Sunday, October 31, 2010

TriShave Womens Triathlon.

I did it. I can't believe it! Actually I can, but I am still flying on Cloud 9. What an awesome experience. One I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. From the beginning right till the very end it was all an experience that words cannot really give due credit to. Even though I was as nervous as hell to say the least I think I did really well.

So let's start from the beginning. All I can say is that "sheesh, I better learn to get my nerves under control". The drive in this morning was fine, I felt nervous but not too bad. It wasn't until my race got closer that I could really feel my stomach start to almost ache. You know that empty hungry feeling, that makes your stomach feel bruised.

I got to the Regatta Centre early to watch all my friends race in the previous 2 races. And I am so proud of them. I was glad I got there early, if I had of stayed at home I would have totally freaked out. So getting there early gave me some time to distract myself. I got to chatting with everyone and totally enjoying the vibe of all these women whom were either first timers or repeat Tri enthusiasts.

I also got to catch up with other members from the club who were doing the Sprint Tri with me. They were never short of a positive word to give to me and made me feel confident in my abilities even if for a little bit. I am eternally greatful.

The time came for me to start my race and I was tossing up whether to wear a wetsuit or not. I chose not to after my last club race and how claustrophobic it made me feel. I didn't want to have that feeling on my first Sprint Tri. So even though the water was cool (21.9 degrees celsius) I was happy with my decision.

I started the swim leg close to the centre bouys. There is a nice fluorescent under cable which unites all the bouys in one straight line - I hardly had to sight at all until I only had about 150m to go. My stroke was nice and even and I used a combination of bilateral breathing and breathing every 4. I was having real trouble shaking this one girl off my feet, every so often I would feel her tap my toes, and when she did I would give a couple hard kicks to let her know I was onto her. I ended up overtaking a few of the previous age group who had started the swim a few minutes before.
After circling the finally bouy it was game on and I upped my kick rate to try once and for all to shake that girl off but she stuck on like glue. And ended up passing me in the run through transition. Not happy Jan... 500m swim time including transition 9:27.

Made it into T1 without too much problem. Had all my stuff ready and in good order so it all went really well. Once again though wish I had a drink at this point but really wanted to get going on the bike. And even though I had the bottle on my bike I keep not wanting to lean down to get it out of the cage. So I think my next investment is a drink bottle that sits between my Tri bars, so all I have to do is tilt my head forward and suck on the straw.

Out on the bike, I had a total ball. I kept my legs ticking over at a cadence of 90 the whole time and averaged about 30km/hr. There was hardly any breeze at all and the storm which had been promised was nowhere to be seen. The sun was out in full force. Just the best ride. I got passed by my club mates who are absolute guns on the bike and I just find their prowess out on the next two legs just totally inspirational and hope to one day be like them. A few more people passed me but I just maintained my own race and kept the legs ticking over the way Jodie & Eliza said to do.
I averaged between 9-10 minutes per 5km loop and felt really good. I had family and friends at every vantage point screaming out words of encouragement and making me feel like I was super woman. It was what I needed to hear to keep pushing forward. I even manged to smile and lift my hand off my bars to give a wave.
Coming into T2 I got all brave and took my feet out of my shoes and rode the last little bit airing my feet and resting my legs a bit for what lay ahead. I was not looking forward to the 5km run.
20km Bike Leg + transition - 41:47
So it was now onto the run leg. The bit I had been dreading the whole race. I had been dreading it because I had only run 5km x2 the week before, and even though I knew I could do it on it's own, it's a totally different ball game on heavy bike legs. Oh well, it was time to either put up or shut up.

All I can say is it was hot, hot, HOT. The sun was out and it was humid as hell. I could actually feel the humidity rising up off of the pavement. First port of call was a quick drink of water at the aid station and then the rest went down on my head to cool it off. I then ran straight through the over head shower which was spraying out a fine mist of beautifully fresh water.

The run leg lined the edge of the water for a 1.25km stretch up and back x2. It is a real mind game coming back on yourself for 2 turnarounds. But I tried to play it cautious and not run too hard and get caught up in the run frenzy - afterall my aim was to not walk any stretch of this 5km run. So I maintained a constant turnover of the legs and just kept a forward momentum - no stopping allowed.
As I started on my third 1.25km my best friend told me that the girl who hung on my toes in the swim was just in front of me. It was then I knew I would get my own back. So I focused on her back and made sure that the distance between me and her got shorter and shorter , and I got her. WooHoo. That put on smile on my face.

Even though I was being passed by much better runners I was happy that I was coming to the end of my run and I still had a little kick at the end to be able to overtake a further 2.
5km Run Leg - 27:23. Who would have thought. The last time I ran 5km it was on fresh legs and I did it in 30 mins. This was too cool. This training stuff really does pay off.

9th in my age group
24th overall
Total time : 1:18:38
Even though this day was great for so many reasons, it would not have been the same if my family and friends were not there to share in it. They were constantly shouting words of encouragement to me every step of the way. Even my club friends who were doing the race with me gave me strength to get through it all. One of the club girls even took my timing chip off my ankle so I didn't have to bend down. I will never forget that. Thankyou.

I can't believe I did it. Now onto many more.

Pre Race thoughts.

As I sit here typing it is approximately 6:40am on the morning of my first ever Sprint Tri. I am nervous but funnily enough not as nervous as yesterday (I am sure this will change). I am trying to stomach two Weetbix, a banana and my usual morning "get up and go" black coffee. I have clipped my toe nails as yesterday marshalling at our club event I realised how gross my toenails were looking.

The weather forecast has now changed from full rain and lightening to showers with a LOW-18, HIGH-27. This is much, much better - I am so happy.

I always think it's amazing how peaceful and calm the world looks this time of the morning. You could hear a pin drop. I am going to try to channel some that calmness and try to go into this race with a clear head, knowing full well that this is what I have been training for. Knowing that today's aim is to do the best that I am able to do and to race my own race.

My coach has given me some wise words on how to tackle each leg knowing full well that I have only run 5km twice and that this may be a bit of hard work - but she has nothing but confidence in me. And I too know that the most difficult part will be when I get off that bike to run - but if I can just keep those legs ticking over and not walk once, then I too will be proud of me.

So wish me luck all.

Your hard work will be rewarded.

"The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way, and may go in more than one direction, it is travelled by belief and courage and conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances" Barbara Cage