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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Helena's Big Adventure. Chapter 7 - I survived!

It is done! I have finished my 1st triathlon!

I will start with the exciting bit – I wanted to finish it! I ended up coming in the 2nd place in the female competition! I am very happy and excited! Total time 00:47:59.

I think I did the wise thing of going to Henley-on-Thames the night before. I had a nice long walk, a lovely dinner and a good nights sleep. If I have had travelled on the same day I might not have been so relaxed. And all the amount of things one needs to bring for a race! Only thing that got me nervous was the long wait in a cold windy meadow for almost 2hrs before my race. Seeing other people finishing, being cold and starting to get hungry, that was not what I wanted. Start time couldn't arrive soon enough!

Amount of stuff one needs for a triathlon (bike excluded)

Finally it was time to go to the start position! I quickly ran to the toilet. While queuing I took my top off to make getting out of the tri suit easier and guess what I saw in the mirror! The young boy who marked my arm had got my number wrong. On my leg it nicely said 716 but my arm had 616, and I had to run and ask somebody to correct it. Good thing, it took my mind off things! Lesson learned – check what people write on you!

Swim time and transition 1 – time 00:06:01. I messed up my swim! The first 2 lengths went as planned, but then when I needed to change lanes I choked, lost the nice rhythm of my breath and started to struggle. Never thought I could mess it up in such a short distance but I did! Changing between front crawl and breaststroke I managed to overtake 3 people and get out of the pool as quick as one can while struggling for breath. I remembered to kick hard so didn't end up with head-rush when I got out of the water! Got my bike gear on very quickly and was on my way in the second leg!

Transition one - remembered to put my helmet on before touching the bike

Bike time and transition 2 – 00:27:26. Trek Madone was flying and all I needed to do was to let it! It was a bit windy but bike felt very stable. Lost count of the people I passed by. Description of the course was flat, slightly undulating. It was a bit more technical than I had expected but as Ben Hallam pointed out, it only seemed so because I was going fast. Good joke! Getting my running trainers on proved to be a bit tricky as I was a bit light-headed. I think I could have done my bike leg faster but I was not sure how my legs would feel for the run, so maybe it was good I did not push myself too hard.

Stay strong on the bike!

Run – 00:14:32. I was aiming for 15 minutes so I'm happy. I have never been a fast runner and is something I am hoping to work on more now when I am doing track sessions. I thought that if I can do my run in 15 minutes off the bike, it would be good. I was lucky as the run was on a grass so had less impact and was easy on my tired legs! Passed some people in the run too.

How not to look when crossing the finish line or "don't forget to smile"

I was just racing myself, pacing myself and making sure I did not run out of energy. When I managed a sprint finish, I was sooooooooooo happy! I was happy that I finished it under an hour as I hoped for! But I never thought I would be 2nd! I still can't believe in my success!!!

This was just a small triathlon, perfect for the beginners. I will have to get better! Now just working on my swim and run, improving my bike and getting ready for my sprint distance at the end of September!!!

"I am in competition with no one, I run my own race, I have no desire to play the game of being better than anyone, in any way, shape, or form. I just aim to improve, to be better than I was before. That's me and I'm free."

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