Game day! That’s what Keith greeted me with when I got up on Saturday morning. Over muesli he asked me what my race plan was! Race plan, what race plan? Since January this year all I had been focussed on was getting into the lake, making my way across to the other side, then getting out at which point I would feel euphoric and the rest was just fuzzy stuff.
In reality, speaking as a new born triathlete (!!! woo hoo) it was so much more than that.
Keith shot off to Blenheim very early Saturday to support Sam Williams who was competing in the Sprint Relay – doing the swim leg! My sister Bethany and I were left to get ready and pootle across for 11a.m. (our swim start was 1.40 p.m.).
Blow drying our hair (why?), applying our sunscreen, nervously giggling, simultaneously dressing in our brand new Shed Triathlon tops it felt like we were the bride and her maid of honour preparing to go to church! The groom already being at the gig!
Ex girl guides, we had loaded the car up the night before. Driving to Blenheim we tested each other on the procedure for puncture repair, T1 and T2!
Blenheim was buzzing with sun, fun, families, music and athletes. Racking our bikes up in transition I managed to get my second reprimand of the day (the first was from the car parking marshal, in our excitement we’d boxed another car in!). This second strike came when I answered my phone in the transition zone when laying out my kit. Remember – race rules in transition! There was to be a third knuckle rapping later…
Ok the swim bit. Wetsuited up in black neoprene, standing on a grassy hillside for 20 minutes, in 25 degrees of glorious sunshine was the perfect lead up to getting in a cold lake. When it was time to get in it was pure pleasure!
Bethany and I made the tactical decision to swim alongside the roped buoys. Her because she’s blind without her specs me because I haven’t learned to sight yet! For me the first 50 metres were embarrassing. You’d never have guessed at that point that I been coached by one of the best for the last 6 months. I was praying that Keith couldn’t pick me out. Saying that, with green swimming caps on we must have all looked like peas bobbing about in a pan of water.
Prior to this swim I had built up images of being battered and bludgeoned by other swimmers arms and legs. This wasn’t the case. By the time we approached the first buoy we’d all found a space. It was at this point that I finally relaxed into my stroke and breathing (better late than never!).
Reached the turning point and the end was well within my grasp, except it didn’t seem to get any closer! It was like a dream getting out, I’d visualised that moment over and over!
Now to make up some time!
A 400 metre sprint (well in my head it felt like I was sprinting!) up to T1 and Bethany and I were soon on our bikes. Three 4 mile laps and we would be checking in again to pull on our running shoes. Loved the bike bit. Got a jovial ticking off by a marshal on a motorbike for shooting the breeze with Bethany for two tics. He dutifully gave me the low down on drafting, so I upped the anti and pedaled off!
Bike legs to running legs…was frustratingly weird. Your upper body is raring to go and down below your legs are on strike! Two 1.5 mile laps. By lap 2 my legs decided to co-operate and I could smell the finish!
Was it worth it? You bet! Would I recommend it? Most definitely YES!
Also becoming first time triathletes at Blenheim, as part of Shed Triathlon, were Leigh, Bethany, Johnathon, Jase-the-Skate and Andy! All of us have got the bug and have signed up for more!
Tomorrow night is lake swimming at Box End. In my first blog I said that I could never imagine saying that I love open water swimming.