I am a Triathlete!

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!


It’s nearly time!

I HAVE A COLD!!  What great timing! The joys of one child going back to pre-school and the other one starting school, let’s bring all the bugs home to Mummy just before she embarks on her first ever Triathlon this coming Sunday. *sigh*  So after having a brilliant week training last week and feeling I was getting somewhere, I then come down with the lurgy!  Humph!

Luckily, I wasn’t planning on doing too much this week on the training front as to be honest, I think if I’m not fit enough by now I never will be by Sunday but I did want to be able to do something!!  Right now I don’t have the energy to run and if I swam I would probably snort water everywhere with bad breathing!  Not to mention the achy limbs…

Hmmmm. What to do? Pack!

I need to get sorted with all the kit I will be taking. It’s quite overwhelming having to remember everything. I just know I will forget something so a list is a must I think!

I am driving from Poole to Bracknell on Friday where I will be staying with friends, one of whom is also doing her first Triathlon so we can be stupidly nervous together!  I better not forgot the bike or the wetsuit – that’s important isn’t it?  Ha ha. It will keep my mind busy on something as when I begin to think about the Triathlon itself my stomach goes into mental nervous butterflies and I get really nervous! Then I get excited!  How odd is that?

So, my plan this week is very simple, first and foremost get rid of the lurgy and then try not to forget to pack anything important, try to get at least one run and one swim in (just because I can) and finally try not to get too nervous about the weekend fast approaching…

So, will I be saying this time next week “I did it, I’m a Triathlete.”?

I hope so!

Ten Sleeps ‘Til I’m Giving it a Tri

In less than two weeks’ time I really hope to be uttering those words “I am a Triathlete”!

That means I have less than two weeks to be prepared for this challenge.  It became very real yesterday when I received my race pack information about wave start times, do’s and don’ts and general details about “in water” swim starts (I’m actually relieved about this as the thought of diving in and losing my mask would be a typical outcome if I had to start like that!) and transition etiquette.  Not long to go now…..gulp!

I had a fabulous week just gone with my training, which makes a change.  I managed to train pretty much every day in every discipline ending up with a 10K run on Sunday which I was very pleased about.  I didn’t managed to do a brick session but I hope to achieve that this coming week.  I know I won’t be able to do a swim to bike one but I can do a bike to run session which I personally reckon may be the hardest to do because of jelly legs!

I have finalised, in my head at least, all the kit I need and even got a race belt for my number this week.  I thought that would be the easiest option as I can spin the number depending on whether I am on a bike or running.  I have my Tri Suit (I still can’t believe I am going out in public in it!), the footwear is sorted and the bike will be my trusty mountain bike of old. It’s not the fastest but I don’t have to think about new bike techniques and I just want to finish! The wetsuit and goggles are sorted and I have a box to put it all in for transition… oh and a towel! lol

I’m still trying to not get too irritated that I will be starting at super sprint distance.  I so wish I could be going for a sprint as I’ve said before, but the swim for me is my biggest challenge.  I have been struggling to do the 450m swim distance in the pool without stopping and I just haven’t improved in time at all.  It is frustrating to not be improving with my swimming as at this point, I really wanted to be able to say I can swim the whole distance without stopping and gasping for breath!

The thought of jumping into Dorney Lake and being in colder, murky DEEP water, adrenaline race nerves attacking and the hustle and bustle of the start of the swim leg of the Tri is a little scary to say the least. Has anyone got any advice or can pre-warn me of anything that is likely to throw me about this part, as I really don’t know what to expect?  I just can’t seem to think beyond the swim at the moment. It’s really beginning to freak me out!

I haven’t really been aiming my training at anything specific over the last weeks, as I have been concentrating on everything.  If anything, the bike side of things has been neglected the most as that is the discipline that I am most confident with.

Does anyone taper their training for a Triathlon or do you train till the end?  I feel I need to swim as much as possible over the next 10 days as panic sets in!

So… 10 more sleeps to go… EEEEKKK!

A Technological Triathlon?

I am a bit of a technical geek, I LOVE my Garmin.  Unfortunately I love my Husband’s Garmin more as it’s a multifunctional waterproof one that allows swimming, both in open water and the pool, as well as bike and run with the push of a button.  I often “borrow” his for my pool sessions and find it very hard to give it back!

I love statistics and have been comparing and analysing my performance since I started swimming and biking as well as running.  I have been really surprised to see that my average heart rate during runs has decreased from top 160’s to top 150’s over the last couple of months.  My running pace has increased (not much I have to point out) slightly and biking has become more comfortable for my backside!   My fitness seems be improving.

I have been dabbling with the idea of using my Husband’s Garmin to use on the Tri as I would love to be able to compare all the statistics, timings, etc and record it for posterity! However, am I going to be complicating things by “remembering” to push the buttons at the right time?  I will have enough to think about.  How do you get your wetsuit off without it getting stuck on your Garmin?  What have been others experiences of using Garmins, etc. for their triathlons, has it been worth it?

I have also noticed, as well as the Geeky statistical side of things, that physically I am much stronger in my arms than I have ever been.  This has been most noticeable during my Yoga sessions when I am hanging around upside down in handstand or managing to hold my arms wide and up for a much longer period of time that I have ever been able to do before.  Swimming has definitely improved things for me there!

This week has been a bit of a dudd on the training front again.  I just didn’t have time to fit much in which was very disappointing.  We also ended up camping this weekend in order to support my Husband Andy in an adventure race he was taking part in.  We thought by camping near to the event it would be easier for us all to watch and cheer him on.  Unfortunately that meant no training for me either. However, I am very proud to report that he finished 19th out of 152 runners who in my opinion, were all bonkers for participating in the most horrific race I could ever think of taking part in involving hills (or mountains in my view), mud, bogs, electric fences, 8ft walls, water slides, more hills and more mud over an 8 mile course…….give me a Triathlon any day!  Oh, wait a minute…….that’s in just under 3 weeks time……gulp!

Am I feeling ready physically? I feel I’m getting there.

Am I ready mentally? One word… NO!

A True Triathlete

It is amazing how one day I can swing form being super excited and very positive with my upcoming triathlon, to utter fear and dread wondering what have I done entering this thing?  It all depends on how the training goes, especially the swim (there’s a surprise!)  I have decided that I must keep plodding on with that part of my training and realise that on the day, I will do what I can do, even if it means breastroke for the whole distance!  A little flip on my back to catch my breath, and off I go again. I must be on a positive day today while writing this!

When people find out I have entered a tri, I get a range of reactions from, “Wow, what an amazing to thing to do!” to, “Are you bonkers??”  I look at it as the most amazing thing I have tried to do in a VERY long time. The thought of crossing that finish line having successfully completed three disciplines fills me with huge excitement and (I hope) the feeling of achievement on the day will be worth all this fear beforehand!


I am now thinking I should have entered the sprint distance! (Wow! I must be on a positive day!)  I’m feeling a little bit of a fraud going for a distance of 10km bike, 2.5km run and a 450m swim.  Now the run and the bike, if I’m being honest, are reasonably easy distances on their own and I keep thinking they won’t be a challenge enough for me… then I remember the swim…if ONLY I could swim better and farther than I can now then I wouldn’t hesitate to go for the next distance up of 750M swim, 20km bike and 5km run.

Has anyone out there started with the super sprint distance then progressed up to sprint? What did you think of the jump up? I am finding myself looking at triathlons for next year even though I haven’t done one yet!  I think I am seriously getting hooked at the thought of being a triathlete!

During my training I have loved getting back on my bike again. Before this, it had been such a long time since I got on a bike and just went off for a ride. The exhilaration of speeding along with the wind in your hair (or helmet!) is brilliant – until you swallow a bug at 20mph and choke!  Haha, anyone done that?  It’s also a frequent occurrence on my runs up my local trail path YUK !

I have been thinking of my transitions again this week.  I don’t own clippy shoes – the thought of them makes me shudder as I can imagine falling flat on my side when I can’t get my feet unclipped fast enough!  Everyone I know has had that happen, including my husband – it did look VERY funny when he did it in front of me, although his damaged bike light didn’t like it so much. Also, I think it might look a bit daft on a mountain bike. So the thoughts for shoes are simple – I come out of the swim and just put on my trainers I use for running to do the bike, therefore saving time on the second transition when I go from bike to run as I’ll already have my shoes on!   The fact that it might take me five minutes to try and get my shoes on wet feet on the first transition will mean I’ll gain the time back on the next one. I have no idea why I’m even thinking of times actually, I’m likely to be last anyway!

So here comes another week of trying to do the juggling act of training, kids, life and work. Although things are looking brighter; school holidays are over! Yippeeeee!

The First Hurdle

A crisis of confidence; that is what I am facing right now. My faith in my swimming ability is being tested to the limit this week.  I was always very worried entering a triathlon that my swimming would be my biggest challenge to overcome. No matter how hard I try, I seem to be hitting a brick wall in technique and progress.  How am I going to be able to complete the first discipline of any triathlon – the swim!   I am confident in the water and used to murky, cold waters when scuba diving in the UK but, I have decided that I must also be one of the worlds worst front crawlers. I just can’t seem to be able to swim continuously in a pool for 450M without stopping every two, four or six lengths, let alone the whole distance open water!  My timing for 450m at best, has been 14 minutes, which is like a snail! Now add in lots of thrashing arms and legs, chilly murky open water, strange wetsuits and the adrenaline and excitement of a race environment and I am on course to fail and drown in the middle of a lake at this rate. How on earth can I get past this?  I feel I need to swim seven days a week to try and improve but realistically I don’t think that will help *sigh*. Ok, someone give me a virtual slap and tell me to snap out of this! Advice needed and appreciated!

On a positive note, I have had a more successful week with training. I managed to fit in a couple of runs, swims, some yoga and I did a cracking bike ride – I was very proud of myself that I managed a speed of 27.5mph on my mountain bike! Wooohooo! I was thinking at the time, “Please don’t fall off” as it could get gruesome with cars flying by me but wow, that wasn’t too shabby on mountain bike. Just think what I could do on a road bike. On that note I have now decided to do this first tri using my tried and tested mountain bike. I will look out of place I’m sure but who cares? At this rate I won’t make it past the swim anyway!

My running is just plodding quite nicely – I am really not worried too much about the run or bike part as, being a super sprint, the distances are very manageable. I know putting them all together will certainly be a huge challenge but for me, the swim is the biggest hurdle to overcome.

I have been trying to get inspiration by watching the World Triathlon Series this last weekend. I often had my mouth open in awe at these amazing triathletes and what they are achieving. I can only dream of being that good.  I try to get some inspiration and some tips on transition watching these things. What do other triathletes do for tips and inspiration?

I so want to be able to finish this Triathlon. That is my goal and ultimately my inspiration to keep trying to get better at my worst discipline.

My week trying to train!

My plan this week was to do a mix of at least 3 x runs, 2 x swims, yoga and a cycle ride but things don’t always go to plan when you have two little lads to look after, combined with school holidays, lack of childcare and trying to juggle your working commitments. Throw in a weekend camping trip and the result…a disaster on the training front!

I only managed 1 x run, 1 x swim and a yoga session. It was a very disappointing week.It’s awful to feel the pressure to keep up the training and then fail miserably but I am trying to put it into perspective that I can only do what I can with my family and work commitments, but I end up being frustrated ALOT!

I have been trying to decide on what to do about the bike situation this week too.  I currently have a mountain bike, which I love riding and feel so comfortable with. Realistically though, if I want to have decent speed on the cycle leg of the Triathlon, then I need to perhaps look at the road bike option. I have never really ridden a road bike and when I tried out a friends a couple of weeks ago, it didn’t go well.  I didn’t realise that the gears were part of the breaks, etc… I felt like a right idiot when I couldn’t change gears round the block!  And how narrow are these bikes?  I’m used to bulky, chunky mountain bike wheels and you’re supposed to be able to balance at speed on these things??? A quick look online and I’m still none the wiser. Perhaps I should just go with what I’m comfortable using for now and look out of place in amongst the road bikes…is it REALLY going to improve my performance THAT much?  And how many new Triathletes use mountain bikes?  I really don’t want to look out of place and although I just want to be able to complete the Triathlon, there is also a part of me that wants to at least TRY to be competitive and not come last!

 I did bite the bullet in regard to what I’ll be wearing though…..I brought a Tri-suit!!  It’s VERY tight but I really hope it will be one less thing to worry about on transitions although in the back of my mind, I keep thinking, what DO I look like in this???

Tune in next week where I will hopefully say I’ve ran loads, cycled loads and managed a 450m swim without stopping…….hmmm what’s the likelihood of that happening?  I can but hope!