by rikSep 20th 2010
To steal a phrase - I smashed it!
I awoke at 6am and headed to the Park - I spent an age nervously arranging my gear in transition (should I swim in my number belt? leave it til the cycle? yes. no.. no). I registered my transition point was right at the end of a row which meant I would have to run with the bike more than anyone else. Once I was sorted I found assistance to squeeze into the wetsuit. The water temperature was announced as 13C which didn't sound too bad... until my wave was announced and I walked along a cleaned up swan poo jetty and climbed in. Whoa, wetsuit did it's job but my hands and feet were freezing.
This was soon forgotten when the swim started. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were no weeds in the lake. I was less pleasantly surprised to find out there was no chance of standing up and for 750m the options would be: drown, swim or canoe rescue. I didn't expect it to bother me but I was scared that if I went for it I wouldn't be able to recover so I ended up doing a lot more breast stroke than I wanted. However, with the added complication of getting kicked and then sighting to ensure I headed in the right direction it was probably for the best. Nevertheless I found that I could speed past people doing front crawl then maintain a pace doing breast stroke and then power by some more. In the end I was surprised to climb out in the middle of the pack. My time was 17:52 but I didn't know because I forgot to start my watch timer.
I walked out of the lake as it reached acceptable depths and started undoing the wetsuit and removing my accessories. I nearly fell as my legs were surprised to find dry land again. In transition, my location meant I had an audience spectacting through the fence immediately to my left.. I nearly got the wetsuit off but it got stuck on the timing chip they had given me for my ankle. Resisting the temptation to sit down, I calmly rolled it over my ankle and I was free!
The biking was by far my best event and I really enjoyed it. Remarkably, I was never passed. A couple of guys I passed, repassed me and I got them back. They were pushing me on so this was great. The 'no drafting' rule was ok - as long as you weren't blatantly slip streaming they were quite sensibly not penalising anyone. Even with the allowable distance I was grateful to the big bloke ahead and then a motorbike for cutting a hole in the air for me. I wasn't afraid of pushing at all - I decided I wouldn't be needing the cycling muscles for much so kept on going until I frustratingly got stuck in single file going into transition behind some fella undoing his shoes while cycling. I did the 19k in 35:02.
I transitioned so quickly I thought I must have run out with my cycling helmet on! But I hadn't. At first I was on my own and didn't know the direction to go in. Eventually I had a clear view of the course and settled into a pace. I didn't experience any back pain but my legs were so shot that I couldn't have got near my peak training pace anyway. This was compounded by acquiring a few stones in my right shoe after about 1km which were painful for a bit but I wasn't about to waste a minute getting them out. I was quite drained with half the run gone, probably due to lack of carbs, as I hadn't eaten much. There was a cruel hill scramble towards the end which hit my cycling muscles but I got up it. I felt a bit emotional as I crossed the finish line but was so tired I couldn't even speak as my finishers medal was thrust into my hand. Somehow I'd managed to run the 5k in 26:27 which still doesn't seem plausible.
I completed the whole thing in 1:22:37 which considering I was targetting 1:40 and possibly going for 1:30 next time leaves me a bit confuzzled and a lot chuffed.
Would I do it again? Well - once is an exciting new challenge but twice is obsessive! I'm still buzzing from the event and think I could beat my time, especially as I've learnt a lot about training - and that I probably hit my peak fitness a few weeks ago (although I couldn't swim then). I'll keep going to triathlon club, doing the bricks and see what happens next year. Should you do it - yes! My advice would be to train for the distance, train steady and if you're doing an open swim, give it a couple of goes before your event.
Just want to say thanks to those that have supported me. Thanks to the organisers for a great event and well done to all competitors. Thanks to triblogs and tribloggers for the inspiration and outlet for my rantings - I'll continue to read everyones journeys whether beginner or iron person, respect to you all. Thanks to Heath for the wetsuit. And mostly thanks to my family for putting up with my 9 week obsession and for supporting me and being there on the day. That's the Oscar speech. Thanks for reading.
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