On Sunday I completed my first triathlon of the year and my first one of my Project Lifestyle goals – The Royal Wootton Bassett Triathlon!
As it was a pool swim my wave wasn’t until 10am, but I was wide awake at 5am and so headed up to cheer fellow running club members on who were in the early waves. I felt quite relaxed once I was up there and love this photo Paul from my running took while I was bring my stuff to transition. I think getting up there early calmed my nerves as I got to see the layout and knew what to expect by the time it was my turn to head out.
Unfortunately there was a car accident on the bike route. Thankfully no bikes were involved. But everything got pushed back by half an hour, so I wasn’t starting until 10:30am and it was already warming up quite a lot. I think it turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far! It was goo though as my parents had been marshalling the early run and so were able to get up to the pool to see me head off and watch the rest of my event.
The swim was great. I was really nervous about this part as we are put in lanes with other swimmers who put about the same time down, so I was worried about being too slow and then coming in last after the run. But the lane worked out great and I was able to nicely keep up with the ladies in front and came in with a swim time of 6 minutes 39 seconds, which was only 7 seconds slower than my 400m event last November.
I then headed out to the transition and managed to get through that in 1 minute 35 seconds – super fast considering this was the first time I had to do cycling shoes.
The bike course felt good. It was a lovely sunny day and being on the bike meant there was a nice breeze. I need to practice drinking on the bike though as I struggled to drink enough. I felt strong all the way round and even braved picking up speed on the downhills, more than I did during the couple of practices I did in the weeks learning up to it. I felt I got my gearing done well throughout the route. I was overtaken in the first mile by the men who were slower in the swim, but then had the rest of the course to myself until the last hill where the men from the next wave caught me up not he big hill at the end. My goal was to finish in under an hour and make it up the hill and that is what I did. It took a while to recover from the hill but I kept moving and tried to spin my legs out before getting off the bike. I finished the bike in 52 minutes 47 seconds – really pleased with this time for 22km.
Unfortunately I noticed something was wrong with my right shoe just before the big hill. I was preparing to stop at the bottom as we were told we would have to and I couldn’t get my shoe out of the clip. I could basically move my show all the way round. I was then worried it would come off on the hill, but it stayed put. I then had to leave it on the bike when I got off for the second transition. I was laughing from nerves as I was sure I would fall off, but I unclipped the left and then undid the other shoe and ran in with only one shoe on. Just practicing for what the professionals do! The next transition was exactly 1 minute. Probably a bit slow, but getting my running trainers on and laced up took a bit of time. I had lots of encouragement and finally got going.
My parents then followed me round to the big hill on the run and waited there while I did the two laps. The run was super hard. The first lap was horrible. My legs felt awful and my mind kept losing grip and focusing on the doubts. The course was described as flat with one hill – that was a lie! There was one big hill, but also another one on grass, which was just as hard. The first lap was hard and at the point coming back up the hill first time I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. My parents were at the top encouraging me on a nd the my swimming club friends were doing the water station and came to me with water as I got to the top. I had to walk the hills and was so appreciative of Karen, my parents, Inge and Andy for cheering me on and getting me going again.
Running round the flat sports field my legs came back to me and I started to feel better. I also had Jase, a fellow Hound, on the microphone and could make out my name every now and again as I went round for the send lap. The second lap was better than the first as I was prepared for it. I knew I would walk the hills and then just got going when I could. I used my arms better on them and power walked up.
It was hard, but I sped up to the finish line. I never look good in finishing photos!
I finished the run in 31 minutes 37 seconds. I think it was slightly less than 5km as I was expecting at least 36 minutes. I didn’t wear my garmin as I didn’t want to fiddle with it going round.
The Mayor was giving out medals and it was great to have my parents there at the end. I think they were surprised I made it (especially after the first time up the hill), but I did and it felt good. I think I surprised them as they rarely see me train for things and were really impressed with my swim time – fastest running club swim time – and I had said the run would be the hardest bit. They said a lot of the super fit looking participants struggled up the hill – it was almost vertical (I’m not exaggerating!). I think the mental strength to put yourself through an event like it is the hardest part. You can learn to swim, cycle, and run, but if you can’t calm the mind during the hard points it would be easy to give up. I struggled on the first lap more than I expected and it caught me off guard, but I kept moving forward and focused on people shouting my name as I went and used that energy to keep me going. I am so thankful for everyone there who cheered me and everyone else on – amazing spectators and volunteers!
Overall I finished in 1 hour 33 minutes and 40 seconds! I beat my own predicted time of 1 hour 45 minutes and was really pleased with it. I wasn’t last in either!
Also a funky medal to add to my collection.
Overall it was a fantastic day and event. I was so glad I could be a part of it and support the local organisers and be part of the club supporting it. I’m also super proud of the running club members who took part in their first triathlon – amazing! It was so nice that it was local and the weather was amazing. I think it went really well and hope it continues to become an annual event. I know a few more runners wished they had taken part this year so really want it to happen again. My only request would be to look at the run route and take out that hill (otherwise running club might introduce it as a hill session and it is a killer!).