Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jablonecky Aquatlon - Race Report

My last weekend in the Czech Republic arrived, and I could not imagine a better place to be than at the Jablonec Pool, awaiting my swimming heat. The race was the Czech Championship for Aquatlon, and was attended by extremely strong athletes who were keen to test their skills after a Winter of no racing. The 1500m of swimming was held in the 25m Jablonec Pool, and was conducted in heats based on time. Following a 2 hour break, the 10km would start, held on a 2km cross-country trail around the pool - perfect for an awesome spectator atmosphere.

I found the swimming and triathlon culture amongst girls really interesting in the Czech - unless you are "professional" and training with a coach, you would never consider participating in a race. Unlike Australia where amateurs compete recreationally and events/competitions have a huge turnout of girls of all ages, in the Czech it is only the professionals that attend. Thus, I was competing against 6 other girls.

After the Czech National Anthem (Kde Domov Muj - Where is my home?), I awaited my start nervously, especially after a Winter with a maximum of 3 swims in the pool! What better way to start the season though.

Jablonec Pool, Czech flag hanging proudly:

Some friends (also competing), showing their support:


Australian swimming cap on and talking to one of the race timekeepers:

Finally in the pool, I knew in the first 200m that it would be a long hard swim, daunting when I knew I had 60 laps ahead of me. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the other girls ahead of me, and it was good practice in focusing on your own race and performance and finishing strong regardless of position.

I started the run as the last girl (after just surviving the swim), but felt buoyed by the excellent support I received from the locals, the event officials, and the energy from the 2 DJs playing ACDC, Midnight Oil and anything to get the blood flowing.

I received a countdown 10, 9, 8...and before I knew it I was out on the grass, heart beating and running!

I finished, really happy with my time (41min) and even more so with my running!

More surprising was the fact that I had finished 5th (one female competitor did not finish, and it was suspected that she was unhappy with the fact that she had been overtaken by some stronger runners, and therefore did not want to finish in shame), and had actually won some prize money! Excellent result!

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