Into the great unknown
Into the great unknown
As far is I can tell this triathlon business is 90% in the head. I'm really good at some bits, not so good at others, and mostly it's a great ever unknown. This is my experience of managing mind, and body, to be the best triathlete I can be.

My first race win

ritatrisby ritatrisAug 19th 2013
Having decided I was done for the season, particularly with an injury that meant no running, it took me all of about two seconds to change my mind and pay my race entry two weeks ago. My home town, Stroud, was finally hosting a triathlon, something I¬'ve been waiting for for two years now and I HAD to be there!

Granted, a bit of a wonky set of distances ¬- 200m swim in a 20m pool, 12k bike, 5k run. Not great for me with such a short bike, and with the dodgy leg I would have definitely preferred a 2.5k run.

But hey, it was in Stroud, my brother was coming over that weekend anyway, so he was in too, and against an expected small field I essentially wanted to win it.

Then inspiration struck. Being my home town, my mum lives there. She¬'s been a regular at our races, and really enjoys the atmosphere and friendliness of the events. So on Tuesday I spent a constructive half an hour on the phone explaining why all her reasons that she couldn¬'t do it were rubbish, and that she should sign up. She agreed, entered, and by the day was very nervous and also really excited.

I on the other hand had completely overloaded the pressure. I knew that I¬'d be strong on the bike, but also that Stroud has some very fast club runners, and over the 5k with my lack of training they¬'d be the threat. Arriving on race day to find some friends from Bristol supporting some other friends with obscenely fast 5k times did not help. I spent 5 minutes being stressed, gutted and feeling a bit rubbish before giving up on winning and deciding to do my best and enjoy instead.

The swim went well. Starting in the fastest wave was a reversal of the usual, but swam a good time and blasted through T1. The bike was great. A last minute change of course meant it was flat, on roads I know really well, and I was flying. Beating a man on a carbon framed bike with a pointy hat was a highlight :D Then the run. So it turns out 6 weeks of no running isn¬'t great preparation. I think the course was short as my time was faster than my pb, but gods it was hard, and having decided I wasn¬'t winning it was personal drive and the race for a podium place that kept me pushing on. Fortunately the legs held out beautifully after a lot of help from physio Scott Cornish in the previous few weeks.
My first race win
Finishing was great, and joining mum and brother who had started earlier was so amazing. I am SO proud of my mum for finishing. She was just amazing. She swam without stopping, rode her new bike for the second time, and ran most of the 5k. With six days notice, no sporting career whatsoever and training of one swim in the last 25 years, a few bike rides recently and no running at all except a few runs for the Sport Relief Mile last year she had to be the biggest winner of the day. She¬'s not the most confident of people, so to have the determination, pacing and strength of mind to get round it was a huge achievement for her. She really enjoyed it, and all three of us taking part was really special.

We hung around at the end with the other people who had taken part, a lot for the first time, and it was such a treat to enjoy what triathlon is all about ¬- enjoyment and achievement whatever your level. When it got to prizes, they didn¬'t read out third and second place, so it took me a while to register that for the fastest woman they had said my name. Having given up on the idea it was a bit of a surprise, but a wonderful end to the season, and it meant so much to have my first win at the inaugural Stroud race. Turns out I won by 19 seconds over the speedy runner that I¬'d decided had beaten me. Lessons learned are that every effort counts ¬- I am so glad I kept pushing on the run when I was being slightly sick in my mouth!

So this time I have full closure on the season, and now plan on doing not a lot until the new year. Maybe some of that yoga...
sarahleonardby member: sarahleonard, Aug 26th 2013 21:39
Whoop, well done! What a great way to end your season :-)
tallguy76by member: tallguy76, Sep 11th 2013 21:05
That sounds like a fantastic way to end the season. I raced with my brother and sister at the Gloucester Tri a few years ago, and against my sister in a duathlon in Kempley...I'm hoping that I will still be "completing" races when my 5 year old son is old enough to join in having done a mini tri with him on holiday in France.
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