Last weekend I finally completed something I have been working towards since last September.
Regular readers will know that my training has been shocking this year for a number of reasons so, I can’t lie, I approached this with some trepidation. I had already abandoned running the Southampton HM as I felt the need to cut myself some slack after the nightmare that was Hampton Court Palace Half.
So, background covered, back to the post in hand… The TryTri Mayday Triathlon.
Somehow I was talked into upgrading my novice entry to the sprint distance… Of course I promptly convinced my brother to upgrade too!!
To my surprise and amazement, I was actually pretty relaxed about the race. I packed the day before, checked my bike over and prepped a selection of drinks and food.
My clubmate, Emma and I were like a couple of squealing school girls when we met up to head to the venue! For the first time in a very long time, I was truly excited about an event.
On arrival we registered, received our race packs and stuck around for the race briefing. So far so good!
HERC had their own wave so we all racked our bikes together.
With an hour to kill it was obviously a priority to get my hair done!! My usual ponytail doesn’t really work well for a Tri due to the cycle helmet. My French plait skills aren’t really up to much but thankfully Helen came to my rescue..
So, racked and ready to go, it was just a case of waiting for our wave start time.
Undoubtedly my weakest link… We got invited through to watch an earlier wave so that the less confident amongst us could feel reassured of the variety of swim styles and skill levels.
Finally, around 20 minutes after our wave start time, we made it into the pool. A quick 1 minute warm up and we were off. Released at 10 second intervals all I had to do was keep moving and keep count!!
400m done – around 11:33 – a tad slower than in training but not too much. So far so good!
Trotting down to my bike, which I couldn’t spot at first, I made a snap decision to change my plans from wearing a jacket to just throwing a t-shirt on over the Tri suit. (I felt a bit exposed given my resemblance to an overstuffed sausage in my very unforgiving Tri suit!). Socks and shoes on, helmet on, bike off the rack…… And the comedy jog in cleats to the mount line.
Being reasonably new to clip-ins I couldn’t just leap on my bike and get going without stopping to get myself properly set up.
Once I had that obstacle sorted I set off close behind my brother and another HERC lady. It didn’t take long for me to lose them. Similarly to running, I struggle uphill on the bike, although I do generally do pretty well on the downhills!
Once we turned off the main road into the lanes the ride got even tougher. It was certainly a hilly route and seemed harder than when we had recce’d it on Good Friday!
So, with much huffing and puffing, and under the breath swearing, I finally did what has been coming for a while.
I fell off!! Well, I say I fell off, but it was more that, after selecting the wrong gear half way up a hill I slowed, wobbled then crashed into a ditch only staying upright by virtue of the steep bank I leant against!
I swore a bit, stretched my legs and went on my way. I settled into the ride a little more on the second lap. The remainder of the ride was fairly uneventful. It just felt SO hard! Even the ‘flats’ were a struggle.
With relief I made it to the transition for the second change.
I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of trying to run after a swim and a 15 mile bike ride! Jelly legs, wet noodles, call them what you will. What they are is ‘absent’!! Add to that some serious back ache as a result of a weak core and having been hunched forward on the bike and running was a challenge.
The run route had been described as ‘cheeky’ at the briefing. For this you can read ‘hilly’!
The run started along a soft pathway covered in bark chips with an awkward slope. From there it led to a nice little downhill on a footpath before turning the corner and going up… And up… And up!! Then down a bit… Before it went up again… A short down and then up again… And repeat through to the finish where I followed the route round to embark on my second lap..
By the time I started the second lap I was getting the feeing back in my legs but was running seriously low on energy. I am quietly chuffed that I ran more of the ups on the second lap – which actually seemed to go by quite quickly.
As I turned the corner for the final run in to the finish I was so happy to be greeted by one of the best team mates. Despite being just back from injury he had raced himself and then run back in with another lady.. And he came back to run in with me too. Thanks Keith!
In true Hedgie style the shouts from the club were awesome and really helped me push on to the end.
It was the hardest thing I have ever done.. But I loved it! And I will be doing another!
If you’re thinking of giving a Tri a go, I would highly recommend TryTri events. Well organised with great support from the marshals.
What has been your toughest race? Would you do it again?
I’d love to hear about it.