Monday, February 10, 2014

My first Triathlon race!

What a weekend!  Sunday morning I completed my first triathlon, it was a short course distance up at Bribie Island about an hour from home.

The distances:
300m swim
10km cycle
3km run

This is the first time in the open water for me and I was suffering with terrible anxiety about it.  I am usually not an anxious person but I was freaking out every time I thought about jumping in with a heap of other people at the same time and battling to get to the giant markers bobbing about in the water.  I am so pleased that in the last few weeks I had made myself practice without flippers in the pool, without the prior knowledge of just how slow I would feel I can't imagine how I would have coped with the anxiety.  Of all the three stages, the swim is still the most vivid in my memory, it felt to me as though it assaulted all my senses.  The noise was immense with everyone swimming around me, the salt water felt as though it made my tongue swell within my mouth to twice the size and the inability to see where I was going underwater made me panic.  I lost count of the times that I was whacked or kicked on my body, I was at the mercy of the waves and currents and talked sternly to myself the whole way through just to get to the end.  I was pleased it was only 300m, however I believe that had the swim been longer I would have been able to calm down and find a rhythm, making the whole experience less terrifying.

I did complete the swim in 7 minutes, and came 10th out of 24 swimmers, honestly it was slower than what I wanted, I had a lofty goal of completing the swim leg in 5 minutes, however the woman that came fastest in our category didn't even achieve that, so I may have over reached there!

Next up was the cycle, my biggest goal here was to remember not to ride through transition or fall off while trying to get clipped in, and I was hoping to complete the ride in under 30 minutes.  I achieved all of these things, just.  Turns out nerves, shaky legs and everyone trying to clip in at the same point made me fumble, and fumble, and fumble getting onto the bike and peddling away.  I was so frustrated but happy to eventually get there.  This route had no hills (Yay!) but plenty of corners and round a bouts which I still slow down a lot for, definitely something to work on for future races.  Overall I was happy with how I went, it was a big learning curve, and taught me that I have so much more to learn if I want to improve my cycling.  I finished the 10km in 25:50 which was well within my goal and came 22nd out of 24 riders.  Lots of room for improvement!

The run leg was always going to be my strength, but I just didn't know how much to push it, my legs were tired, I was hugging and puffing away and desperate to have a drink and get rid of the salty water out of my mouth, but I didn't want to waste the time it would take to stop, however next time, I will take the extra few seconds in transition to have a drink and calm down first before heading off.  Starting out I felt strong so decided to take it a bit easy until the turn around and then use whatever power I had left for the run back.  It worked, I did the run in 13:48 and came 5th out of the 24 in my category.

Overall I cam 13th out of 24 which I am really happy with.  Lots of firsts were ticked off and I learnt a huge amount to use for next time, I am not sure that I will be any less terrified of the swim having prior knowledge but I will be more prepared for what it feels like.  There is one more triathlon left in this series in a months time, I am hoping I will be able to make it up and complete the same one after working on a few areas (must cycle more).  It will be a few weeks before the half marathon so shouldn't impede on my performance or training for that race.

I have definitely been bitten by the triathlon bug, but with a healthy dose of respect for the training and hard work that will be required to feel prepared and comfortable turning up to race day.  

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