||Laguna Phuket Triathlon (Long Course)
FYI: its pronounced poo-ket, not the "other way" that people like to pronounce it:)
If you've ever thought about doing a destination race you gotta get your butt on the plane and fly to Thailand. Sure, it takes a bit of time to get there but its sooooooo worth it! The weather temp averaged 85 and while there is a bit of humidity, its totally bearable. As for the race location, Laguna Phuket is a small resort area located on the western coast of the island of Phuket (Thailand's largest island). There are a few lagoons in the area, hence the name, and there are about 7 resorts to choose from in Laguna Phuket. Now for the race...
**course was in meters so I've incl. approx. conversions**
SWIM (1.8k; 1.1mi)
As I was standing on the beach, waiting to start the race my mind was spinning. To date, this was about to be the longest race I had ever done and I was doing it in Thailand - this was crazy! (but in a good way). With 1 min to go I got my head back, turned to my sister and wished her good luck (brother-in-law was a few rows ahead) and placed my finger above my start button on my watch. With just a few seconds to go, a short and very quiet horn blast went off, the crowd surged forward and we were off and running. Wait a sec, THAT was the start? Nope, a few seconds later a second, much louder horn blast went off and the announcer was wishing us good luck. Smiling and shaking my head with mild confusion I was running into the Andaman Ocean. I should mention at this point that the VERY different thing about this swim course was that there was an ocean swim AND a lagoon swim. The ocean section comprised of an 1180m (~1280y) rectangle that brought us back to the start
on the beach. After that was a short run on the beach (100m;110y) and then a swim across a lagoon (620m; 675y) where a ramp was waiting for our exit to the transition area. Back to the race. You couldn't have asked
for better conditions: water like glass, no current, and clear. Although it was my first ever mass start it wasn't too bad. Sure, I had the odd swimmer or two who either crossed over my legs,my arms or my entire body I stayed as tough as I could and held my own (grrrrrrrr!). After two right turns I was heading back to the beach and reminding myself NOT to take my cap and goggles off as there was still the lagoon swim. No need to worry about the wetsuit as the ocean temp was about 77 and the lagoon was
even warmer (and very green too!). A few minutes later I was running out of the lagoon and into the transition area.
I should mention at this time that the rest of my family who were on the trip were my parents, 2 nephews (4 & 6) and my niece (18 months) all of
whom comprised "Team Canada" complete with Canadian hats, t-shirts, flags and loud whistles that I could hear each time I passed them - it was AMAZING!=20
BIKE (55k, 34.3mi)
The really nice thing about this course was that you get to travel along roads and through little tows that you normally wouldn't see if you were just being a tourist. There were children along the sides of the runs
cheering and waving flags and I even saw the a water buffalo! Shortly after starting the bike course there were a series of short, but steep hills; the kind where you find yourself traveling 19mph and then 4mph - ugh.
After one of these hills (the 4th one I think??) there was a yellow fl=
ag area where you couldn't bike faster than 15mph and I didn't want to either - a sharp downhill with narrow, winding roads that were not completely flat (gravel, sand, uneven pavement...). I remember this one guy who passed me while I was braking on another downhill who said that I was smart and that flying down the hill wasn't worth it. I smiled but at the same time I was thinking "well sure, but I getting passed - alot!". Note to self, must not be such a chicken on those hills, must embrace hills. Once the hilly section was behind me I
really started to enjoy myself and take in the fact that I was having a
great time. Still winding, but now flat, the course took us onto a 3-4 mi out-and-back section where I got to see my sister. The cool thing was
that at the same time I was looking for her, she was looking for me so as we passed by each other we both cheered at the same time - it was awesome:) As the scenery changed again I realized that I was heading back to the lagoons so I decided to bear down and give it my all. Now, they had warned us during the pre-race briefing that there were couple of speed bumps and although they had actually gotten some of the removed (!!!!!!) the
re were still a couple out there. I had gone over a couple so I figured I was in the clear. You can imagine my surprise when, with just 3 miles to go I rounded a corner, and while going into aero position I hit a speed bump. I'm sure that if there was a
camera it would've been quite comical as one water bottle went flying as well as a CO2 cartridge. I for one wobbled a bit, raised my HR (my heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest) and then thanked the tri gods that I didn't wipe out or get a flat. Whew, transition area ahead.
RUN (12k; 7.5mi)
By this time the temp was climbing so I was very thankful for that first aid station and the sponges - heavenly. The run course was 2 flat loops on both the road and a golf course so fairly uneventful. I was just starting to find my groove when I realized that I was at the transition area again and had just 1 more loop to go. It was then that I heard, and then saw my family. My dad was yelling and cheering (I think he might've hard more fun than we did doing the race!) and my mom was the photographer. So, after a wave and a smile to my family, and a high 5 to my 4 year old nephew, I was off again. During this final lap I really started smiling, I was having such a great time! My legs were feeling good so I decided to give that extra push and so, with a little dance and a wave I ran towards the finish line with visions of my upcoming Thai massage in my head:)
FINAL TIME 3:44:33 (8th out of 23 in my div; 296th out of 644)
Final thoughts, I would do this race again in a heartbeat. The memories of racing with my sister and hearing my family cheer, while being in a =
beautiful country, will last a lifetime and I wouldn't change a thing.