Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The 40-something Triathlete!!!

40 Year Old Woman Does First Triathlon (wearing red nail polish) and Survives!!!

I had really wanted to post about this yesterday, but I have to say, I was so wiped out, I didn’t have the stamina.

For those of you who are new to my blog, I have been training for my first ever triathlon – at the ripe old age of…. 40-something!  And the event took place on Sunday.

This whole plan was hatched a couple of months ago, when a friend of mine, Claire, suggested it.  Feeling a little nervous, I ran it past Running Man (who has a lot of experience doing triathlons), who thought it was a fantastic idea.

Unfortunately, having signed myself up, Claire pulled out due to illness.

Although I really wanted to go ahead with it, the thought of turning up on my own was terrifying.

But then things started to turn around.  Claire volunteered to be a Marshall, as did Sarah, who also agreed to look after my eldest for the night, as I had to be at the event at 6.00am to register.   

And then, the night before the event, I got another supporter.  RM’s cycle race had been cancelled, due to the horrendous weather.  He was really disappointed, so decided he’d come and join Claire and Sarah in supporting me. 

Suddenly, I started to re-gain a little bit of confidence.  After a quick supper at Sarah’s, I raced home to set out my kit for the next day and set the alarm for… oh-my-god… 05.25…!  Believe me… I don’t ‘do’ mornings!

As the alarm rang at the appointed time, I rolled out of bed and into my new Tri Suit.  As I did so, I could hear the rain pouring down outside.  It had been raining all night and was showing no sign of abating.

At 6.00am, Running Man arrived at the door.  All of a sudden it started to feel ‘real’!  I started getting anxious.  I didn’t want to be late.  I was worried about coming off the bike on the wet roads, or maybe just drowning in the pool!  What if I couldn’t find my bike, amongst the 99 other competitors’ bikes or got disqualified for losing count of the number of laps I’d done? 

For the first of many times that morning, RM just said:  “Stop worrying!  You’ll be fine.  Just enjoy it!”

And then we were off…

Having registered and parked my bike, RM and I went to wait with the other competitors before going into the pool.  And this is where I probably went a bit ‘wrong’!  I had a dreadful cough and cold, so decided a couple of ‘puffs’ of Ventolin would be a good idea.  I then downed a Caffeine shot to get me going… 

And we were off to the pool.  After a short briefing I was in the water – and feeling very anxious.  Four lengths later, I came to a grinding halt.  The combination of nerves, Ventolin and Caffeine had made my heart start to race, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I started to panic and almost burst into tears. 

My friends were all waiting for me at various stages of the race – and so was my son!  How could I possibly tell them that I’d only managed to swim four lengths, before having a panic attack and pulling out.  As the world came crashing down on me, I felt a tap on my shoulder from the Marshall, checking that I was OK.   I asked if I could take my goggles off, having mistakenly thought that wearing goggles was obligatory.   Once I’d removed them, I instantly felt better and decided to continue with the swim.

Panic over, I completed the swim and scrambled out of the pool, running through mud and rain to my bike.  Having put my wet muddy feet into my socks and shoes, I threw on a warm top and waterproof jacket and was off.

The bike ride went much quicker than I had imagined, although all I could think of was the panic attack in the pool.

As I returned my bike, the sound of my son, Sarah and RM cheering me on gave me a real boost.  As my run began, my legs felt like jelly and the rain and wind were whipping my face.  I tried to tiptoe round the puddles – but it was hard going.  And then….  I needed a pee!

I have joked about this before – and I guess it was inevitable – but I had no choice but to have a Paula Radcliffe moment.  Fortunately, there was no one in sight and a very handy tree!

As I ran on, I could see Claire in the distance, shouting words of encouragement and ready to hand me a cup of water.

“You’re doing really well!  Just keep going!”  she shouted as I set off again.  It’s amazing what a difference it makes when people are encouraging. 

Finally, muddy, wet and exhausted, I saw the finish line.  My son’s voice rang out “C’mon Mum, SPRINT!”  And just as I was about to cross the line, some twerp, young enough to be my son, sprinted ahead of me.  WHAT A T*SSER!  My son was not amused!  Neither were the Marshalls (who gave him the same finish time!). 

And it was over.

I had completed my first ever Triathlon.  I was hugely disappointed that my swim had nearly written the whole thing off, but, I did it!  I finished the course… and three really great friends had got out of bed at 6am to witness it! 

Did it boost my confidence?  You bet!

And will I do it again…?  

Have a guess!

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