Triathlon – Three times the fun ?

I have been considering doing a triathlon for a while but had intended to do one next year, after the marathon, this was going to be my next fundraising challenge. It probably still will be but at the moment the marathon is on hold due to my ankle being fat, again !

I have been resting following a fall in Dalby Forest in July where I sprained my ankle. I was just starting some gentle interval training when a friend shared a Go Tri event on Facebook (thanks Gill). I had signed up for a duathlon in the past but had to drop out due to severe laziness. This event was a mini triathlon – 250yd swim, 5k cycle and 1.5k run. Easy. Except for the swimming bit.

Go Tri organise events to encourage beginners to take part in multi sport events, triathlon or duathlon. They also run groups for the individual sports. The event I entered was a triathlon in Bramley, swimming in the pool, cycle around the local area and then a run in then park.

So on a sunny Saturday afternoon Gill, Colette and I met in the car park and made our way round to the gardens at the side of Bramley baths.

Nervous faces pre race

After being branded with a marker pen at the registration table (number 12) we loitered around the gardens at the side of Bramley Baths until time for the briefing. I considered running away numerous times, I was petrified. I get nervous before a race but this was much worse.

I have been having swimming lessons since late May and am not a confident swimmer so initially I did the distance in a lesson – 38 x 8 yd widths of the pool. I had to rest loads but I did it, then I decided that I wanted to see if I could do a full length so I took myself to the Rothwell Sports Centre after work. I did the distance with rests so I was sort of OK with that bit.

The pool at Bramley is slightly shorter than Rothwell so I was hoping that I would find it a bit easier than my practice swim. I didn’t take into account the current that would be caused by the other competitors, it was like swimming against the tide. I was in the 3rd wave of starters, we set off in groups of 4 with a 2 minute gap and there were 40 competitors, I was one of the last to leave the pool. Every single person got a cheer getting out.

Photo courtesy of Tony Moran, Tri Bramley Baths.

I have cycled along the canal to Keighley and back (about 42 miles) so I could do 5k on the bike, easy. Ha! There are very few hills on the canal and there a lots of hills in Bramley. Not easy.

We did 3 laps of a route that was on the side of Mount Bramley, the first street was a downhill and on the first lap I was lulled into a false sense of security. At the bottom we turned onto a slight uphill slope, this had me thinking “this is ok, I can cope with this”. The next road was slightly steeper then a downhill bit and we had to turn on to a main road so I used the traffic as an excuse to have a rest. With renewed vigour I pedalled hard up the hill, this literally just stopped me from rolling backwards. Lots of  people passed me, including Gill, and shouted nice words of encouragement. I made it to about half way up before giving in and pushing the rest of the way.

The second time, I didn’t even get to half way and the third I didn’t bother trying. But never mind, at least I was still moving. That was definitely much harder than the 40 odd miles I did along the canal, my thighs were screaming for mercy. I like to think that the pain you feel during and after exercise is the pain of fat cells dying a slow and painful death.

I can however run 1.5 k with or without hills. I can rest and walk a bit. I did just that with the support of Gill and Colette and I even had enough left for a sprint finish. The beginning of the run was uphill from the baths to the park, the opposite way to the last bit of the cycle. I did manage to run up that bit and arrived in the park to be greeted by my lovely friends, the other competitors and marshals. Gill and Colette both joined me on the run even though they had just completed the whole thing. I have some very nice but crazy friends. What sort of nutter runs a triathlon then does the run again. I ran/walked the last leg alongside the two crazies and very soon the finish line was in sight. My tired legs developed a mind of their own and started moving faster and faster resulting in a sprint finish.

Another Tony Moran pic

I finished in position 41 out of 41 competitors. It took me an hour and 4 minutes to complete the whole thing and I hated every minute and can’t wait for the next one. The marshals were lovely and gave me lots of positive comments at the end.

Final thank you to Tony for this one. I was instructed to place myself front and centre.

Very happy finishers. 

I learned quite a few things on that day. I need to practice swimming. I need to cycle up more hills and beat my complaining thighs into submission. Finally, and probably the most painful lesson was that loose shorts over a wet swimming costume may save seconds in transition but it rubs and causes very painful chaffing.

My next attempt at a multi sport event is a duathlon later in the month. Wish me luck, I’ll need it.

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