Happy New Year everyone! I hope you achieve all your running goals in 2015 and have a magical journey along the way!
I decided to do a double whammy this year of Edinburgh Triathlon on New Year’s Day and then Parkrun in Perth today. Now that would sound like a crazy idea from the outset when entering (although those who know me or have followed my achievements in 2014 won’t be at all surprised) except for the fact that I entered for the Triathlon back in October/November and only decided on Parkrun last night so my brain had decided it was a good idea whereas my body was saying”wtf”!
I said after doing the Relay Wild Triathlon in 2013 that I wanted to do a ‘proper’ Tri but then found myself at the 2014
RWT saying the exact same thing and so when I heard about this one, I decided to go for it. The RWT is a team relay event where everyone does the super sprint swim/cycle/run and is a great introduction for the sport. I entered a couple of teams this year and the guys team finished first local team.
The New Year’s Day Triathlon in Edinburgh is a totally different beast with a 400m swim, 12 mile cycle and 5km run. Generally those distances aren’t really scary but when you’re a rubbish swimmer and you tend to swim once a year (RWT) then this is a big deal! We did the swim at the Royal Commonwealth Pool so it was 8 laps of the 50m pool before heading out and onto a route that takes you round Arthur’s Seat for both the cycle and the run. The cycle is 3 laps and involves at least a mile of climbing and while the views from the top are amazing, they’re not when you’re fighting against a strong crosswind, rain and a tasty headwind as you approach the top! At the end of each lap, it’s common to think that the next climb won’t be as windy, only to discover that it is and on lap 3, it felt even worse!
I was glad to finish the bike ride then head out for the run. I got a tip from my friends at Perth Tri Club to go easy on the swim, get round the bike route then go for it in the run and so that’s what I did, and it worked! I felt really fresh and strong going into the run except that I couldn’t see anyone ahead of me as most people were nearly finished. The race started at 12.15pm, everyone went off on the swim in 10sec intervals and I didn’t start the swim until 1.20pm. I usually thrive off chasing down the person in front and I had to work hard when I didn’t have that immediate target and there was no-one behind me who would likely catch me. A mile in and I spotted a couple of guys a good bit ahead but it didn’t take me long to catch them and pass them. As we began the climb up the hill, I could see a few people ahead of me and I managed to go past them easy enough. When we got to the top, there was one person in the distance ahead of me so that gave me the incentive to work hard and eventually passed them and then I saved the best for last. As we came downhill, you could see the whole road ahead and also the side road that would take us to the finish. I spotted someone now on that side road and I decided to give it one last shot and try to catch them. I felt like I was flying downhill, onto the side road and spotted the woman in front a reasonable distance ahead and so I pushed it a bit more. When we turned the corner, there was an uphill stretch then a left turn to the finish. I kept my eye on the woman ahead, dug deep and powered past her and made it to the line with the little I had left.
I had done it, I had completed my first Triathlon! I felt the same buzz I get after finishing a good Half Marathon or Marathon. It was an amazing experience, despite the weather, and one I aim to repeat again later this year. I hadn’t trained for the swim, or the cycle for that matter, but I got the pacing right and finished it well. My plan now is to go and learn how to do the front crawl so I no longer have to do breaststroke and fit in some more cycling and with my running training, I should be a lot stronger for the next one.
I think it’s a good thing if your first running race/cycle race/Triathlon is hard as you prepare for that level for the next one and, ultimately, there’s a very good chance that next race will be a lot easier. Understand the event you are about to do, always ask the experts for some tips and go out and do it. There’s no such thing as a bad run, you either do it well or you learn many lessons on how to do it better next time.