Monday, April 4, 2011

PureSport Olympic Distance Triathlon

WOW, WOW, WOW. What a day yesterday was. Every second of yesterday could not have gotten better even if I wanted it to. From the moment I opened my eyes to the very last millisecond before closing them again some 15hrs later I was on a total high. Who knew that doing an Olympic Distance Triathlon was going to be so much fun. I surely didn't. I expected to be in a world of pain, but this couldn't have been further from the truth.

I decided when I woke up yesterday morning that there was no point totally freaking out, I was going to do it anyway. The more I totally freaked out the more energy I was expending - what a waste. So I allowed a manageable level of nervousness and the rest just had to be put to good use - like alot of talking. I'm very good at that.
I had all my gear ready the night before and triple checked everything 3 times over - didn't want to have a repeat event of what happened at the TriShave Women's Triathlon. Breakfast was 3 pieces of toast with butter and honey, glass of Tropical Juice, a black coffee and 2 glasses of water - PLUS all my vitamins. As I made my way out the door I knew when I came back home I would be a very proud person indeed.

Driving in I kept saying to myself - you can do this. You have tackled everything you set your mind to do and today is nothing different. Just try to stay focused on your own pace, don't get caught up with how fast everyone else is, enjoy every experience and the rest will come naturally. So with that said that is what I did.

I got there super early which is nothing new for me. Got my usual spot - 3rd row down and closest to run exit. Don't know why I like that spot - just do. Maybe cause it's easy to spot as I come in from the swim all deficient in O2 and all. It wasn't long before everyone started showing up and the usual chit chat began. PTC club members are really the friendliest bunch of people. I am always getting "Hello's, how ya goin' Barb" - makes me really happy and confident in my choice of Tri Club. I was even offered a rear race wheel if I wanted it by Lance. Where else do you get that sort of support.

Before too long Stephen and the 2 boys turned up as did my best friend Susan. Elissa was competing in her first Sprint Distance and Mel's daughter Sianna was trying her hand at her first Junior event. I was completely surrounded by family and friends.

I decided it was time to get my wetsuit on - wise choice beginning this skilful art about 20mins before the race. Normally at home I'm all relaxed and can get it on before you blink and eye, but yesterday proved difficult. My feet were wet from the damp grass and my shaky hands from the nerves weren't allowing me to make too much headway. I felt like I needed a tin of Canola Spray to get that sucker on. With the job done it was time to make my way to the water.

Once in I made my way to the back. Probably not the wisest choice as I was soon to find out - but being up the front with those fast boys wasn't too appealing either. Before I knew it we were off. I wasn't quite ready but at the same time gave the frenzy of arms and legs a bit of a wide berth for a few seconds too. I then took off hoping I could tack onto someone's feet but all I managed to do was swim right into the thick of it and cop a kick to my forehead. Who knew my wetsuit was going to make me feel like a JetCat. In the mishmash of bubbles I sighted a familiar face - Lance - to my right. He and I matched eachother quite well in pacing so I stuck quite close.

By the time the 750m marker and turn around bouy was reached, the field felt like it had dispersed into a manageable size and I felt much more comfortable. That still didn't stop me from tapping the person in front of me or having my feet tapped by whomever was drafting off of me. As the exit drew near it was time to start thinking about what lay ahead. Time to try and remember everything that jodie, Chris and Eliza have taught me. Time to not get all freaked out.
Making my way to T1, getting the wetsuit off was much easier than getting it on - it just slipped right off thank goodness. I had visions of me rolling around on the floor like a beached whale. As I stepped into my bike shoes, I downed 2 gels and put my helmet on and I was off. From this point on it was all about trying to maintain good form and cadence and not get all caught up with the fact that before too long I was going to start being passed by everyone. Today was about setting race pace and sticking to the plan.
I was having an absolute ball on the bike. My speedometer wasn't working so I was trying to gauge my speed by feel and by the faster girls who were in front. I didn't realise until later that I was averaging about 31.5kms/hr for the 40km. And sure I got passed more times than I would care to count but the fact was that I felt really good - my legs were tired but not spent. I wasn't struggling to breathe and I felt like I could keep going at this pace. I really loved and thrived on all the positive cheers thrown my way - all I could hear was my name as I passed on my bike. There was an ocean of smiles out on the sidelines and it felt as though they were all for me.

Coming back into T2 I must confess to feeling anxious. I don't know what it is about the run but it just gets my head into a not so positive place. I think maybe because I want to be so much better at it and for it to not hurt as much - when in actual fact - everyone I speak to say's that there will always be a certain level of pain to contend with. But everyone else seems to make it look effortless. So the best thing I can do when it hurts - is SMILE.
Smiling helps me overcome discomfort, fear and negative thoughts. I am also smiling because just about everyone who was there was cheering me on - I felt like an Olympian. What's not to smile about there. I love the camaraderie out on the run. We were high 5'ing eachother and telling eachother how good we were going. I am always astounded at the mental strength and fortitude of our triathletes. Even when they are in a world of pain, they still manage to keep moving. You guys are all inspirational to me.
The 10km run didn't feel too bad. I wasn't in any great discomfort and my ITB was behaving itself much to my relief. I just have that usual odd feeling from getting off the bike. To my surprise Jodie said I took off at a really good pace - but to me I always feel like I am dying. And then when I feel good she said my pace was slightly slower. I need to learn how to judge my body alot better. I liked the out and back loop x 4 - gave me something to focus on. The countdown was exciting. The closer I got to that 10km mark the more "on top of the world" I felt. I mean 6mths ago I never dreamed about reaching this point let alone doing it at a time that I only dreamed of.
When I crossed that finish line I felt like I had won - this feeling was overwhelming. I actually felt like crying. For every bit of self doubt I had before the race this not only squashed it - it totally removed it from the equation all together. I am a capable individual.

How cool is that to say out loud.

So here are my times:

Swim 1500m: 23:09
Bike 40km: 1:16:34
Run 10km: 52:57

Total time for 1st Olympic Distance: 2hrs 31mins.

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