My first triathlon was the Thames Turbo sprint. I really enjoyed it, more than I thought I would. So I did it again.
I’ve done a bit of running since but after getting home from the #hatsradtour I’ve done no cycling. I hoped (vainly) that this wouldn’t be a problem. I felt nervous, underprepared and if I hadn’t promised not to beat myself up about it I’d have felt even worse at the start line.
As it was, I stood in the training pool keeping my feet warm, taking deep breaths and wondering how the next 90 minutes would pan out. At this point I’d done the world’s worst warm up, lost (and found) my bike and goggles and not eaten anything.
I panic if I don’t find my stroke immediately so I told myself that I wouldn’t worry about the first 2 lengths. And of course, found my stroke straight away! If I didn’t feel like a fish, I didn’t feel like a drowning cat.
I ran about looking for my bike, then struggled to get my top on thanks to wet skin.
At the bike mount point I realised I didn’t have my gloves on. The gloves are a two-handed operation at the best of times, especially with wet hands… Not a great start, and things didn’t get much better as I was disappointingly slow. As it went on I felt slightly more comfortable but was overtaken by a lady (who told me in transition that she’d been chasing me the whole way) who I couldn’t get back in front of and so held back a little so I didn’t get too close. I should have smashed it to get convincingly in front of her.
I ran about looking for my bike spot, forgot to grab a gel – not that it would do much but I was absolutely famished – and tried to ignore the fact that I was wearing a trisuit and gloves. Oh, the joys of poor circulation.
It started well. Well, not well, but not terrible. Into the park, looking for my friends who’d said they’d come. 1k done. 2k done. Water station, cup of water downed (first liquid since yesterday evening), immediate stitch. Dragged myself to 3k. Thought about asking some horse riders if I could borrow a horse. 4k, zonked, no energy, leaden feet, feeling like crap. 5k, urgh god.
Lessons to learn
- Don’t ride to the start if it’s further than the bike leg. It’s stressful and tiring.
- Don’t spend the day before racing helping your boyfriend move house. If you think that’s a euphemism you might be right.
- Pack a towel (yes, this was a lesson from last time).
- Eat dinner the night before and breakfast that morning!
- Don’t lose your bike. Not once, not twice, and certainly not THREE TIMES.
- Try changing gears on the bike, instead of doing it in one gear.
- Don’t rely on seeing friends as a pick-me-up, in case they don’t show up.
- Afterwards, don’t scrub your arms with a hammam mitt to get your race number off, you’ll make your arms bleed.
- Swim: 00:10:14 (2:24/100m – improvement from 2:35/100m last year)
- T1: 00:02:13
- Bike: 00:46:40 (27.6km/h – at least a minute went on the gloves; but last year I averaged 28.9km/h)
- T2: 00:01:29
- Run: 00:29:22 (5:52/km – last year was 6:00/km but this is still awful)
- Total: 01:29:58
I didn’t do well and I’m particularly disappointed with the bike. I take some solace in beating my overall time from last year despite not riding my bike AT ALL or eating anything. With a bit of breakfast – and no pesky gloves – my bike time would have been more similar to last year and I wouldn’t have fallen apart so dramatically on the run. Time to start planning the next race!