I have a tendency to enter into things without really thinking. I entered the Brighton marathon having only ever run the Race For Life in 2007 dressed as a fairy. I went to Uni without ever having looked at it. I buy clothes without EVER trying them on. My latest sporting venture was no different: taking part in the Ringmer Sprint Triathlon: I arrogantly thought the run looked a bit short on the ‘novice’ race…
So today came, and with a whole bunch of nerves, lack of proper equipment and a questionable outfit choice, I headed to Ringmer, with my mate, Kev. Kev was even less prepared than me, I’d argue, having signed up the week before and claiming to be unable to swim. But off we went. On the way in, we passed a couple of people that looked like this:
Hmmm: perhaps my helmet held together by knots wasn’t the thing to wear, I thought. Never mind – no turning back now!
We head to the swim, which was in the school swimming pool. It was divided into 4 lanes, and we had to swim 20 lengths, with 4 swimmers per lane. The slowest swimmers went first, and as I’d put down a guestimate time of 10 minutes, I was somewhere in the middle. This meant I had to wait just over an hour before actually getting in the water – an hour of getting really scared, but also chatting to some really nice other tri-hards, most of them doing their first one too. During this wait, I was persuaded to sign up to another tri in September: having not even got in the water…
The swim itself went pretty swimmingly (boom, boom) – back in the day, I was quite a good little swimmer but in the run up to the tri had only been in the water a handful of times. Swimming fitness is something that you cannot blag, and I really felt the last 5 lengths. I quickly jumped out – panicked, and had to ask a group of spectators where to go. Pegging it across some school fields in my swimsuit is not the most elegant thing I have ever done, but, hey, I made it to my bike without falling over!
At the bike the only thing going through my head was that I had to put my helmet on first. So I did. Only to quickly realise I couldn’t actually fit my vest over my helmet. I struggled with it for a bit, all the time being overtaken by people in snazzy tri-suits, who had no helmet-vest issues. My shorts also got stuck on my damp thighs, and I spent what was probably far too long drying my feet. I must’ve been in transition for at least 5 minutes…
So off I hopped on my bike, nearly getting mowed down by a pesky car in the first 100 metres. The bike leg itself was great fun – gotta love zooming round some country lanes on a sunny Sunday morning. I overtook a few people, and was overtaken by a few people (including Kev! Grrr.) and my lovely bike, Florence, did begin to start making some interesting noises at around 20km after we’d had to tackle some gritty road. The bike leg was by far my favourite, as I think this picture shows:
Coming off the bike was much more straightforward, as I didn’t have to negotiate an outfit change. However, the first lap of the run was incredibly tough: like doing the last 3km of a marathon. My legs felt like lead and my breathing was all over the show. It was probably the longest 3km of my life, ever. Fact. BUT the second lap was fine – my legs settled down and I began to slowly catch and overtake people. Running is definitely my strongest discipline, and I’d like to see what would happen over a longer distance tri… (with a bit more swim/run training perhaps!).
… and, after 1 hour, 32 minutes and 56 seconds… I finished! I had an absolutely BRILLIANT time, and can’t wait to do another one. I think tris could be my new thing as I seem to get injured all of the time when I’m just running. The event itself was friendly and well run: it was great for us beginners, as well as the pros with their plastic wheels and funny shaped hats.
I ended up coming 10th out of the ladies – so there’s something to aim for next year!