Woop woop, I have a medal!
But first… this is how it all started today:
I woke at 5:30am after a fretful night’s sleep. My stomach was churning and I forced my porridge and coffee down, sipped water and got ready. I’ve got to say that getting two children and all my gear plus a bike into a car by 6am was a struggle, and we were later than anticipated getting parked at the triathlon. It was really quiet at the venue as I was in ‘wave 1’ at 7am. I queued and collected my envelope with my transfers in and race number – 698.
First of all, I cocked up by putting the transfer on my leg on the wrong way up, ending up with 869 – a rookie mistake. Mr Shespoke then put my right arm one on wrong, so I had to get the numbers written on!
I took my box, which I had all packed and rehearsed last night, and found my station – 98 – in transition.
I met a lovely lady called Suzanne two racks down. She gave me some great advice about how to lay everything out: towel down, sweeties (if you have them) on top for the run, helmet on the bike seat, number belt on top of that. Suzanne said if you take the bike off the stand without having your helmet strapped on you get disqualified and this is the best way to remember to do it. She put talc in my trainers for me to soak up wet feet, although I was wearing socks. She also took a big scoop of her vaseline with her to the loo and advised me to do the same with mine to ‘prevent chafing’ – hope this doesn’t need explaining!
I left everything in the box and went into the pool.
There were about 14 women in the first wave, a real mix, ranging between the ages of 16 and 50+ and they were a friendly lot, chatting about previous triathlons and what to expect.
I was told I would be the first off in lane 3, and I started to imagine women tapping my feet every 2 mins, to overtake. After some deep breaths and the whistle blew, we were off. The front crawl went fine, but then I got a bit stuck behind another lady; she was stuck behind someone else and so it went on. I ended up doing breast stroke; on the positive side it made me gather my thoughts ahead of the event.
I was shown a float at the top of the lane, signalling 2 more lengths to go, and then I jumped out.
I pulled off my goggles and swimming hat as I ran along the pathways to transition. I jumped on the towel, pulled on my top and 3/4 trousers and jacket.
I saw my support team (husband and kids, squealing) gave a quick wave, wipe with the towel and put my helmet on. I grabbed my bike off the racking and ran down the matting to the mount line.
The route was through green, rolling countryside; I passed three other women on my way and conquered the Ashley hill (remember the one I did laps of a while back?). Towards the last third of the ride I had a banana and sipped over half of my water bottle.
I didn’t see anyone else until near the end when I was overtaken by two men, they must have been in wave 2!
I arrived back at transition feeling happy to have survived with no punctures.
I ditched the bike, helmet, gloves, put on my cap and ran out with wobbly legs: cue cheers from the support crew again.
The run route immediately takes you over a footbridge, through a housing estate and winds its way up a small hill through residential areas in Wilmslow. 1k, 2k, 3k – the legs started to feel normal again. I got passed by a couple of more guys in tri suits; 4k – nearly there now, 5k, woo hoo, then a sign which made me feel so happy: 400m to go, over a bridge and I could see the finish.
I was the 3rd woman in my wave to cross and my times were this: for a 400m swim, 24.2 km cycle, 6.3 km run.
I got my medal, and my goody bag. I stretched and watched some of the other finishers.
Then I went and collected my bike and box of gear.
When we arrived home I had the most lovely bath ever, ate brunch, then had a power nap (well, it was an early start!)
Since then I have looked at upcoming triathlons, not too far away. I loved it. Yes I was so nervous and so worried about loads of things. But I feel proud of what I’ve done, and as I said I have a medal…