An opportunity arose to take part in an open water triathlon and as much I would have preferred a little more time between my first and second I thought it would be silly to not have a go and see how I get on in my first open water event! SO…
- Date/Time: Sunday 12th June
- Distance: = 400m swim, 21.2km cycle, 5km run
Held at the Olympic rowing venue, Dorney Lake it was quite exciting to walk up to the event village and see the Olympic Rings in the distance (if not a little daunting!) With race pack collected and numbers stuck in their correct places (triathlons have so many numbers and such strict placement rules so thanks to Paulie here for, as always, sorting this whilst I try and pretend to be totally cool and calm) it was time to get ready – wetsuit or no wetsuit?
With about 70% of people wearing them we decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to just “practice” with the suit. It’s not that I don’t like wearing my wetsuit, in fact I love my new Orca suit but it was the getting the thing off that worried me. However, following some advice on Twitter I had brought some baby oil, so slathered some Johnson & Johnson on my wrists and ankles and “slipped” my wetsuit on.
Heading into the water I tried to remain calm. I knew I could swim the distance but you hear so many stories of kicking, elbows, missing teeth! Eurgh! HOWEVER, whilst treading water waiting for the start, we were given an informative and funny race briefing by a hugely enthusiastic race marshal and it seriously helped calm my nerves. A HUGE thank you to that man. When the air horn went it was busy, I did have to be careful initially of people around me but then whilst singing “under the sea” thanks to some twitter chat earlier on I just swam, kept spotting the orange blobs otherwise known as buoys and tried to forget about the people around me. Compared to the manic splashing about in the Henley indoor section this was actually quite calm. The weeds and other things did create some little “moments” but generally it felt amazing to be swimming outdoors, warm and well, happy and apparently it showed as I clocked my fastest 400m swim yet!
By this point it’s worth mentioning that the rain was really coming down and the clouds were getting darker and darker.
I slipped my wetsuit off no problem – THANK YOU BABY OIL – but trying to dry my feet whilst it was chucking it down became a bit of a problem! So I talc’ed as much as I could. inhaled some Soreen, grabbed my helmet and made my way over to the mount line. I knew I had taken longer than needed but hey – it’s practice. Over the mount like the 13 mile cycle started, and the rain came down even harder!
The cycle sees you do 4 laps around the lake, it’s tarmac, its unbroken, pretty flat and you have no cars to contend with. HOWEVER, the clouds were menacing, the headwind was real and the rain created a laugh or cry situation, it just didn’t stop, in fact it got heavier and heavier and heavier. But what was amazing were the supporters and marshals along the route. Regardless of the incredibly AWFUL weather the marshals were still out clapping, encouraging us on and the supporters were a plenty too, including my very own incredible one man support team who I saw every single loop and who managed to put a beaming smile on my face each time!
Coming to the end of the final lap I knew my trainers were filled with water and that the run was going to be interesting however I came over to the dismount line, hooked my bike up, scoffed more banana bread, waved at Paulie, then headed off for the run which would see us go up along the lake and back, twice.
Now usually I am not a fan of an out and backs but I absolutely, 100%, bloody loved every minute of this run. I LOVED it and it can be seen in every photo Mr. Paulie Roche took.
This run saw you join lots of other women all different ages, shapes and sizes running, encouraging each other on and just getting the race done. I saw lots of the women I started the swim with and one by one we high fived and spurred each other on :D! Regardless of the rain (yes it was still coming down and yes the sky was black) supporters were still dotted all along the out and back and were fabulous, just fabulous! At the end of the “out ” you do quick U-turn where three drenched marshals stood cheering and clapping – I thought it was impressive that they were still managing to be upbeat! Coming up to the finish line I pushed for a sprint finish as my legs felt, well great, I mean don’t get me wrong I was tired but I was just so happy!
Finishing my second triathlon, receiving my medal and seeing Paulie with that grin cemented the fact that I love this sport. Triathlon’s are scary, I mean really scary. They are hard, there are so many things to think about and they definitely bring out all the pre race nerves but they are incredible events that seem to bring together a wonderfully supportive crowd.
The Human Race Shock Absorber Challenge was a fantastic, well organised, well staffed event that could have only been made better if the rain hadn’t have been so consistent. I finished my race in 1hour32 and I could not be happier. I know that I have elements I need to work on and that is totally fine with me because I cannot wait to tackle these and see what can be achieved next year!!!!!
Thank you Human Race for offering the opportunity to take part in this event and thank you for making it such an incredible day.