My First Triathlon : The Low-Down.
I bloody did it!!
On Sunday 2nd September I completed my FIRST Triathlon and I can honestly say, I’ve got the Triathlon bug. I loved every minute of the day even if it did involve tears!
I was still working out, but with no purpose and I wasn’t about to set one that focused on aesthetics.
I was also going through the motions of a break-up so I wanted something that would challenge and push me to my limits. Something that I could train for and achieve for me and only me.
I of course, shared the journey on the ‘gram and a lot of messages I received suggested that I would find it an easy challenge – please believe me when I say I did NOT find it easy. I was totally starting from scratch. Sure, I had a base level of fitness but swimming and cycling are not disciplines that come naturally to me.
However, the more I got into the training, the more I enjoyed it. Every session was different – some ridiculously challenging, some relatively easy but every time I came away feeling as though I’d achieved something. Fast forward to 3 or so weeks before the race, I could really see my fitness levels getting better. It was so rewarding.
To begin with, my training split looked a little like this..
- 3-4x Strength sessions
- 2x Bike
- 1x Swim
- 1x Run
As the Triathlon got closer, I added in brick sessions and started to slowly (v. slowly) decrease my strength sessions although, I wasn’t very good at this! When I do my next one, I’ll 100% make more of an effort to do this.
Me being me, I didn’t 100% stick to my training programme which wasn’t too detrimental, but again, it’s something else I’d avoid doing next time round.
I rode my bike but nowhere near enough. It was the part of the race that I was most nervous about. I kept picturing myself falling off, forgetting how to change the gears, forgetting the highway code – the lot. But, when it came to race day, I knew I just had to get on with it.
The day before race day WAS TORRENTIAL RAIN. The heavens decided to open – typical. But luckily, come Sunday, it was a cold but sunny day and the roads weren’t too wet.
My alarm went off at 5:15am – a v. v. early alarm especially for a Sunday morning!! But I didn’t sleep all too well the night before, pre-race nerves and all! My sister was also taking part in the race and was in the slightly earlier wave which meant we had to be there when registration opened at 7:15am.
We had our overnight oats at 6am, strapped our bikes to my parents car, packed our bags and made our way to the start line.
Our drive to the race venue was VERY quiet. I wasn’t sure if I was going to cry or vomit and I know my sister was feeling the same! Slightly unwillingly, we registered, got our numbers and prepped our transition stations.
Ella set off at 8:10am and I was due to start at 8:38am. Pep talks given, we were off.
She had an amazing swim and before I knew it, it was my turn to get started. Just as I was about to set off for my swim, I looked up to the viewing stand and saw my amazing friend Grace – which was a complete surprise but gave me that boost of motivation to really give it my all.
I had an okay swim, but I did unfortunately get caught behind an older man which slowed me down a little. In hindsight, I should have put a slightly quicker predicted time but you don’t know these things when you sign up. I did 90% of it front crawl which I was so happy with especially as I struggled with it a little in my training. It was over in a flash and by the time I caught my breath, I was running out to get my bike.
I’ve said it before I know, but I did find the bike the most challenging part. I found a real love for cycling in my training, but flat long distances – not hills like the route of the tri!! I completed the ride in 57 minutes which I wasn’t overly pleased with, but that’s something I’ll work on.
Quickly jumping off the bike in the transition zone, I realised how glad I was that I’d practised a number of brick sessions. My legs felt quite heavy, but a couple days before the race, a lovely lady sent me a message on Instagram advising me to drop the gears a kilometre or so before the end to pedal out some of the lactic acid that would’ve built up. This was literally my saving grace! She also advised doing a little jog to drop your bike off and that quickly got my legs ready for the run.
FINALLY the run. I wasn’t too worried about this part because I re-found my love for running during my training, but I was glad it was the last element! I was so glad that I sellotaped 4 jelly babies to my bike and had these just before the run because I definitely felt my body flagging.
I started my Fitbit and tried to run at the pace I’d been doing in my training. The running route like the bike, was quite hilly so by the last lap I was glad to be heading toward the finish line!! I was really happy with my 5.5km time, finishing it in 27 minutes.
Overall time – 1 hour 35 minutes coming 27th in the female category!!!
I cried as soon as I crossed the finish line and when I picked up my results. I honestly couldn’t believe I’d finished my first race and more importantly, I did it for me.
I LOVED race day. I felt such a sense of belonging, camaraderie and even though it was a race, I felt like I was racing myself. Overtaking of course happens on the route, but you cheer those people on. There is no jealous or animosity toward anyone.
I’ve got the Triathlon bug and I will 100% be entering more next year. I’ve got my eyes on the Bowood one and potentially a Half Ironman, but watch this space! I might be getting too ahead of myself there!!
I really hope you enjoyed following my journey and hope that it might have even inspired you to also consider signing up for one!
Oh, and be sure to check out my previous post for a couple of tips if you are thinking of doing so.
Thank you so much for tuning in.
*I’d also like to thank Canyon for loaning me the amazing bike, DHB Sport for sending me this beautiful Tri-suit and On Running for supplying me with the best running shoes ever! These items were gifted, but of course, all views and opinions are my own.*