Yesterday was finally the day I have waited and trained for for quite some time this year… I did my first triathlon.
I decided for the sprint distance in Athy because it is quite a flat course and most of the swim is downstream which is nice for the first tri. Until I saw the schedule for the day I did not know that the sprint is in the afternoon so I could more of less sleep in before getting onto the road. Unfortunately, having this much time means more time to get nervous and reading on Twitter that the water is quite cold did not really help.
Around lunchtime we got to Athy and after signing in, we handed out some flyers. We met some other Belparkers and then got over to the transition area which was quite far away.
The organisers ran late which was not really nice as the temperatures were not that high and those 700 something triathletes just wanted to get into the transition zone to set up their stuff. After the everyone who competed in the Olympic distance triathlon was out of transition we finally could set up the bike, runners and what else one needs for the three disciplines.
The swim went quite well. Some of the girls of my wave were just gone right after the start which I never saw again, well maybe later on the bike… The swim was upstream for the first 250m, then a U-turn and downstream for 500m. Quite nice for my first triathlon. After that turn I almost swam over a girl from the previous wave. She swam backstroke and was way behind the others of her wave. I am wondering how she was looking were she was going. The clouds in the sky might not be that helpful for that. But nothing for me to worry about.
The river was really cold. I found the river much colder than the Irish sea I jumped in the last weeks but at least there were no big waves. My feet were frozen and running into transition was not the nicest feeling.
In transition I got out of the wetsuit, or rather the lower part only, got my sunglasses (not that I needed them because of the clouds but without glasses on the bike with headwind? No, I did not want that), put on the helmet and the race belt, and grabbed my bike. I cannot believe that all that took me only 1min 33sec in my first tri.
After the mount line I got onto my bike and started the 20km cycle. It was 10K out and then back. Of course we had headwind on the first 10K but at least that meant that I would have tailwind on the way back…
It took me a while to get into my cycling shoes because my feet were still wet (why did I put a towel next to my bike?) and frozen. Running barefoot on asphalt out of transition to the mount line did not really help either. But once I had my shoes closed I was passing one girl after another. Nice feeling, really. Although on the first 5K I was cursing myself why I decided to do the triathlon. Three or four girls on their TT bikes also passed me but I think the cycle went pretty well, up and down the road to the turning point. With tailwind I continued to pass some girls and got back to Athy. At the dismount line I jumped of my bike and got back into transition.
This transition took me slightly longer although I only put the bike back, took the helmet of and put on my runners. On the way out of transition to the run some of the Belparkers that cycled down cheered for me and out I was on the run.
The run was okay I have to say and was not as bad as I expected, although I think that 5km never felt longer than yesterday.
I decided against my Garmin – I do not have a fancy tri one, just a simple one for running – and so I was out on the run without any orientation whatsoever where I was and how long I still had to go. Since I have it I was never out on a run without it.
Naturally, this was the part I feared most but I got through and was only passed by a few girls and some young, tall, skinny juniors that started at least two waves after me.
After those long 5km and 1h 25min 43sec I finally passed the finish line as 58th of 243 girls and ladies that raced in the sprint yesterday. Not to forget that the fast girls starting in the super series were also in those 57 girls finishing faster. So, that is not bad, isn’t it? Especially for my first triathlon.
In two weeks time them I am down in Dunmore East for my next tri. I cannot wait for that, although I am not looking forward to run up a hill (at least I also run it down again and it is only 5K and not the 7K as previously planned)… :)