So yesterday I conquered my 2nd sprint triathlon and it couldn’t have been more different to the first one that I did back in 2012. I’d signed up for that one to lose some weight and get moving again, which I did until I went into denial 6 weeks before the event and stopped training. Needless to say that I struggled through the race and genuinely thought that I was going to die in the middle of the swim.
This time I raced around with a massive grin on my face because I loved it. I loved everything about it. But more on that at the end.
Let’s start with a tutorial on how (not) to put on a wetsuit:
Step 1 – after you’ve lubed up with Bodyglide, start with the feet
Step 2 – once the crotch of the wetsuit is vaguely near your own crotch start shimmying the top of it upwards and over your lubed up wrists
Step 3 – Don’t use your nails to pull the wetsuit up because you’ll make holes in it. And those holes will leak water during the swim and it will be cold. Anyway, get it over your shoulders by wriggling like hell
Step 4 – well done, you’ve got it on. Now stop sweating from all of the effort and go and do a triathlon
Onto the race report.
After racking my bike and laying out my bike and run kit I waddled down to the lake with a couple of other nervous triathletes and I promptly slipped straight onto my arse on the ramp and had to choke back a tear from the pain. Great start.
The swim was slow and cold but delightful! I tried out a bit of front crawl before I realised that it was not going to work and I settled into a comfortable breaststroke while I watched the rest of my wave stretch out in front of me.
Accompanied by the amazing kayak marshals I plodded my way round the swim course enjoying the beautifully clear and fresh waters.
When I eventually made it out of the water everything was shaking from the adrenaline. I fumbled out of my wetsuit and shoved my socks and trainers onto wet feet. At this stage I was struggling to keep my legs going in a straight line but I knew that once I was on my bike I could settle down.
The course at Eton Dorney is very flat so I put my head down for 4 laps of the 5km course. There was a headwind cycling up the right-hand side which I really felt in my legs but then as soon as I came round the top of the lake the wind dropped off and I flew down the other side.
3 laps in and I chewed on half a coconut and macadamia Bounce energy ball washed down with water to keep me going. At this point there were lots of people flying past me and with every one I smiled a little bit more because this was my race and no one else’s.
I turned off into transition knowing that the worst was over and I just had a little run to do and then I could sit down. My legs felt tired as I ran out of transition so I took the opportunity to walk through the water station before setting off up the side of the lake for 2 laps of a very straight, very boring run route.
At this point I was really feeling the tiredness and my legs had switched to autopilot, which was especially tough because there was no support (apart from my superstar number 1 cheerleader amazing Mum). Everyone was cheering for their own runners and no one else which was so at odds with my experience of Run Dem Crew. Having cheered at a few races now and run one race being cheered by the crew I fully appreciate the power of Cheer Dem and it was sorely missed here.
I slogged through the run and tried to gear up for my customary sprint finish. Unfortunately my legs only responded for a split second before I had to resort to my arms to carry me over the line.
As I crossed the line I stopped instantly and tried to catch my breath. I simply didn’t have anything left which made me very proud. I’d left everything on the course and couldn’t have given it anything else. In fact, Mum you nearly got me by telling me how proud you were of me. Remember when I had my head down on the barrier? Yep, choking back a triumphant tear.
As I said in my last post my main aim of the race was to enjoy it and I did. I loved it. I loved feeling strong and fit, I loved being part of something amazing and I loved seeing how far I’d come since the last one.
I also managed to come in comfortably under 2 hours for a massive 21 minute personal best. I knocked 1 minute off my swim (yes, this needs some serious work), 6 minutes off my bike and a massive 10 minutes off my run as well as a huge 4 minutes off my transition times.
With 9 weeks to go before I take on the Olympic distance triathlon at the London Triathlon I can now see my weaknesses and I’ll be signing up for some swimming lessons next week. Can’t wait to ramp up the training!