After years of contemplating it and faffing about and entering races and then not doing them, debating the purchase of a bike, buying the wrong size bike, selling it again and buying the right size bike, buying the wrong size wetsuit, selling it, buying the right size wetsuit, starting swimming lessons, stopping swimming lessons, starting swimming lessons again, thinking I can train myself, freaking myself out, hiring a coach – aaaaaaaaaaargh. Finally. I did my first tri on Sunday.
I will spare you the full blow-by-blow. I had actually written it out but it was kind of boring, even to me. Which would, no doubt, mean it is totally boring to you.
So I will give you some highlights on each element:
- nerve-wracking. It was a pool swim where people were set off every 2 minutes, slowest going first. Coach had told me to go hypoxic and I took this seriously – halfway through I wanted to die / give up / pull out / forget about the whole thing. Hung on in there though and finished. 10:30 for the swim and the run out of the pool to the transition area (generously will make that a 60 second run so a 9:30 swim. Not awful).
- stressful – I could not get past the girl in front of me – there were too many people in my lane (5/6) to get long enough to swim past her. So I eventually swam under her. She must have been surprised to see me bob up in front of her. She was on my toes for the rest of the swim as I slowed down a bit…
- Thankfully someone had warned me about the start being steep so I had my bike in an easy gear. This was the course (out and back). I took it a bit too easy I think – I did the 17.5 km in 39:30. Overtook people on the uphills, lost them on the downhills. I must be able to fix that somehow next time.
- Again, a bit of a bear of a course (the map is a bit short because it is a 5km, run in two loops).
- Loved this. The hard bits were over with – this is where I was in my comfort zone. Yes, it was my first ever 5K but hey – that was always going to be a PB then wasn’t it? The first hill took a bit of doing but I powered up it the second time much more confidently and really enjoyed the downhill. 22:45 overall which I was very happy with as a first 5K time.
|Can you see I’m happy? Happy to be done as well.|
Transitions (apparently known as the fourth discipline in triathlon):
- took a bit of doing! An extremely kind and helpful triathlete I had met at the pool in the week prior had emailed me his packing list and a list of everything he does on the day before and before the race to get ready. Invaluable! Made me feel much more in control.
- A person setting up next to me offered to look over my bike and transition areas and helped me to set it all up a bit more efficiently.
- I was a bit inefficient in my transitions – the times were 1:50 and 1:39 and I think I farted about a bit too much…
- 2 days prior to the race I went to a local-ish tri shop to buy an all-in-one trisuit (am wearing it above). The trisuit was great once I got over the sensation that I was naked – I kept feeling I was in one of those nightmares where everyone else is dressed and you’re not. On the bike I threw over a long sleeved top (not really necessary though). The seating area, however, was not so comfy on this short bike ride. Do you think I could wear a proper pair of cycling shorts over the trisuit in a longer race? Anyone ever done this?
- I also bought a new wetsuit (on account of the fact that I could not squeeze myself into the old one I had) and this was a success insofar as wedging myself into a tight neoprene skin could ever be classed as a success. There’s a lake on the farm where we live so I went out in on Saturday. Cold. COLD! But just about manageable in the wetsuit. My hands and feet were freezing though. I’ll try again this weekend.
So next it’s the Olympic-distance triathlon in 4 weeks. 1500m open water swim – swim coach and overall coach say I can do it. It will be a very different race from this friendly, fairly casual affair last Sunday – there are a lot of serious age-groupers (like my use of the lingo?) taking part and it’s a much bigger, more official affair. Am happy to lag at the back though – this is all about making it through and figuring it out. So back to the pool / bike / run again this week!