"} Get a life, Get active! By Fit Lesley: April 1998

Monday, 27 April 1998

Challenge 35 - Kendal Sprint Triathlon - April 2014

Today, Sunday 27th April 2014 I completed my first "proper" triathlon – the sprint distance Kendal Tri which involved a 400 metre pool swim, a 18K bike and a 5K run.

As I am a slow swimmer I was put in the first wave therefore I had an exceptionally early swim start time of 8am!

Last year I did a "time based" triathlon for newbies but this was my first time competing with the big boys and girls and I was exceptionally nervous!

Yesterday I got all my gear ready and I packed what was required into the plastic box I was going to use in transition!  I opted to put my stuff in a box with a lid as the forecast can be so hit and miss I didn't fancy coming out the pool to a wet towel, clothes and shoes should there be a sudden downpour!

I tried to have an fairly early night and I set my alarm for 6:30am. 

However, a mix of nerves, a distinct lack of alcohol and my husband snoring meant I was awake more than I was asleep and I was actually thankful when my alarm went off that I could finally get up and get on with it!

I was delighted when I peeked out the curtains to see clear blue skies and no rain!

I headed downstairs to try and eat some breakfast and managed one Weetabix with milk, followed by a banana and a few slurps of coffee!

It was soon time to go back upstairs to put my tri suit on, as well as some other clothes to keep me warm!  By now I was feeling exceptionally jittery and was wondering why I was putting myself through this on a Sunday morning!

I did a quick double check of my box, checked that my bike tyres had enough air in and I was good to go!

As I live less than a mile to the start I decided it was easier for me to cycle there and let my husband follow in the car with THE all important box!

I had to be at registration by 7.30am and on the poolside ready by 7.50am so time was tight!

I arrived at registration dead on time at 7.30am!  There was no queueing so I was quickly ticked off the list, given my swim lane number as well as a gym bag which contained my race number, a number for my bike, a race belt (although I already had one) and lots of literature about other races!

It was now time to head to the transition area and find the correct place to rack my bike! I was bib number 11 so I had to hunt down rack number 11!  Thankfully, there was a very helpful and friendly Marshall who showed me the way and advised which way to face my bike for an easy exit! (something in my highly nervous state I would never have considered!)

I stuck my bike number on the stem of my bike and then battled to fix my race number to my race belt! (Note to self "bring a small hole punch to make a hole in bib first").  With the help of a Marshall carrying a penknife I managed to get it attached eventually.

I was now time to head into the pool changing rooms, get undressed and have a nervous wee - not an easy thing to do when wearing a tri suit!  

Cap on and goggles positioned on my head - I was ready to face battle.

I arrived at poolside at around 7.50am and walked into a sea of equally nervous first timers.  There was a short time to chat before we had our race briefing and given our timing chip to attach to our left ankle!  Everyone was very friendly and it was nice to know we were all in the same boat!

We were told which lanes we were in and our position within that lane.  I was to be first to go in lane 4 and then the other 3 in my lane would be set off at 5 second intervals after me.

We were given our instructions to get in the water and prepare to start.  The start was in the deep end of the pool, so I had to tread water whilst I positioned my goggles and checked for leakages! 

I  clung nervously onto the side waiting for the starters whistle.

20 ........ 15 ..... 10 .... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... 

I was OFF!

I tried to remain calm and talked myself through my stroke, my position and my breathing and all felt good for the first length and a half and then the woman behind me, overtook me and then threw herself over enthusiastically into a tumble turn kicking me in the head in the process ( I think tumble-turns should be banned after this experience!)

I clung to the side trying to regain my composure before setting off again but the nerves were now on high alert and I couldn't get back into my rhythm or breathing.  

I could feel panic setting in and I could actually envisage a full-on panic attack happening.  I felt dreadful!

At the end of each length I stopped and tried to steady my breathing before setting off again but the gremlin inside my head had truly taken hold and all my confidence had gone.  I have never been so pleased to see my "lane counter" raise the red float that indicated to me I only had 2 lengths remaining. 

As I hauled myself out the pool (via the steps as I didn't have the energy to clamber out the side!) I could feel tears of disappointment welling up.  

I told myself to get a grip and hoped that now I was on dry land things would get better!

I have no recollection of leaving the leisure centre, running over the grass to my bike and I certainly didn't register the cold air on my wet skin as I exited into the great outdoors!  

I had obviously gone into my own little world determined to right the awful start!

I threw my goggles and hat onto the grass, quickly towelled myself off and then put my helmet on before I forgot in the panic (didn't want disqualified before I started!). 

Next I put on my cycling jacket and race belt with the number on my back (Tri rules state your number needs to be on your back for the cycle and on your front for the run!) before sitting down to fight with my cycling shoes and damp feet!

I was soon good to go!  

I ran/walked through the transition area as fast as I could push my bike and it was only once I had mounted my bike and I was hurtling down the road with the sun in my eyes that I realised with despair that my cycling glasses were still in my box!

Too late, I would just have to squint!

Once on my bike my confidence returned especially as I was now overtaking all the swimmers who had left me in the pool!

My smile returned and I relaxed.  The sun was shining, the birds were tweeting, lambs were baaing and life felt good!  

I thoroughly enjoyed the cycle route even the biggish hill which had to be navigated twice once at mile 4 and then again at mile 9 (or should I say especially the big hill) as a few cyclists were actually pushing their bikes up this and I just glided past!.

Approaching the leisure centre at the end of the cycle route I quickly dismounted, ran into transition, racked my bike, threw off my helmet and jacket and changed into my running shoes which was much easier now my feet had dried out!

I had a few quick slurps of my energy drink before heading off for the final leg and the one I felt most confident about - The Run.

However, as I headed off I couldn't see a thing!  I felt very light headed with black dots in front of my eyes!  I was feeling slightly freaked out by this and was a little worried I was going to embarrass myself and pass out! To take my mind off it I started to count my strides and thankfully within a short distance it cleared and I felt "normal" again!

I'm not sure why I realised but all of a sudden after the first mile or so of the run it dawned on me that I hadn't "swivelled" my number to be at the front! Whoops, hopefully it went unnoticed!

The run felt good and apart from the hill at mile 2 that slowed me down quite significantly I felt like I had a good run.

I could feel a big smile spread across my face as I crossed the road and headed into the finishers funnel and over the timing mat!

Just over the finish line I was greeted by a friendly Marshall who rewarded me by placing my well deserved (in my opinion!) medal over my head and even bent down to remove my timing chip from my ankle!

I had done it!  

I AM a Triathlete!

Apart from the horrendous swim experience I had a thoroughly enjoyable time!

I can't wait to beat my swim demons and do it all again!

So how did I get on?

I managed to get within my finish goal time with faster times for everything except the swim so I am chuffed with that despite the bad start!

So here's my goal times compared with what I did! 

10 minute 400 Metre Swim, actual 11:54
3 minute transition, actual 2:52
54 minute 18K Cycle, actual 50:21
3 minute transition, actual 1:58
30 minute 5K run, actual 26:54

Goal Finish time: 1 hour 40 minutes actual 1:33:59

All in all a good day!  A very friendly and well organised event and superb for a first timer!

I would recommend it to anyone thinking about doing a triathlon!