WooooooHooooooo…..I DID IT!!! I am a Triathlete!
It was a fabulous day and it was a mix of what I had imagined and also different to what I expected. Eton Dorney is an amazing venue, wow! That lake stretching off into the distance, what a view!
We arrived and the Triathlon was in full swing with the Standard distance waves and Male Sprints that started earlier in the day. My wave was due to start at 1.30pm so I had plenty of time to have a look around and check things out. After I had registered, had my number scribbled on my hand, swim hat issued and timing chip and number given to me, it all began to feel a bit more real! I had started the morning so nervous I felt sick but getting the venue and seeing things happen, I began to feel a bit better.
I got into transition and chose my “spot”. Racked my bike and then I realised I didn’t really know what I was doing even though in my head I had it all planned out! I had a good look around me and copied a few ideas of setup and then just went with the flow. There was a wave due to start 30 mins before mine, which was the one my friend was in, so I decided to watch her swim start and briefing. The water looked a bit cold judging by people’s reactions. It gave me the heads up and I decided there and then to be last in the water and hang at the side and back.
So off I went to get into my wetsuit and struggle with the swim hat – I cannot for the life of me put one of those things on properly! I was impressed I remembered to put the timing chip on too. I trotted over to the start pen for the swim and then the nerves hit me BIG TIME!! This was it, my nemesis of the whole Triathlon……the SWIM! Oh my God, I was thinking, can I do this? Especially as I walked into the water and the chill hit me, God it was cold!! I ducked straight under to get used to the water temperature and trod water for a bit before the horn went off and away we went.
My attempt to front crawl was almost immediately thwarted and I ended up trying to do front crawl with my head above the water! This was not working so reverted to the good old trusty breast stroke. I was so disappointed as I had trained so hard for front crawl but I couldn’t catch my breath at all in the chilly water and went for safety of head above water and fresh air! I had a mild panic attack 150M or so into the swim when I got out of breath and then saw everyone race ahead in front of me. I was just getting demoralised when I heard people behind me struggling too, I thought I’m not alone! My mask began fogging up and a very nice gentleman in his kayak offered me a “hold on” while I cleared it – nice chap! J A lady behind me urged me on so between us, we decided to give each other encouragement. I got into a good flow the last 200M and began to think I could do it, I saw the end straight and the finish line and I HAD DONE IT!!
Then I stood up and promptly almost fell over, jelly legs! This happened just as the lady on the loud speaker announced my name to the crowd as finishing the swim, how embarrassing! However when she said my time, it was under 15 minutes. I was so happy to have finished that swim at all and to do it under 15 mins doing breaststroke, when my best time in the pool front crawl had been 13 minutes, was brilliant and I wasn’t last!
So on to 1st transition. Not the fastest at 3 mins, but I could NOT get that wetsuit off, my body just wasn’t responding after the swim, at least the swim hat came of easier than trying to put it on! I had brain freeze and had to remember to put my helmet on before anything. I put my shoes and socks on for the bike (and also for the run), race belt, sunglasses and off I went (trying to run!) to the start line for the “bike out” and I was off, the bike, my favourite part!
I loved this, I thought the flat course round the lake was lovely and then I hit the evil headwind on the back straight, URGH!! That was incredibly tough but even with my trusty mountain bike I was overtaking people on road bikes, chuffed J All I could think about was what could I do if I was a road bike? Next year I have to get one of those, I thought! One thing I must do is drink on the bike; I forgot that part and was really thirsty.
Back to transition and I dismounted the bike. There was no chance of running holding onto the bike and not falling over, so I walked really fast, took of the helmet and racked the bike and headed off to the “run out”. Much happier with 1 min 22 secs for 2nd transition! I had to laugh at this point as I thought I was running at an utter snail pace even though I wasn’t, as I found out later. It was so hard after being on the bike. I did expect this feeling though after the brick sessions I had practiced, and knew the feeling would pass. I gulped some energy drink at the drink station (much needed at this point I was so thirsty!) and kept on going. There were a lot of walkers and I was determined that I was NOT going to be one of them. I kept going, then I saw the finish, this was it I had almost done it and then I crossed the line – FINISHED!! HOORAY!! I even got a mention on the loud speaker again and I wasn’t last!!
I did the whole thing in 1 hour 4 mins which at the time, I was pleased about as I had estimated 1 hour 10 mins, but when I started analysing it, I got irritated that I could have saved time. Firstly on the swim if I had done front crawl, then the 1st transition was too slow and the head wind on the bike took 2 mins per lap off. Then I was on a mountain bike which is slower anyway. I was pleased with my run pace – it was faster than usual! So I could have shaved a good 7 mins off my time I reckoned, and finished in under an hour, something to work towards next time!
But, it was fabulous and I loved it! I was very proud of myself for having done it!
I really want to do a Sprint next time but the swim still haunts me, perhaps some winter training will help me go for it!
Already looking for the next one
Thanks for following my journey, it has been fun!