30th March 2018, Good Friday sprint distance triathlon. This date in my diary has been a long standing joke, for the best part of two years.
I booked it in 2016, so I can’t say I didn’t have time to read the race information. I’ve never entered a pool swim triathlon, the pool is not why I swim.
It’s fair to say I gave up before I even started. It started subconsciously…I didn’t eat breakfast on Thursday, I had about 500ml water, a bucket of coffee, a chippy tea & eventually found my tri suit in my tow float before bed, which I packed a long side my bike shoes & my helmet into my Finding Nemo bag for life. By this point my wave had also changed, my lie in had gone & I just couldn’t be bothered. Secretly, although not too secretly, I was hoping it would be rained off. So was my partner in crime, Hayley.
Alas, it was meant to be. Nothing quite like preparing to fail quite like failing to prepare. Although I will never be the kind of person who prepares by getting their turbo out their car at 7am on a really damp Friday morning at a sprint and novice distance event, with a pool swim, aimed at beginners. It takes all sorts, I like to think turning up with my bag for life was more in line with the general expectation, even Hayley bought her stuff in an actual bag.
I don’t like swimming in a pool, in a lane, being chased by people. My swim style doesn’t suit racing, but I do enjoy being poolside watching people swim. The wave before us had some amazing swimming going on, I had a great lane of people and despite being first out, we had agreed we’d tap toes & shuffle about as necessary, which helped a little bit with the dislike of being chased.
Nothing however could help the headache I now had from being dehydrated and stood poolside for a 20 minutes before getting in the pool & then going outside into the actual cold. I faffed about in transition, I think it’s my longest yet (PB’d at something, YASS!)
The bike course wasn’t unpleasant, but I just don’t seem to get the mechanics of riding a bike, in that I know exactly what I am doing wrong & still do it anyway. A natural cyclist I am not, I like the grind. I decided I wanted to drag my cadence up, that was my mission, in an attempt to distract myself from my pounding headache. I didn’t need much more distraction, 3 miles in I saw my old head of 6th form out running whose name I couldn’t remember, 4 miles later I still couldn’t quite remember but picked up Hayley coming out on her first lap as I was going out for my second, so we had a nice chatty loop which I enjoyed way more than the first one. Nailed my average cadence where I wanted it to be and cycled exceptionally slowly to achieve it. See told you I was rubbish at the mechanics of cycling.
T2 was my actual favourite. I couldn’t feel my feet or my knee caps and it was the last time I saw the colour my trainers are meant to be. The run, let me be honest, the slide, was really good fun! It was mostly a mud bath that meant finding any consistent pace wasn’t going to happen, it was all about not falling on my arse, NAILED IT. The last 100m or so were on the running track & I forget how much I love running on track, proper track and it was so lovely to see Hayley pick up the pace with the finish line in sight.
It was good to remember what to do, I am disappointed in my time, because I can do WAY better, but I’d not put any effort into trying to do my best, so I got what I deserved. In hindsight I am sad I didn’t care enough to want to race it, but todays training was 3:15 on the turbo & 15 minute run in the rain. I made it through those mostly unharmed exactly because I didn’t race. Sometimes you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do to get through it.