What better way is there to spend your Sunday lunchtime encased in a world of pain for an hour or more?
To be honest, other than Yorkshire puddings and roasties, I'm sure you'll agree not much beats a Sprint Triathlon (right?)
Southend-on-Sea provided a great location for the first Sundried Triathlon. The town really welcomed the event and a whopping 2500 people came out to support the 300 athletes, many of whom were competing in their first triathlon.
The swim took place in the Thames Estuary with a refreshing midday start, due to the tide times. 1 hour before the start all we could see was mud flats for miles. I'm familiar with a non-wetsuit swim, but a non-water swim? That would be a first.
There was no need to worry. A mini tsunami came in as scheduled and the bay rapidly filled with clean salt water. We flip-flopped our way 500m along the sea front to the start, (flip-flops were then deposited back at the start for us), and the swim was simply point-to-point parallel with the beach: great for nervous swimmers who didn't have to venture far out their depth, and nice for spectators who could walk along and see the race unfold.
After failing to hold the fast feet of the lead man who set off beside me, I found another set, then decided to have a go on my own and make it hurt. The speed that is easy in a draft becomes really hard when in front, and I probably should have stayed where I was, but as this was a training race there was no need for energy conservation!
A smooth transition and we were quickly on to the fast, flat but quite technical bike course. The organisers are talking about a closed-road multi-lap affair for next year which I think would really draw the crowds in further and give it the buzz of a French Grand Prix tri: something the UK scene could really benefit from. I lost one place to another fast boy through the 20km bike leg, finishing up that bit in 4th; feeling rather power-deprived throughout. Some days you're the firework, some, the damp squib.
The run was out and back along the sea-front where people out for their Sunday stroll probably wondered why all these lycra-loving lovelies were self-flagellating themselves upon this Day of Rest, but they were giving great words of encouragement and seemed really into the spirit of the event: Southend seems to be a perfect match for a triathlon.
So, back to the run. 2.5k in a straight line does seem a long way, and to turn around and repeat the feat was another painful prospect, especially when you could see the Sundried finish banner over a mile away in the distance, not getting any closer...
Coming into a shorter triathlon as a longer distance athlete, you have visions of it 'being over quickly' and being 'no big deal' but I tell you what, Sprint is long and Sprint is hard! And I could only seem to muster limited speed anyway, but it was hurting as much as I could make it, so will hopefully prove an excellent training session as part of my preparation for the European 70.3 champs in 3 weeks’ time.
Coming to the finish, I didn't have much time to celebrate the female win and 3rd place overall as I was very aware of the clock ticking close to 60 minutes, and I always enjoy dipping under an hour in a Sprint. Sadly, I was 25 seconds too fat, but this will come in the next few weeks as I start to sharpen up for my first peak of the season. A couple of kilos makes a lot of difference to speed!
I would like to thank Sundried for their support of me as a pro triathlete this year, providing great PR opportunities as well as beautifully crafted clothing, and now adding another string to their bow: by producing a fantastic first event. Sundried really does stand for quality through and through. I look forward to seeing how the Southend Triathlon develops in years to come, and will definitely be back for that sub 1 hour in the future!
About the author: Alice Hector is a prolific elite professional triathlete, having already won the Volcano Triathlon in Lanzarote earlier this year. She is also a professional fitness model and has done lots of work with Sundried as an athlete ambassador.
Read more about the inaugural Sundried Southend Triathlon and see more photos by following the links below
Imagine yourself surrounded by people who share a vision, where fitness reigns and health is wealth. Motivation fills the air and inspiration is at every turn. Heroes of the sporting world collide with fitness enthusiasts to discover new and exciting sportswear, foods, workouts, lectures and equipment, all under one roof. Sounds pretty incredible doesn’t it?
And that’s before I’ve even mentioned .... ‘freebies!’
Grab a pen, have your diary at the ready, these events are not to be missed.
The London Health Show: 20th-21st January
The London Health show is on its way to Olympia in a matter of days and buyers and distributors from all over the UK have been split into 6 different sectors covering, Nutrition and Supplements, Sports and Fitness, Beauty and Anti-aging, Complementary health, Organic and Natural products and Healthcare equipment and Technology ready to descend on Olympia. Event hosts promise there will be over 120 exhibitors for its thousands of attendees to explore as well as workshops and live demonstrations. Special guests include Dr. Christian Jessen - best known for his work on Channel 4’s embarrassing bodies (although try and contain yourselves from whipping out any awkward illnesses, there's a time and a place for these things), Dr Leah Totton - Winner of BBC Apprentice 2013 and founder of Dr Leah Skin Care and Clinics and Shona Wilkinson head nutritionist at Nutri Care, amongst many others. Network with fitness professionals, grab some gear or you may even win a competition.
Cost: This one’s free, simply register online for a free pass. http://www.londonhealthshow.com/
The London Bike Show: 11th-14th February
The largest cycling exhibition in the UK is making its return to London's Excel this February. Whether you’re into road biking or mountain biking from cycling professionals to those of us who just cycle to and from work, there is something for everyone at the show.
This year for the first time the show will host ‘Air to the Throne’, a two-day competition which will see some of the world's best freestyle mountain bike riders perform mind-blowing tricks across the AT3 course to battle it out for a £10,000 prize. Joining them will be over 300 brands, plus one of the country’s most recognised Olympians, Sir Chris Hoy, who will be launching the latest bikes in his HOY range at the event. There will also be appearances from over 50 guest speakers including Chris Boardman MBE, who will be discussing all things cycling as well as showcasing the newest Boardman bikes.They’ll be tracks set up for both adults and children to take their wheels for a test spin and the world's only ‘pop-up’ street Velodrome for those cyclists who are a little braver.
Cost: A ticket will cost £15-19 depending on which day you decide to go, however, 1 ticket provides access to The Telegraph Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show, Triathlon Show and the London International Dive Show, so there is a whole host of things to see and do!
Run Expo: 18th-20th March: Manchester
RunExpo challenges you to lace up for the biggest show in town. Based at Manchester’s Eventcity the show is for beginners and experienced runners alike. This is the ultimate festival of running with all the latest gear, celebrities and competitions. Leaders in the industry such as Nike, Ron Hill and USN are just some of the shows exhibitors who will be showcasing their newest releases. Plus, the legend that is Paula Radcliffe is attending the show on the 20th to help with the shows running event ‘Run Like A Legend’, which features an 800m track running through the heart of the Expo. 2000 runners will take part in their very own dream mile, designed to push you to ‘find your fast’ and hit a new Personal Best within Event City's walls. From Gait analysis to a live fashion show there is plenty to get involved with.
Be: FIT: 29 April-1st MAY: London
Who run the world? Girls. This is a health and fitness festival designed with women in mind, to empower and inspire. Over 3 days 15,000 female fitness enthusiasts will fill London's Business Design Centre to be greeted by fitness classes, cookery demonstrations, wellness experts and over 125 Brands exhibiting including Total yogurt, Women’s Health and, yours truly Sundried, plus many more being released closer to the event. Guests so far include Tara Stiles - Yoga instructor and founder of Strala Yoga, Madeleine Shaw - Nutritional health coach and online blogger and Honestly Healthy - Food lovers, providing recipes and meals based upon the Alkaline food principles. The event promises to keep you busy all day with classes by leading state of the art gyms such as Equinox and Gymbox, from Bootcamp to Yoga.The show is more than just freebies, it offers expertise you can take away to upgrade your lifestyle and make a positive and permanent healthy change.
Bodypower: 13th-15th May: Birmingham
This one’s the ultimate. The Comic Con of the fitness world. Bodypower is the most celebrated fitness event in the UK, held at Birmingham’s NEC. Over the course of 3 days over 90,000 fitness enthusiasts from all over the world join international stars, industry experts and exhibitioners, to witness national competitions, industry previews, seminars and discover hundreds of fitness-focused brands. Last year’s guests included Phil Heath - ‘The Gift’, bodybuilder and current Mr Olympia, Kai Greene - IFBB Bodybuilder, and Bill Kazmaier - former world champion powerlifter and strongman. Nearer to the event, the biggest names in the industry will confirm their attendance, from business professionals to competitors, athletes, nutritionists and models. Amongst the hundreds of fitness stands Bodypower also hosts a variety of competitions, from powerlifting to its very own ‘Fit Factor’ - the search for the next big fitness model, judging 50/50 on physique and ‘fit factor’ personality. Winners aspire to become the next Paige Hathaway or Steve Cook (both of whom should be at this year’s show). Returning for it’s second year is also the shows ‘Transformation Challenge’.Across 17 weeks from January until the show in May, over 2000 entrants of all shapes and sizes will transform their diet and bodies, supporting each other through the competitions own online community. The winners are announced on the Saturday and will become sponsored athletes for a global fitness company. Other prizes include a free photo shoot, online personal training, meat hampers, supplements, food prep and the best of fitness clothing. If your New Year's goal is to shape up, why not add some fuel to the fire and enter yourself now? Bodypower Expo encapsulates everything positive about fitness. Surround yourself with people who inhale motivation and exhale protein (literally!). Float in a sea of muscle. This place is a breeding ground for future talent.
Cost: £25 - £99
Now the dates marked on your calendar, the countdown begins. See you there!