Soz it's been so long guys! I feel like I should do some kind of proverbial warm up like in Wimbledon before the match and throw out some practice blog "shots". Hello my name is Charlotte. I did a race the other week. It was a triathlon. It was epic.
OK warmed up, here we go with the real mccoy...
The property triathlon is an event which the majority of my office shudder in fear at - me on the other hand think it is one of the best days of the working year. A day out of the office, in summer, you get exercise, a medal and the chance of glory - so obviously out of 50 or so employees 4 of us entered the race (at the company's expense too) Crazy.
It was all very exciting - the company gave us branded tri-suits to wear on the day which arrived a few days before and moral/banter on who would win out of the four of us was high. I was not particularly feeling the pressure as I was the only girl and knew I would not come close to any of them - two are training for an Ironman in September and the other plays international hockey. But I was riding a rather lovely wave of post-Paris marathon fitness still - I have still been doing strengthening sessions, interval sessions, long runs and gentle runs which has meant my fitness was still relatively high and I felt good. I did the triathlon a couple of years ago and think I finished in 1:34 - I really wanted to crack the 1:30 marker. My biggest stress was not looking svelte enough in my tri-suit!
Arrived at Dorney Lake and got everything ready and prepped for my 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run. Bumped into a couple of people I knew and general comments and banter on how hot it was (this was a couple of weeks ago now and on the tail end of the heat wave) 30 degrees, blue skies and not much wind. At least getting into the lake wouldn't be traumatic.
I had some new goggles which are designed for open water swimming so have a big face part - with my wet suit on and these huge orange contraptions around my eyes, I resembled a poor man's scuba diver so hastily got in the lake for obscurity.
Off we went! As I have previously mentioned - swimming is my thang. I just feel so comfortable in the water and while it has been ages since my younger years of competitive swimming, I guess it is like riding a bike and all training has somewhat stuck with me. I was soon ahead of the majority of girls in the pack and trying to keep up with a girl on my right because 1) the water is not clear and to keep swimming in a straight line, you have to keep looking up to check you are heading in the right direction and 2) she was only wearing a bikini and looked pretty hard core, so thought I would try my best to stay with her. Alas after reaching half way she swam off and I couldn't keep her in my sights but after turning past the last buoy for the 300 metre home straight I could see bubbles ahead and quickly caught up another two girls instead. As I came out of the water I glanced behind me to see unbelievably, pretty much everyone still in the water. In the transition area I tried to rip off my wetsuit and put on my cycling shoes in 30 seconds flat and failed miserably. I felt seriously light headed so had to sit down and wiggle my feet into dry socks and shoes. Strapped my helmet on and grabbed my garmin and I was off. Soaking wet and slightly delusional but running out with my bike.
Onto the bike and I could feel bits of pond weed flailing off me and sadly pretty much all of the factor 30 I had slapped on pre-swim too. I quickly got into a rythmn and felt good, the wind had picked up a bit but my legs felt strong so I tucked in and settled in for the 4 laps of Dorney lake. Sadly it wasn't long before I had company and after the first lap two girls with awesome bottoms overtook me. Noting their much shorter bodies I didn't dwell on this and happily noted that in my final two laps when other girls overtook me too, they were also shorter than me. As we were coming in to the final lap, I did overtake a few girls who had obviously only just started their cycle, which gave me a bit of a boost.
Coming in to the second transition and I quickly (well, it felt like it) threw off the cycling shoes and put on my trainers. Gulped down two jelly babies and started the garmin for my run, so I could keep an eye on pace. Started running and my first thought was - oh my goodness it is so hot. Which is just such a boring thing to think! But it was hot - around midday - no shade whatsoever and sun reflecting off Dorney lake. The run is also just dull as dishwater - 1.25 straight along the river, turn round, come back and repeat. Halfway up the first stretch and I wanted to give up. But I didn't and even though it was hot and I was tired I had that feeling in my legs of "I can do this, I can run fast, because I am a bloomin runner" So I gave myself a talking to and soldiered on. Once I got halfway I felt a lot better - plus had run through two water stations - not drinking two cups of water but just throwing them over my head. I also then spotted two of my colleagues who had just started the run behind me - one gave me a high five and it made me smile. I pushed on in what will be known as the most-boring-and-hot-run-ever and soon the end was in sight and even more importantly a girl who had overtaken me on the bike. OMG a moment of absolute glory - I got to overtake her. She put up a fight too but was obviously struggling and I left her in my somewhat stumbling dust at this point for good with the finish in sight. A big sprint over the line and I was so glad to finish.
The warm bottle of water given to me to drink surprisngly was the most amazing thing ever and as I was first to finish I got to cheer in my colleagues. As I don't have a waterproof watch I had no idea what my time was and in my exhaustion at the end, I forgot to stop my garmin as I crossed the line. But in this cool modern world we live in, I had a text message congratulating me on finishing and my finish time of... 1:26:04!!!
My complete stats:
Swim - 14:38 - 5th coming out of the water - woohoo me!
Bike - 42:58
Run - 25:06
I finished 13th out of 81 girls in my wave/category and literally could not stop smiling for the rest of the day. Even when my colleagues and I realised we were all pretty much burnt to a crisp and severely dehydrated. So much fun!
So what have I decided to do - up the ante of course and have an Olympic traithlon in a couple of weeks time - actually terrified. I am still cycling when I can, running, swimming etc. But this is going to be hard - hoping to finish I guess in around 3:15 - which sounds like a very long time!!
Wish me luck and happy running - I will let you all know how I get on!
PS. My colleague G and I at the finish - that is not a beer but an isotonic recovery drink which has zero alcohol in it but tastes and looks like beer. They were amazing - I drank two because after a while the warm water was just not cutting it!
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