on the website to help you get the most of one-on-one time with an advisor.
See you soon!!

How do you wear your TYR goggles?

We like TYR goggles. In particular we like the TYR Special Ops goggles which are in the words of TYR:

Our #1 all-around goggle, the Special Ops is engineered for triathlon, open water and training. Constructed with polarized lenses, the LGSPL latex free performance goggle provides clarity, optical precision and comfort by filtering out 99.9% of the surface glare that causes eye fatigue.

We agree. Having used them through last year for training and racing, in pool and open water they lived up to the promise.

This year as well as the regular styles, we are getting some new colours and styles from TYR.

The Cheetah print

TYR Special Ops LGSPLCH_810_1
Faster than a Cheetah!

 

the Camo print for Ninja swimmers

TYR Special Ops LGSPLCAM_310_1
For stealth mode racing

and the regular multicolour version too.

TYR Special Ops LGSPL_962_1

While rooting through the sample bag we found some National coloured Special Ops for Canada, America, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Pretty cool we thought but there was no Ireland ones!!

2014-03-05 12.08.40

Naturally a call out to our friendly Photo editing friend was required and he delivered, again, brilliantly!! 🙂

TYR Ireland

What do you think? Should we ask TYR to make Special Ops goggles specifically for Ireland?

Comment below to have your say.

What’s a triathlon wetsuit?

Loiter around the start of any open water triathlon and you will see as many different wetsuits as competitors. 

In Ireland the water conditions are rarely near or above the limits set by ITU governing the requirement of compulsary wetsuits in the swim leg, so inevitably you must wear a wetsuit in triathlon racing in Ireland.
As a result anyone trying out triathlon will reach for the old surfing suit in the shed or borrow one from a friend. A wetsuit is a wetsuit. Right?

Not really, well, not at all to be honest.

A surfing wetsuit is designed to keep you warm when surfing or sailing. You are up, exposed to the elements and need to keep warm. Hence the 5mm or 7mm thickness of the neoprene or Winter suit / /Summer suit to help retain some body heat. Also the neoprene is quite tough as it has to withstand the occasional contact with a board or deck or rock etc.

When swimming you are immersed in the water (which may be cold but at least no wind chill) only have to worry about contact with other bodies in the water and are looking for a wetsuit which has a number of important primary features:

Warmth– The neoprene or rubber material traps a small layer of water close to the skin that is warmed by core body temperature and delays hypothermia in water.
Buoyancy– The wetsuit provides safe and fear-reducing buoyancy, but should not be relied upon as a life preserver. However, increased confidence in the open water can be another benefit. 
Speed– Reduction of drag, the effects of providing buoyancy to the hips and legs, and the ease of breathing and sighting all contribute to a 10% or greater reduction in time over an Olympic distance swim (3-5 minutes!). 
Energy Conservation– This should be your goal on the swim, since you still have some biking and running left to do!

After that, proprietary features like, body roll panels, forearm friction, zip up / zip down, easy on / off cuffs, Yamamoto neoprene, silicon coating, number of panels, all work to improve the fit and the function of the wetsuit in use. They also generally add cost to the wetsuits too.

How should a wetsuit fit?

  • Snug but not tight.
  • No folds or excess material.
  • Retaining shoulder mobility is important!
  • The fit of the neckline is a consideration so that you don’t feel like you are being suffocated.
  • Make sure that the arm an leg holes are equally snug so they do not act as scoops to pull in water = extra weight.
  • Many wetsuit styles offer different zipper options for the back and even legs.  This comes down to personal preference for when you put it on and take it off during a race.

Of course when it comes to buying your wetsuits, whether its your first entry level suit or you are trading up to an advanced level after a couple of seasons racing, the staff at GottaRun are on hand to help you sift through the choice and pick your perfect match.

We will work with you to identify the suit that will best suit your swimming abilities and your goals. Then selecting the correct size for you and possibly the most important thing, advising you on how to put it on properly.

We also host wetsuit clinics through the early part of the season as we get ready for open water swimming. Watch out for these Tri-itOut sessions as these are a perfect opportunity to test a new wetsuit for fit and function in the safety of a swimming pool.

 

1st swim of the year. #pethate (4th January)

I managed to find a little time just before lunch so I pointed myself in the direction of the pool.
Knowing that there would be some ‘serious’ lunchtime swimmers I wanted to get in early to avoid any pressure. There was one guy in the fast lane who was obviously in the middle of a set and a chap breast-stroking the full width of the second lane, taking him time doing his says-aerobics or whatever he was at.
I sat in at the top of the lane, feet in the water gauging the tempo of the faster swimmer when the other lad finished up. Grand, I’ll slip in to the slow lane and have an easy session.
I was aiming to do a 1500m session with a mixture of technique drills and straight forward swimming just to break the duck and get back after 3 weeks off.
With yer man ploughing up and down the next chap joined my lane after 250m and proceeded to push off just in front of me.
A group then arrived in to the fast lane, obviously a regular crew of stronger swimmers, and they did their thing. 

Then aqua-man appeared.

This guy was fully kitted out; snorkel, fins and paddles. What does he do? Yep, bales into the easy lane and bates his way up and down weaving in and out between myself and this other chap. 

I had no plans to knock myself out staying ahead of him so I stuck to my guns and stayed steady for a while. He was with the other group and was pacing with them so should have been in their lane.
Eventually in frustration at his ignorance of common manners I got out. I wasn’t there to get stressed! I learned afterwards about the aqua-man moniker and his reputation for ignorance precedes him. Must be nice to be known for being like that …

All in I did 1100m some of which was quality, the rest was crap with no real rhythm. 

Note to self: laminate ‘Pool Etiquette’ in A3 and leave at head of lane.

HIM – Day: The Storming of Ladies Beach

Pre-dawn on Sunday 4th September, the alarm toils like the watchman’s bell.


Looking out. A sky that hints of promise, a sky full of threat. What will the day bring? All I know is there’ll be 2000 fellow athletes and peers on the prom in Salthill within the next short while, full of eager anticipation.






At 11:30 last night I woke up thinking I’d wet the bed. I was soaked to the skin. Hopefully this was the breaking of the fever and I’ll be right for the day.

Breakfast was a protein shake first thing whilst waiting for the porridge to cook. A decent bowl of porridge with honey and a pair of mugs of coffee and we were off. 

Arriving in Salthill it was time to place all the planned nutrition with the bikes, check the tyres, bring the pressure up to 120psi. I’ d heard a few tubs had gone ‘Bang!’ in the night due to the cold air and another one went close by. 


Planned pre-race nutrition; energy drink for next hour and nibble on a bar plus x1 Kinetica gel 10 minutes before the swim start.

Planned on the bike nutrition; x3 Kinetica gels (10, 45 & 80k marks), x2 Powerbar Energise bars (nibbled over 20-30k and 60-70k), Kinetica Tricarb drink up front in the profile bottle, bottle of water in the cage. Leaving a spare cage for on route pickups. Shoes and socks I decided to leave in the blue bag.


Planned on the run nutrition; x 2 Kinetica gels (9 & 16k marks). I could pick up water and additional gels / Gatorade if necessary along the run route.


Food left on the bike, it was time to get parked, grab a coffee, relax and gather the nerve for the coming hours.


An announcement was made that the swim was being reduced. A bit of confusion as to whether it was being delayed or reduced. As it turned out both. Due to a rip current in the bay the swim was reduced to 750m (officially measured later as 1000m) and the waves were being broken up into smaller groups. This meant that I was going off at 8:00 as opposed to the planned 7:35.

Changing into the trisuit (new & untested, not the best idea!), on with the calf guards, long sleeved top(HR strap underneath), Bodyglide and wetsuit. Of course just as you have all this on, final toilet stop required! All the warm gear goes into the white bags along with non race shoes and you drop this at a steel container on the prom. 


Shuffling down the ramp into the holding area you feel like a zoo animal with hundred’s of people looking over a railing at you preparing to go. Spotting a few familiar faces, there was plenty of nervous chitter chat going on. Some club mates standing nearby, quick handshake, good lucks all round and then we were set free.

Swim / Drift (750-1500m)


Planned Swim route

After rinsing the goggles, flushing the suit and backing up to the start line. We waited for the gun. (I had received a tip regarding a rip current to watch for. So basically while the swim was 750m you need to pace for 1500m as that was what you would be swimming.)


And off we went some 300 souls in a melee of swinging arms, kicks, ‘friendly’ punches into the bay. Sighting was easy, the buoys were huge and all you had to do was wait for the swell to lift you up 5′ for sighting. The biggest issue was swimming sideways!


Once sighted, line yourself up and go for it. When you next lifted your head the current had pushed you sideways so you were facing away from the buoy by 30 degrees, so it was constant adjustment.

Left turn at the first big buoy, parallel to the shore and we were head into the current and swell. The marshals did a good job of correcting us and keeping us notified of the drifting effect.

I found the swim difficult due to the current but not impossible. Hitting the beach a few people from the next wave started to pass me  but that’s normal for my swim stage. I left the water quite fresh, no pounding heart rate or any of the normal effects. 

This meant that I was comfortable dropping my wetsuit, not gasping for breath and was easily settled into a stride for the long haul to transition.


Transition Swim to Bike (T1)
Leaving the swim the exit from the beach is up a ramp to the prom. Turn right and run 400m to the T1 tent barefoot on the concrete across the car park.


Passing through the tent you pick your blue bag from the numbered rack, out the back to an area with tables and seats. There were volunteer strippers there to help remove wetsuits and a quick change to bike gear (I planned no socks, just shoes with light covers, a short sleeved gillet and glasses) and off you go for the next 700m to the bike exit, collecting your bike along the way. I stayed barefoot until I reached  the bike, put on the shoes (I did the helmet in transition) did up the covers and ran with bike to the exit. 


Jump on at the mount line and off you go.


Bike (90km)


I knew exactly what I had to do on the bike. My plan was to settle quickly into the aero position and pace myself carefully. All the more important in light of my ‘weakened’ state.


I has aimed for a budget time of 3hrs and had lately hoped to get 2:45 or thereabouts depending on the course / conditions.


Nutrition could only be done properly on the bike and this went to plan. I took the first gel at the top of the climb in Dangan before the downhill to the main road.


There was a lot of bike traffic and to the knob who refused to move over on the road, from the solid line, despite letting him know I was ‘behind on the right’ and indicated that I should undertake him, you’re a twat who needs to read the rules of Triathlon before he races again.


Once on the main road, the wind was behind us so I knew it was important to manage this to avoid blowing up on the home leg. I felt good on the bike and got a great lift when I saw Conor flying back mixed among the pros. He did a smashing bike split.


The conditions on the bike were terrible. A lot of surface water spraying up and plenty of rain coming down. There was tremendous support from spectators along the whole route and it was very uplifting to see them under their brollies, shouting and cheering. 

There were a number of quite serious looking accidents, resultign in bodies being littered along the course. It seemed that the conditions were to blame as much as a lack of bike handling skills. Quite a few people were trying to get food on board and we swerving about on the road showing a lack of skill and general awareness of people around them. It only comes with experience and we are all still learning. The ambulance was required for several of the crashes and there were a few fine bikes left lying on the route for the ‘broomwagon’.


I was happy with my pacing and kept the pressure on myself all the way home and ultimately pulled back into Salthill with a bike split of 3:00:13. Not bad planning!


Transition Bike to Run (T2)

Arriving back into transition, dismount at the line and run with the bike to the racking point. Unclip the helmet and run on to the second tent. I lost a shoe cover along the way, its always something off my left foot, it was a shoe in Hell of the West!

Passing through, picking up the red bag, remove the bike jacket, grab the runners & cap, change, drop the gear in the bag and off for the run.


Run (22.1km)

Starting the run I felt fresh on the first full 7km loop. I made use of the water stations, getting fluid on board at the two stations on each loop.

Starting out on the second loop I spotted Edel at the barrier, which brought home the fact that she was pulling out of the event. She had said that she wasn’t happy about the run as she hadn’t been getting out to do many run sessions. Fair enough. It still upset me. I had a notion that we could complete our first race together, not necessarily crossing the line together cos that would mean I’d been ‘chicked’ but that we would complete the race.


Anyway, I got through to about 13k and then the wheels started to come off. I had started out really steady aiming to settle into a 6min/km pace which I did through the second 5k. Once I hit 11km my pace dropped to about 6:30min/km and on the third lap it went completely erratic. I spent quite a bit of time walking.


My nutrition had worked out fine. It was actually fatigue that destroyed me. Having been feverish, broken sleep meant I was simply not rested enough. 


Emotionally I was shot and it took all my effort to actually get back. I knew where people who knew me were standing so I made every effort to look like everything was OK. Every time I passed my old coach, I had this cheery grimace on my face.


Coming back by Grattan beach for the last time I dug deep and pushed on. I kept telling myself another 200m then you can walk. And another 200m until the length of the bike transition was done and I hit the street within the last 1km.


The crowd gave me a huge lift and I finished in my usual style of a nice kick for the line. Its funny how the mind and body work.


Crossing the line was fantastic. Hearing Mike Reilly call out my name was great. Getting my medal, wow! 

I earned that medal!

All in all my run was 2:11 and change. A good 25mins more than where I had hoped to be but that’s the rub of the day thats in it.

All I wanted was my wife to say thanks for the support through the training.


Ironman 70.3  Race data

My official finish time when results were released was 5:54:55

Caroline Kearney Triathlon (13th August)

It was another brutal night lacking in sleep that led to me rising at 5.30am to prepare breakfast and to pull myself together in some form of order for racing today.

It has been 4 years since I last raced the Caroline Kearney memorial triathlon in Mullingar. Caroline was a rising star in Irish triathlon circles and would have been our Olympic super nova bar a tragic training accident


I had no illusions about racing today, I knew it would be a loooonnnng day as I would be driving to Lilliput, racing then back to Galway to head to Waterford for a birthday celebration this evening. No idea how long I would remain on my feet, but how and ever we must go forward.


Arriving nice and early in Lilliput (despite a crap coffee from a garage) I got parked and registration done and out of the way. I picked up my T-shirt, which was not part of the goodie bag, but being sold as a fundraiser. I had my T shirt from 2007 and a peaked cap from 2008 (I pulled out of that one) so my collection would be complete.


Despite being really early I was a disorganised as possible. I set up transition and stood listening to the race briefing and realised I’d no wetsuit on, so back to the van to get wetsuit then realised I’d picked up the wetsuit and left the goggles and swim hat behind me so back again to collect those. The lads were looking at me like a horse with too heads as I was up and down in bare feet several times. 

Make a checklist!!


More like get a nights sleep 🙂


Anyway, briefing over, down to the water. Its a nice freshwater lake swim. Originally it was two loops but the course is now one big loop. The entry and exit from the lake is a long shallow section of wading / dolphin diving. At least the start is waist high and dead straight to the first buoy.

The race was started with a blast from an army mortar launcher. Holy shit! It gives off some bang, I didn’t see yer man wearing ear protectors either. Off we went. I had done a little warm up, filled the suit and made the adjustments so I settled very quickly into my rhythm. I’m finding the quicker I find this sweet spot the easier the swim is getting. Its not fast, but technically I seem to have got the pieces right so I’m able to swim at a steady pace with good control and little fatigue.


However.

Rounding the second buoy (left turn) I had nice clean water leading to the buoy and actually gained a couple of lengths on people who were floundering around the buoy simply by executing a tight turn. For some reason I was practising this type of turn when I started triathlon, way before my swim improved, I probably felt in my innocence that it would identify me as a ‘triathlete’.


Its a good move to gain time around markers and buoys so you should practise it.


After this buoy some of the overtakees drifted onto my feet and one of them felt it was critical that he kept touching my toes. Now I don’t mind the occasional touch, but this fellow stayed on my feet for the next 6-700m, constantly touching. I felt like stopping, instead I pushed on and in the last 400m dropped him, he tried to get on the toes of one of the faster Wave 2 guys coming through and simply fell away once the clear water grabbed him.


As I came out of the lake onto the ramp the marshal was shouting “22minutes” and then pointed at me and said “32 for you”. He must have seen my face. Very happy with 32 minutes, that’s a solid swim for me and I am getting consistent over 1500m. 

Into transition, wetsuit off, still struggling a bit with this, helmet on, grab the bike and away.

Out the gate to the mount line, keep it moving, jump onto the moving bike, feet (bare) onto the shoes in the cleats and get up to speed before coasting to slip right foot into shoe, pedal some more and coast to slip left foot in. Secure both shoes and settle.


Perfect.


Gaining places through the mounting process and picking up speed over the first km or so is important to me on the bike. I use the initial 5k to settle into my pedalling rhythm, ease my breath and heart rate down after the surge through transition. Sip some water.


My bike is good. After 5km I’ll take a gel (Kinetica) and a sip of water. A little more settling and then build the power. The course is lovely and rolling. There are a couple of horrible pick up climbs as you come out of tight turns and you don’t get to carry much speed through the turn as there is a solid line that will punish you!There was a guy from Lanesborough Tri who passed me on one or two of the longer drags but due to a weight advantage I flew past him on the downhills..


My bike plan was to keep steady and race to my heart rate rather than all out this resulted in few people passing me on the first lap. One clown was blatantly drafting and was killing himself to stay on the wheel of everyone that passed him. Every now and then he would surge past on the back of someone only to be dropped. I reeled them all back in through the second lap by staying consistent. As I passed the ‘drafter’ i told him he’d been pinged by 2 of the marshals for drafting.

Keep it tidy!

Turning into the Lilliput centre I reversed my bike mount, slipped out of the shoes and prepared for dismount. Keeping it nice and tidy, I spotted the line and stepped off the bike just before the marshal has a coniption fit. I’m a good boy, no penalties for me!


Into transition to rack the bike, some clown (another one) had dumped his bike in my spot, blocking off my shoes and rack position. A quick shove along and I was free. Bike hooked up, helmet off, deep breath and shoes on. Away.


The run was long and flat. I’m not running as strong as I would like during races and am trying to focus on stronger second splits, come home strong! Not realising the run was a loop of an out and back style rather than the two loops it had been previously (read the race briefing) I was meeting the front runners on the way back. Again pacing myself as I did on the bike, people caught me on the first 5km but I reeled them back in on the way home. I finished very strong leaving my ‘drafter’ and Lanesborough buddy around the 8k mark.

I’m happier knowing I have enough to finish strongly because my target race is longer, so I definitely don’t want to be running out of steam over Olympic distance.

All in all I was happy with a solid performance finishing just under 2:40. A good bit faster than 2007. Looking at my results there has been a dramatic improvement in my swim (6 minutes!), stable bike and a lift in the run position too.

Now back to Galway for a super fast transition!

2007 Results – 
98/174 M30-39 02:47:20
1.5k Swim 00:39:22 T1 00:01:14 40k Bike 01:16:37 T2 00:0043 Run 00:49:25

2011 Results – 
155/276 M40 02:39:49 
1.5k Swim 00:33:36 T1 00:01:07 40k Bike 01:17:19 T2 00:00:48 10k Run 00:46:59

Caroline Kearney Triathlon 2011 – Polar data

Loughrea Aquathon (9th August)

Tuesday evening saw us back at the lake in Loughrea for another shot at the aquathon. 750m swim followed by a ‘quick’ transition and 5k run up the hill past the graveyard and back.


Tonight was the first opportunity for Edel & myself to race together as until now, one or the other of us was ‘shorelined’ with the kids. This evening they were at home with their cousins and auntie.


There was another great turnout with some 64 / 65 people taking part from both Predator & Galway Triathlon clubs on a mild evening perfect for racing. We all lined up along the pier wall and waited for the off. With a great stampede of splashing and churning water off we went. 

I hate these sort of starts as there is so many people crossing and meandering along in front of you that it is really difficult to get in a rhythm. I generally find my longer distance swim times are much more efficient than my sprint distance. I reckon this is because I spend so much time settling down at the start of the race, trying to find my rhythm.

A great shot of a mass start.



Knowing myself that I was much slower than normal at the start of this race, I sought my rhythm and settled down somewhat, still not enough and it was only in the return leg of the swim that I genuinely felt comfortable and easy. I’m hoping that the HRM info might back me up on this notion.


Back to land and again I struggled with getting the wetsuit off my feet. No matter how must I do or don’t Bodyglide this seems to remain a sticking problem. Into the shoes, iNOV-8 Road X 255, again not as easy as it should be, but then that’s what practice races are for.


My run, I was happy with. With no stride pod I had to go on instinct for pacing and found that I was really comfortable pushing myself along nicely.


Knowing Edel was way ahead in the swim, I expected to see her ahead of me on the run. I didn’t expect to see her with a km or so stuck into me on the run! When we passed I clocked it and found I had 2 minutes to the turn about, putting her 4 mins or so up at that point! With the return run being downhill for a lot of the route, I expected to pull back time but would not catch her within her 2k to the finish.

I finished my run quite strong and would have liked the pacing data for feedback, but hey, we don’t always get what we like.

Having dropped 5:15 over the swim I pulled back just over 3 minutes on the run. All told I was happier with my run, disappointed with my swim, but hoping next weeks handicap would be in my favour 🙂

Edel Conroy F 0:13:30 0:38:02
Sean Conroy M 0:18:45 0:39:58


Aquathon data

Sunday (5th June) Swim

Inspiration for my swim this morning came from the June edition of Triathlete Europe magazine. The drill of the month is a race specific interval set.




I have always struggled with my swim, I suppose, being self taught and self trained has had a lot to do with this problem. I’ve done a lot of reading, a lot of practising and more reading and only recently it feels as if the bits are actually starting to come together.


My swim in the lake on Friday was all about control & focus on the stroke technique. Having decided to hit the pool this morning and skip the planned spin I wanted to continue that focus and try and increase some components of the overall race swim. 


COPE Triathlon is coming up next weekend and I would like to have my swim ready for that.Yes, technically it is probably too late to get race ready, but as lately, I feel I’m improving each time I swim and I’m improving my swim stamina it can do no harm.


I get bored trying to do sets or lap after lap so I am always looking for an edge or something to add interest to the swim sessions, enough to keep me in the pool and avoid an early sauna visit.


So the interval set went like this:

  • Warmup  5-10 mins of easy swimming with some technique drills. I did front crawl for:
    • 1 x 50 slow
    • 1 x 100 steady
    • 1 x 50 steady focusing on catch / feel for water    
  • Main Set 
    • 1 x 50 sprint to simulate the start of a race. 5 seconds rest before
    • 2 x 100 strong effort simulating settling into race pace. 10 seconds between each 100
    • 1 x 50 sprint to simulate the chaos aroun a buoy. Immediately put on paddles & pullbuoy.
    • 1 x 300 smooth effort pull and focus on relaxing the heart rate.
  • 30-60 seconds rest & repeat 3-4 times is recommended (I did 2 this time) 
  •  Cooldown should be relaxing. I did 1 x 100 steady and 1 x 50 messing 🙂

I did stretch out the recovery times as I wanted to be sure to keep a good rhythm going. I found a really nice sweet spot where my reach, catch, kick & breathing all slotted together nicely all I have to do is replicate that feeling but faster!


My total swim was 45 minutes and I covered 1450m.

Another lake spin / swim / spin, this time with sunshine!

Friday afternoon (3rd June) again saw me keen to get out for an open water swim in Loughrea. I had been tempted by Renville a couple of evenings on the way home, but just didn’t seem to make time for it.

Anyway this time crunched triathlete is enjoying the doubling up of training sessions where possible so a cycle out and back was on the cards.

This is more about the swim so I’ll leave the bikey bits out of it, the details are in the Garmin mapping below.

There was a definite need for the sunscreen for this afternoons cycle to the lake. It was a bit like the beach sceen in Jaws where everyone was in the water up to their waist with plenty of people sitting on the shore watching the shark circling off shore. The difference was this is Ireland, all the watchers were getting sunburnt and the shark turned out to be Laurent.

I was later than planned getting down so missed the options of joining Laurent in his swim or Damian on a run.

We still had a group of five for a swim and rather than going from the jammed beach & pier we opted for a start around the point and out round the first & second buoys, round the rock & back. All told 1200m or so of a swim.

I had brought my fins, not for propulsion, instead I wanted to use them to help float & stretch my feet so that I could focus entirely on getting a steady, controlled rhythm of reach, catch, pull, (breathe every now and then!) push and recover.

During the first leg out to beyond the pier, I was all over the place, I didn’t settle down at all, was lifting my head, breathing wrong, pulling stronger on one side, not controlling body roll to point out a few things. I stopped, looked around and regathered my thoughts and dumped them all in the mental “trash folder”.

Face down again I admired the clarity of the water, spotted some fish, felt the warmth of the day and relaxed.

After this I found a groove. Nice and easy, slow and steady. In the shallow parts I was really conscious of the glide effect through my stroke cycle, I could see my shadow moving deceptively fast. This felt good!! I got to the 2nd buoy and chatted to the lads before we set off on the return leg. I let them go. I was slow and steady, reach, catch, pull, push & recover. Again and again. I was breathing out under water, not blowing like a surfaced whale, which meant I simply breathed in naturally when I was ready not when I felt forced to do it.

All too quick I was around the rock, heading for the pier, the 1st buoy, the spectacular shallows again. I was so far in my relaxed zone I swam straight into a guy who was minding his own business, probably frightened him half to death thinking he was being attacked. Apologies! We did have a laugh about the size of the lake and all that. And that was that, out, on the bike & home.

I really, really enjoyed that swim and need to repeat, repeat, repeat to keep the groove.

Maybe not such a great idea after all

On Friday, having missed a longish spin on Thursday I aimed to get the TT bike out to firstly cycle into the shop but then to actually get out in the afternoon and do a little rectification of my lacking leg power.

I wanted to practise some intervals I’d been reading about that promised to “build serious power in your pins” the idea is to work in intervals 10-20 seconds on of really stomping through the pedals to fire up the big muscle fibres and then recovering over 2-5 minutes or whatever is necessary to recharge the legs.

Plan is to spin out to Loughrea for a swim in the afternoon, usually some club members ready about 5pm for a dip and to then ‘power’ my way home in time for a decent recovery meal.

What I didn’t plan on was the dirtiest turn in the weather. It took roughly 50mins to cycle out to Loughrea with a slight tail wind from Oranmore but it was lashing rain all the way. I just kept it nice and steady on the way out trying to balance the feeling in my legs with holding a steady heart rate. This involved continual changing of the gears to keep cadence & momentum nice and steady.

I was glad to get to the Lake to dry off a bit! I was cold and wet and putting on the wetsuit helped me to warm up. I met up with Tony & Shane who were finishing a run (in the same conditions) and Shane was joining me in the water.

If you’ve ever seen the movie Face/Off you can picture the scene of the ‘unmasking’ of Casper Troy & Sean Archer. Well that’s how my face felt going into the Baltic freeze of the Lake. I actually though my face would freeze in a grimace with the cold. Shane and I ended up doing a fairly swift, fairly lively swim out to the island / rock and back. For some insane reason we stopped at the island and had a chat!

Anyway out we got and in fairness to him, Shane offered to throw the bike in his van and give me a lift back and stupidly I declined and said I’d be fine! Wetsuit off and in the bag, gear packed, a quick Powerbar Ride and back on the bike to head for the coast.

There was a definite head wind on the way back so I pumped it for a bit to get warmed up and then settled into pushing a big gear at a very steady state through the flats and the climbs (short drags really) all the way home. The wind added the effect of at least another gear so my legs really got a workout.

I have the data on Polar Personal Trainer I simply need to do a bit more work on the upload so I can figure out how to share the info easily. All told between Lough Corrib and the work today I’ve about 200km done on the bikes this week, so I’ll call it a good one.