My First Triathlon ~ 13 November 2011

I Completed a Triathlon.

4:00 am on Sunday the 13th of November, I got out of bed to prepare for the drive to Robina for my first Triathlon.

I had barely slept a wink that night.  I felt full of nerves and although once my boyfriend arrived around 8 pm and reassured me and assisted with preparing my training gear, giving me a visual of how my gear would be laid out in the transitions area along with my bike.  I did start to feel more relaxed and more interested in paying attention to him then thinking about the next day.

4.30 am We are in the car driving to Robina.  I brought along my pillow to try to get some extra rest, nerves were getting the better of me this morning.  I started to feel sick in my stomach but did not disclose this information at the time.  Breathed quietly and started talking about anything, rattling off everything that came to mind very fast.

5:45 am Arriving my boyfriend assembled my mountain bike and pumped up its wheels.  I remember standing next to him just staring quietly.  It was time to walk towards the event area.  Feeling pretty good at this point, mostly worrying about getting changed into my new swimsuit as soon as possible, registering and placing everything correctly in the transition area.

6:45 am I’ve changed, had a nervous tear of fear, my boyfriend was making me laugh and relax before the triathlon, distracting me by taking photos.  We run into a friend of his that happens to be in the same wave as myself.  Her presence diffidently gave me more confident of actually taking off to swim when the gun was fired to start.  He took me for a 100m warm up swim in the canal, the water was so dirty with less than a foot of visibility, weeds and vines that felt as if a jelly fish was wrapping around my legs and arms as I followed him around swimming freestyle.

Before the Triathlon

7:00 am Time’s up, I gave my boyfriend a big hug and kiss, he gave me a quick tap on my bum to wish me good luck. I lined up standing next to my boyfriends friend and listening to her chatter amongst the other girls.  She’s done a few of these before and so have a few of the others.  This being an Enticer Race which is shorter for beginners, I wondered why these girls are taking the easy road?  The next level can not be that hard with a bit more training I thought.

7:07 am It’s now time to get into the water, I look back to find my boyfriend but I can’t find him, place my goggles on slowly treaded the water, I looked around, keeping to the inner left of the squad.  I swam backwards remembering an article I read about people’s feet suddenly kicking you in the face as you begin to take off and swim. I wasn’t keen on a back eye today.  I heard the 30 second call looked for my boyfriend again, found him and turned back to the start line.

7:09 am The starter gun goes off, I actually started to swim instead of stalling as expected.  Swimming freestyle too fast at first because of my nerves, I slow my pace down and caught my breath. Catching a glimpse of the red buoy ahead, fixed my position and continued to swim ahead.  I felt relatively safe, confident and looking forward to touching dry land again.  Alternating between, freestyle, breast stroke and doggy paddled 200 meters in 5 minuets 35 seconds.  I was out of the water, ripped off my goggles and swimming cap while running into the transition area.  Whoa, feeling damn good now!

I ran around the transition area until I reached my bike and gear, placed on my helmet, shorts, socks, shoes, race belt and my almighty Superman sweat wrist band that gives me awesome superpowers! (also had a few puffs of my Ventolin Puffer, feeling short of breath from the swim) Lifting my heavy mountain bike off the rack I ran down the bike aisle, out onto the bike course.  Nearly having a pile up as I attempted to mount my bike, 3rd time lucky, I’m off.  I took this part really casually, riding a mountain bike in 6th gear unlike all the road bikes passing me, I didn’t mind.  I always feel empowered on a bike like I’m flying.  With the wind in my face, eyes focused straight ahead and just enjoying the first chance I’ve had in weeks to go for a ride.  I spent most of my school years riding around the north side of Brisbane on weekends and two and from school.  I use to love BMXing until a broken knee injury put an end to my dare-devil days.

Noticing men passing me, I sped up in an attempt to overtake, only over taking a few girls.  Riding into transition I dismounted my bike and ran it up to the rack lifting its heavy frame.  Took off my helmet, grabbed my water bottle and just ran.  Forgetting I had just ridden 5km in 15-16  minutes (time in transition is included in your bike time total 20 minutes 26 seconds), my legs felt wobbly and nearly fell over when dodging another competitor.

I’m out on the open road, the final leg of the triathlon.  I just kept staring ahead, the sun came out from behind the clouds and I felt hot.  I hate the heat, especially summer heat, glad to have my water bottle sipping it every few minutes.  I passed volunteers handing out plastic cups of water, grabbed one and poured it over my head.  Now that felt great!  The cool water slipped down my top, soaked my pants and gave me a great refresh to push on, I only had about 1.5 km left to run. I continued to just look ahead and keep going at a nice steady pace.  Slower than what I’ve been training at.  Just perfect for the race.  I reached the half way point feeling a stitch I slowed to a fast walk, but kept pushing on.  200m of walking and I decided to run up the slight hill poured some more wonderful cool water over myself.  Coming over the hill I could see the finish line, it was just there 500 metre’s ahead of me…. It’s just there!  I sped up, feeling the stitch take hold again.  I didn’t care I had this in the bag and could feel the biggest smile across my face. 2km in 13 minutes 22 seconds.  I saw my boyfriend ahead in the crowd, hearing his supportive cheers at every leg of the triathlon was the greatest motivation for me, I love his smiling face and was so looking forward to a hug and kiss.

I flew past the finish line, saw a seat and just landed my bum in it to take off the timer strap from my leg. Getting up I felt wobbly until seeing my honey and ran towards him.  Without his help and encouragement I don’t think I would ever had given it a go.  I would never have had the chance to feel the rush after finishing, and eating the much-needed fruit and Gatorade after completing! I’m one of those “Crazy People” now he said.

I had a fantastic race! With new distances ahead, a Personal Best to bet and the next race in my reach, I’m going to have a go at the next level.  Time to get training!

Mars on Life.