Trying a Tri | Eclectic Cake: Trying a Tri

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Trying a Tri

All throughout my injury I've complained that I can't run. But as I finally begin to run again (nine weeks later), I'm starting to feel a bit reluctant to go back. My sprained ankle has forced me to try new sports in search of low-impact cardio workouts and it seems I've grown rather attached. Swimming and then cycling have become part of my routine and I don't really want to give them up. So I made a crazy spur-of-the-moment decision to combine the three. I'm going to do a triathlon! The combination of a swim, then cycle, then run would marry all three activities together – perfect!

I started researching short distance (super-sprint) triathlons, found a local club – the Hillingdon Triathletes – and realised that they were holding one the next morning! This was a fun introduction to triathloning for novices – the perfect race for me. But after gearing myself up for the 300m indoor (!!!) swim, 5 miles cycle and 1 mile run, I found out I was too late for entry. Gutted, I decided to go and watch instead and maybe on the off chance they'd let me join in.

I'm SO glad they didn't! Don't be fooled by the low mileage, super-sprint triathlons are tough! I just cycled from home to the sports ground and almost died! The last part of my journey ran alongside the race route, where I could see warriors pedalling hard up the hill. They were on grass and I was on pavement, meaning their four laps of the field were made even harder, yet they were all still far speedier than me!

My trainers are definitely getting some mileage!

At the track, red-faced, sweat-dripping athletes crossed the finish line. All I could feel was relief. I was relieved that everyone still seemed alive, and relieved that I didn't enter in time. Terrified, I wrestled with my first instinct to go home and hide, and went for a swift splash in the pool.

The swim felt really good and totally lifted my spirits. I'm definitely getting faster and stronger in the water... So then, that's the first part of a triathlon that I'm feeling more confident about. And once my ankle is fully healed I should be able to get back to a reasonable level in running. Cycling then, the longest section in most triathlons, is where I'm going to struggle the most.

I do love cycling and I'm fine on flat roads but add a slight incline and I'm pedalling through treacle! It doesn't help that I have a mountain bike that grips to the road like it would on sticky mud-covered tracks – effectively I've already made it harder for myself. It means that I need to work harder to get the speed that road bikes can achieve. So, whilst I shall work on improving all three areas, it's cycling that needs the most attention – squats here I come!

I'm going to get to know this view very well!

I've found the perfect first race, this time allowing myself some proper training time. The Henley-on-Thames super-sprint triathlon, billed for anyone who wants to try a tri, is on 23rd June – under two months away! Just the thought of the 200m (indoor!!!) swim, 12.5k cycle and 2.5k run, has made me nervous!

There is another stress that's been added to my first-race nerves – my husband has volunteered to do the race with me! I was shocked! Normally even a slight suggestion that he join me in swimming or running gets laughed at, so I didn't even ask him. Of course, racing and training are different things, as are our approaches – I am currently planning out my training, he is going to "bring it on the day"! Surely my hard work beats his "sofa training" any day... my inner competitive loon really hopes so!

Always comparing things – he wins on shoe size!

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