The TRI-Factor Series is a four-legged mass participation sports series consisting of a swimming leg, a cycling leg, a running leg, and followed by a full triathlon. The aim of the series is to make triathlons accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability or fitness level.
Took part in the Triathlon this morning
The TRI-Factor Triathlon took place this morning at Angsana Green – East Coast Park and thanks to Astavita, who had sponsored me in the race, I had the opportunity to participate in the Sprint distance category (750m swimming, 18km biking and 5km running).
Reaching Angsana Green
I cycled to the race site in the morning and reached the area before 8am, making sure that I had plenty of time to set up my things at the transition area and also to catch my breath before my wave was scheduled to flag off at 9am.
As well, I also caught up with Astavita’s Macie Tan and fellow ambassador Mona Gill, who is also a former Mrs Singapore Runner-Up, before then making my way to the start area, where I bumped into my friends Audrey Hau and Ivy Thong. We took a few photos while we were still feeling fresh and energetic, before it was then our turn to head into the starting pen.
Swimming Goggles snapped
But in the start pen, just as I was about to put on my swimming goggles to get ready for the swim leg, the strap suddenly snapped – without any warning at all.
I was left panicking for a while, but thanks to emcee Ross Sarpani, who had made an urgent announcement for someone to loan me a pair of goggles on the spot, I managed to borrow one.
That had really been a life saver and I was really grateful to Jeremiah Christy Suraidi, who had been kind enough to let me borrow hers.
Swim was tough
The swim was much tougher than I had expected though, as the water was really choppy. In fact, I felt as though I was inside a washing machine instead of the sea! I had found that the waves kept on pushing me backwards and sideways and in the wrong directions. As a result, this made it quite hard to swim and stay on track, and so my swimming time had been quite a fair bit slower than I would have liked it to be.
But I suppose that the main thing is that I had survived the swim, and that fortunately I still wasn’t desperate enough to call for one of the safety boats to pick me up even as I struggled to stay on course, fighting against the waves for most of the time. It was quite different to last year’s TRI-Factor Freshman race experience, when the water had been so much calmer.
Added Karin Kariya, 46, a supply chain planner, “The swim was very tough. I found it tougher than last year as the currents were pushing me back. I normally do freestyle but I switched to breaststroke to make sure that I was heading in the right direction.”
But Anna Koshcheeva, 34, a History of Asian Arts student at Lasalle College of the Arts, however surprisingly enjoyed the swim. She said, “The swim was wonderful. A lot of swimmers drifted off course at the beginning but once you found your rhythm, it was very nice. I enjoyed it.”
Bike was quite enjoyable
I think that I managed to catch up and overtake a few people during the bike leg though, so at least that had probably helped to make up a little bit of time for me. The bike leg consisted of three loops of six kilometres, from Angsana Green before making a u-turn at the Water Venture @ East Coast, in the direction of Changi, before heading back to complete the loop and set off on another one.
The bike route was relatively flat, with some gentle slopes but nothing that proved to be too challenging. With the wind helping to cool me down too, I would say that this had been a rather enjoyable part of the race and the 18km of cycling had passed by all too quickly.
Said Anna, “The bike is always the most beautiful part of the race. You have the trees all around and that is what I had particularly enjoyed about it.”
Added Stephanie Dugas, 42, a marketing manager, “The bike leg was quite good. It was very fast, a bit hot though and there were lots of people on the track. It was a bit narrow on the way towards Changi but otherwise it was quite ok.”
As well, the organisers had also done a rather good job in ensuring the safety of the bike leg too, with adequate signages and warnings to inform participants when to slow down and when a turn was approaching and so on, to reduce the chances of accidents or crashes.
Said Anna, “It can be challenging to arrange bike logistics but I thought that this had been nicely organised.”
Run was hot
When I started the run leg, however, the searing sun had been out in full force and it was shining strongly down on me by this point. So it took some effort for me to stabilise my heart rate as I exited the transition area to begin my 5km run. There were some trees along the route and this had provided some degree of shade for me, but it was still insufficient to completely block out the heat from hitting me.
After the swimming and biking, combined together with a lack of sleep over the past few nights, I was also starting to feel a little tired by this point, and I think that probably slowed during the run as well. It was probably one of the longest 5km runs that I had experienced. My heart rate had also been higher than usual, but at least it didn’t skyrocket completely though.
Added Anna, “The run was hot. I struggled with the run the most.”
But luckily there were lots of hydration stations along the 5km running route, serving both ice cold water and Lucozade. I stopped to catch my breath at each of the stations and gratefully took a cold Lucozade at each station and I must say that it was probably the best tasting drink that I have ever had.
Agreed Karin, “The run was ok. There were quite a few hydration points, and that helped me to not feel dehydrated along the way.”
Added Anna, “They had provided a lot of hydration, which is important for an endurance race.”
During the run leg, Karin also felt that it would have been good to have volunteers deployed to cheer on the participants as it may help those who were struggling under the heat. She said, “It would be nice to have people cheering us on maybe with flags and some music.”
A relief to cross the finishing line
It was a relief to see the finishing line and I crossed it gratefully, glad to be able to get a well deserved rest at last.
Added Stephanie, “The most memorable part is always when you see the finish line and realise that you are almost done.”
I accepted my finisher’s medal, but unfortunately the organisers had run out of the bottles of cold Lucozade at the finish point by the time I was done, so I was unfortunately unable to get one at that point.
At least there were plenty of other drinks on-site though, such as healthy protein shakes by Astavita, apple & cranberry cider as well as ice-cold water, in order for me to stay hydrated in the searing heat.
Checking out the post-race amenities
I also spent some time resting inside the VIP tent to escape from the heat, helping myself to some tidbits such as the butter cakes, Thai fishcakes and fried wantons, as I was feeling quite hungry at that point in time; I had not eaten breakfast before the race, for fear of having stomach cramps mid-race. Fortunately too, it had been here that I had picked up what was probably the last bottle of ice-cold Lucozade left.
I also spent time taking photos at the race site, and checking out the sponsor booths available. At the Oakley’s booth, I had my name printed on a free Oakley tee shirt, and finally got to taste some of those mini Milo Cubes that were the talk of the town a few months ago; Oakley’s was giving these out to runners.
And of course, to leave the best for last, I redeemed a couple of free cans of beer from Oakley’s as well.
Improvements for the future
As a whole, the TRI-Factor Triathlon 2017 was rather well organised, but some participants had a few small improvements to make the event even better in the future.
Said Anna, “The race itself was very well organised. But maybe the organiser could have better communication in the lead up to the race. For example, it can be hard to track when the race pack collection was coming up, or when your swim trials are; sending text messages to participants would have been good.”
And added Stephanie, “It would be good if the event waves could have been categorised not by our age, but instead according to our estimated swimming times.”