My First Triathlon - Triathlon Pink Race Report
First thing I want to say is…. I made it!!!!! I didn’t drown, I didn’t crash and I didn’t
cause any havoc out on the course. This race was about trying something
different, having fun and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. My ONLY
aim was to finish the 600m swim, 16km bike ride and 6km run.
This was so different for me. Each day I had something new to get my head
around. At times I felt quite overwhelmed by what I was being asked to do.
However, I remember a wise man telling me that I wouldn’t be asked to do
anything that I wasn’t capable of so I just tried. Some days went well and others
were a struggle.
I am a self taught swimmer (failed my first swimming class when I was 8) and am
not a regular swimmer. I can freestyle and that’s about it. My program had me
swimming distances that I thought only runners did, had me in the open water,
had me backstroking and doing drills. I have to admit that I had to google some of
the drills. The open water swims absolutely terrified me (and still do). There are
sea fauna and flora that touch you, the swell bobs you around all over the place
and worst of all, there is no black line to follow. Learning to swim straight was
tough. At the end of the training, while not a fast swimmer, I felt stronger and
knew I would be able to complete the swim leg. It was helped that the swim was
in a pool.
I started riding my bike regularly about 6 months ago (previous to that was 30
years ago) and have only ridden on bike paths. So another huge learning curve. I
had to learn all the basics like starting and stopping, cornering, changing gears
(especially up hills), basic bike maintenance (thank you 99 bikes) riding on roads
while containing my anxiety. Again I felt overwhelmed by some of the sessions. At
the end of the training, my bottom was getting use to the saddle and I felt more
comfortable riding near and around people.
So after 9 weeks I was (sort of) ready to go...
I was starting to get a bit nervous/terrified about the whole situation (evidenced
by a number of text messages to the coach) and was reminded that I was doing
this for fun. Having my race plan reviewed and given some added tips to help on
the day from the coach was also a major help. I collected my race package on the
Saturday and stayed for the Tips and Tricks clinic. I was so glad I signed up for
this. Here I was able to see where the transition area was, where the exit and
entry areas for the bike and run leg were. I also met people that were in the same
situation as me – first timers and some of them were more nervous than me (I
know, hard to believe).
On the morning of the race, I did my usual routine of breakfast and getting to the
race event with plenty of time. Then the fun began. Although I knew I had to rack
my bike and where to do it, I actually wasn’t sure what to do. Thankfully the
official came and helped me. I then set out all my gear and went for a walk.
At the race briefing which was a reinforcement of what I had heard yesterday we were asked to self seed so I put myself up the back. The five people behind me were just as nervous as me and this was also their first time. We had to enter the pool one at a time and when it was my turn I suddenly realized that there were no lanes and that you had to swim up to and around the buoys. Thankfully I had practiced sighting but trying to get around the buoys was a hilarious challenge.
During the swim, I forgot about what I looked like and just concentrated on
getting to the end. And I actually passed some people.
Once out of the water I then ran through to transition. It took me a while to get
organized. Thank goodness I had a tri suit. I only had to try and get shoes and
sock on. I’d never had managed my bike shorts over my wet swimsuit. I also
needed to take some antihistamines for my cold urticaria as I was going to be
riding wet and in a cool breeze. I followed the nutrition plan, put my shirt, shoes
and helmet on and then headed out of transition. In hindsight, I would have had
my bike closer to the bike end because running with a bike when you are as
coordinated as me is a challenge.
Once out on the track my anxiety started to get out of control so I focused on counting the laps. I had to get up that hill 8 times and then it was all over. This ride was quite challenging as it was really windy (TC Oma wasn’t playing nice) but I realized that everyone was in the same boat.
One of my other concerns was coming through the turn around area. While I had
practiced this, I hadn’t done so with others so that was a bit chaotic. I started
worrying about what chaos I was causing to others but in the end I just
concentrated on myself and what I needed to do. I was happy about managing my
gears going up and down the hill. I made it up each time! When I had completed
the assigned laps I reentered the transition area and racked my bike. This
transition was much faster as I already had my shoes and shirt on. I just needed
to put my visor on and bib.
The run was the only leg I wasn’t concerned about but in the end it was the
hardest. Not because I was struggling but it was a very chaotic and I was not
prepared for that. The course was a 1km loop through the carpark onto a sports
field and then back through the carpark. At the beginning of the loop was the
water station. This was quite difficult to get through as it was very narrow and
congested. At the stage I am on the course, it is very crowded as the fun run event
is now happening. A lot of people were walking and combined with people
stopping for drinks it was difficult to get past. In the end I grabbed a drink,
walked the few metres to get past the bottleneck before taking off again. Where I
could run fast I did.
Running to the finish line and hearing your name called out was terrific. I made
it. Nothing went wrong and while it wasn’t a brilliant time, all my legs were faster
than I had done in training. I’d achieved my goals. I completed a triathlon, I had
fun and I did something way out of my comfort zone. And I got a cool medal and t-
shirt which quietly I’m chuffed about. While still nervous about completing this, I
was more relaxed in this event than any others I’ve done. I can see why people
get addicted to this. Will I do another one??? Stay tuned.