I arrived at my very first triathlon with nutrition I had never tested before and was pretty much just hoping it was going to do the job. I had no gloves or socks and not because I left them at home, but because triathlete’s don’t have time for gloves and socks in transition, right? I have since decided this is something better left to the professionals! My blisters have blisters...
Everyone in my new club was smiling, joking and was amped for racing which was somewhat calming. I was helped into my brand spanking new wetsuit and wished good luck for the race. I was so relieved that I joined this amazing group of people; otherwise I don’t think I would have gotten into the water that day.
Unable to breathe in my wetsuit, as I stood at the start on the shores of a dam, which at this point looked more like a raging ocean in the gale force winds, the MC announced that NO ONE should attempt the swim “unless you are a confident swimmer”... So comforting, and NOT what one wants to hear before your first triathlon.
One thing I was starting to feel confident about was my nutrition; it was definitely starting to kick in. The pre-swim Gel I smashed had literally jolted my system into race mode while we stood in the water waiting. I was like a race horse in the starting blocks! I just prayed it was going to keep working long enough that I could get myself through the swim and onto the bike.
BOOM! The gun went off and the ladies dashed into the water! The first wave smashed me in the face but other than that wobbly start, I had a great swim! I may however have violated a few of my fellow female athletes...Sorry ladies; I haven’t learnt how to look forward while swimming just yet☺
Getting out of the water and being vertical again, made me feel a bit like a darted wild animal or an 80 year old with vertigo. Even more surprising was that I managed to find my bike amongst the hundreds of other bikes, which after such an eventful swim coupled with the dizziness, were all looking pretty much the same. I took my time getting ready for the bike leg, so not entirely sure why I didn't take socks with! I guess that’s why my coach later described it as my “tea party in transition”! ☺
Onto the bike we go… This was quiet the experience for me as it was only the fourth time I have ridden a bike in my life, having not ridden one as a child (that’s a story for another day). Even with my extremely limited riding experience, I really loved this leg of the race, despite the pumping wind which felt like I was doing a ride out at Cape Point in a South Easter. It really was an amazing feeling just to be out on the open road with a bunch of likeminded people, all battling the wind with me. On the return leg we hit the wind head on and it was at that point I began wishing I had not had that tequila on Friday night! ;)
The transition from the bike to the run was interesting since I hadn't done a brick run yet. Darted wild animal to legless drunk person. My legs were numb for about 5km! I drank every single coke I could get my hands on since I accidentally consumed every gel I had on me. In hindsight I am not really sure what made me think I needed MORE sugar on top of all of that! So, on my sugar high and close to turning myself into an instant diabetic, I finished off my run despite the blisters which at that stage were the size of R5 coins. Note to self: DON’T copy coach on everything! Pack socks.
As I crossed the finish line, I gave a little leap for joy, as I'd seen it done on social media and thought it would make an awesome photo... Uuuum! Sadly mine looks like I’ve tripped over the finish line ;)
Looking back on the race now and how nervous I was at the start line because of the terrible weather conditions, I am really glad I didn’t decide to pull out! If I can finish in those conditions, anything is possible… and hey, I had a blast along the away!