It’s the day after I’ve officially become a triathlete and I don’t quite think it has sunk in yet. It’s crazy (good) how much went into preparing for this day, all in the lead up to Windsor Triathlon in June.
Forty eight hours before I was due to be on the start line, I woke up feeling very, very unwell. I had an uncomfortable stomach, a headache, felt tired lethargic which totalled to not feeling capable of going to work never mind taking part in a three disciplined event. I spent the next 2 days resting, hydrating and feeding my body with nourishing foods.
It meant I woke up on Sunday 17th May able to make my way across London and take part in my first ever triathlon.
Swim 400m | Bike 21.2km | Run 5km
|Image Credit: Human Race FB|
Setting up for the race start went quickly. We entered transition with just under an hour to go and before I knew it, we were in the water ready to go!
I used the time to set up my transition area with all the kit I would need. So my bike kit and running shoes, plus towel and snacks to keep me going. I also finished getting dressed for the swim and squeezed into my wetsuit. Wetsuits were optional but there was no way I was going to be swimming without mine!
Swim | 400m | 27:02
Five minutes before the start, we had our briefing. This is where I started to struggle; we entered the water for the briefing and had to tread water to stay afloat and listen. For me, not being well and nervous, treading water was a huge waste of energy. So by the time our start was signalled, I was completely stressed out! I made a go for it, then had to turn back and just gather myself and my thoughts together. I had a quick chat to the race marshals who got one of the guys in the kayaks to stay with me for my swim. This made me feel much more comfortable knowing someone would be keeping an eye on me!
|Image Credit: Human Race FB|
I tried to get in a rhythm swimming breaststroke but I was so nervous it was insane. I reverted back to breaststroke with my head out of the water which had its own difficulties; the first part of the course was against the current so meant I had waves splashing into my face. I swallowed some water a couple times which made me cough and splutter but when I needed to I was able to hang on to the kayak to catch my breath and regain composure. I eventually made it to the first buoy for a right turn which meant I was swimming across the current. Somehow this was only the finest bit easier with the waves splashing one side of my face! I gave front crawl a go and it felt quite comfortable, I just wasn’t relaxed enough to keep it going!
At the next buoy it was another right turn and heading for the finish line. By now I was relieved to be swimming / taken along by the current! I gave front crawl another go and managed to make it to the shallow part of the lake just before I got joined by the wave behind me! The kayak crew were amazing; they obviously knew the lake really well and instructed me where the lake was shallow and would get deep then guided me over to the ramp at the finish line.
I was a little overwhelmed finishing the swim and exited the water into transition with a banging headache.
T1 | 4:08
My bike was positioned right next to the “swim out” area so took me little to no time to find it. I got a little stuck getting my wetsuit off over my tomtom watch on my wrist and the timing chip on my ankle but eventually it was on the floor and I was dressed to ride in my tri suit, socks, cleated shoes, sunglasses and cycle jersey. I removed my bike from the stand and made a run / walk for the “bike out”. Next up was 4 (approx) 5km laps of the bike course…
Bike | 21.1km | 1:01:17
I used the start of the bike section to get hydrated, refocus, get my legs into the swing of things and get some energy down me; I took along shotbloks to use as they taste great, are easy to digest and I have used them before. The first half of the bike lap was a little uphill and into the wind which made it quite uncomfortable. The second half however was flat and less windy so I just relaxed each time at the start of the lap and pushed to fishing each lap. I kept an eye on my pace on the watch to see if I could keep it consistent.
|Image Credit: SportCam|
T2 | 1:35
I came through the “bike in” found my spot and switched into my trainers after racking my bike and removing my helmet. The “run out” was also next to my racking spot so I just glugged down a little extra water and made a run for it.
Run | 5km | 32:44
The 5km run was an out and back twice. It was the place where you were closest to other competitors and the support between participants was amazing. By this point I was running with all the guys in the waves behind me but that didn’t put me off at all!
|Image Credit: SportCam|
Coming into the finish line was a guy next to me who said “lets sprint finish” …I thought why not! Then he said “race me! …beat me to the finish!” …so I mustered up the last bit of energy I had and gave it my all….
It was at this point that I started to look for my medal …only to then realise that our “medal” was a t-shirt which we received before we even started the event. I was a little disappointed, and still am (I’d planned on sharing an amazing photo of my new bling live on FB when I got it!) but at the end of the day it doesn’t take away from the fact that I AM A TRIATHLETE. I also have a orange swim cap to remember my wave and the awesome memories of the morning!
A huge Thank You to the volunteers on the day, especially the guys in the kayaks who supported me through my whole swim, the guy on the bike course who counted all my laps and gave me words of encouragement every time I cycled past him, all the competitors who spoke to me and kept me going through the run, to the guy who challenged me to sprint and race him across the finish line.
I love that before this day, I had no idea what time I could do this in and now I have a time to work on and I know where I can improve in the future. By no means am I done with triathlon. Four weeks left till Windsor and I plan on being there and working for that medal…
What was your first experience of triathlon like?!
p.s a huge Thank You to Human Race for the place in this event and support along my journey to Windsor. Thank You also to SportCam for the photographs. As always, all opinions are my own 🙂