On 8th and 9th August we retailed at the AJ Bell London Triathlon, working alongside Oakley, PowerBar, Hilly, On Running, CEP and Adidas amongst others too. I visited the Excel for the event socially, feeling awful flaunting my day off in front of the team whilst they were putting in the hard graft and long hours! But like many feel when watching the large scale events like the London Marathon, I was inspired – next year I want to compete at the London Triathlon 2016.
Having never been a good swimmer I knew it would take a lot of training and hardwork to complete the 1.5km swim, let alone the following 40km cycle and 10km run, even with a year’s training ahead of me! This was reinforced after spending no more than a minute and a half in the pool a week later. Pausing for 30 seconds rest every other length of a 25m metre pool gives you a relative understanding of whereabouts my swim fitness was at. The important thing is that I went back 2 days later. And again 2 days after that, and again, and again. Very quickly I was down to 10 seconds rest every three lengths, and now after a little more than 2 months I’ve upgraded to a 50 metre pool, swimming a kilometre (very slowly) two or three times a week, with no rest – woo!
September arrived and I was keen to get a taste of triathlon before the season ended. If I had a go, just to complete rather than compete, I’d know whether it was for me or not!
We were due to retail at the Brownlee Triathlon in Leeds at the end of September, so after a quick email to our good friends at Adidas and the event organisers I managed to secure a place. I opted for the Super-Sprint (400m/13km/3km) as to not dive in too deep (no pun intended), borrowed a wetsuit from Adam at Alton, loaded my bike on the van, runners, elastic laces, race number belt and tri-suit all packed – I was ready to go.
In hindsight, the six hour drive to Leeds, an early morning rise and seven hours of working our retail stand, probably wasn’t the best pre-race prep I’ve ever done, but 2.15pm came and I was ready. The swim was awesome; surprisingly my favourite part. As the klaxon went I paused to let the rest of the wave set off, so I could swim into calmer water. However, to my surprise by the time I made it to the first buoy I’d over taken two thirds of the pack. This gave me real confidence to push on and before I knew it I was walking up the ramp and running into transition.Wetsuit off, helmet on, racebelt on, shoes on, bike off the rack and onto the road. The course was lovely; cycling through the grounds of Harewood House on a dry, beautifully autumnal day. Unfortunately, I very quickly developed cramp in my right calf and spent the first half of the 6km loop stretching it, pedaling a little and stretching again. I knew all the while I was stretching it my left calf was working overtime, and sure enough when the cramp eased off in my right, it fired up in my left calf – just as I approached dismount. Suffering from cramp before you’ve even started your run is not the one! It took me a good kilometre to get into the run once I’d shaken off the cramp and the inevitable jelly legs, but when I could finally open up and start striding it felt really good. The marshals were all round the run route shouting words of encouragement which was awesome to see and hear and leading into the finish the course was lined with spectators cheering, only adding to the buzz I was already feeling.
I finished with a time of 1:02:07, finishing 32nd overall in a field of 334 – not what I had anticipated! The placing and time was the icing on the cake really; the sense of achievement I felt was more than I’d ever expected and cemented my intentions for London Triathlon 2016!
Since then I’ve entered and completed (not competed) the local Huntsman Triathlon Sprint distance of 750m/20km/5km at Hawley Lake, thanks to the team at Superfeet for finding me a late entry, and am continuing to Swim, Bike and Run every week. London Olympic Triathlon 2016 is firmly in the diary. To complete or compete, that is the question!