Third Tri Lucky

Today is when I should have been doing Manchester marathon. Until yesterday I had actually forgotten about this and it hasn’t bothered me anywhere near as much as I thought it would.

I guess this is partly to do with me accepting that things haven’t quite (at all) gone to plan this year but also for my new found love of the bike…I am very grateful for it clearly taking my mind off the events that I am watching slip off my calendar but also slightly concerned that it is slowly erasing my memory of running.

However one event that will be firmly locked into my race diary for this year is May Day Triathlon. It was originally put in the diary as a bit of fun because a large number of the newly formed triathlon club that I have joined are doing it and I wanted to be part of that team spirit but never had any intentions of racing it two weeks after a marathon.

Marathon gone, bring on the tri!

This is the third triathlon I have entered but will (hopefully) be the first one I get to compete in…the last one was actually May Day three years ago but it was one of those entries on a whim that I never trained for it so just didn’t do it!

The first one I entered, and did train for, was in 2010…the Bexhill Sprint Triathlon. This was a classic sprint distance consisting of a 750m sea swim, 20k bike on a completely flat promenade and 5km run on the same terrain. I had entered it with my sister and it was fair to say there was some healthy sibling competition going on, especially once she realised I was taking my training for it very seriously to beat her! She is a much better swimmer than me, I had the edge over her on the run but we were both equally rubbish on the bike!

But unfortunately a month out from this event I had a nasty fall (a drunk person at a roller disco ploughed into me on wheels) which left me with a fractured L5 vertebra, out of the triathlon and unable to run for 3-6 months.

This knocked my confidence so much that I didn’t really get back into running for a couple of years and certainly had no intention of going anywhere near anything that left me precariously balancing on wheels again (hence why the last triathlon never happened).

Until, that is, I joined HERC Triathlon, the triathlon side of Hedge End Running Club of which I was already a member.

I tentatively agreed to be on the committee despite knowing nothing about triathlons but I have to say it was probably the best decision I was made to make. As the only novice on the committee at the time I felt quite intimidated by all the experience around me and the only way to change that was to start learning about triathlons and pushing myself out of my comfort zones.

As we all have a run background, this was never an issue, although ironically it is the discipline I am struggling with most at the moment but the rehab looks promising to be able to run the full distance. Also, thanks to my mother literally throwing me in the pool at the age of 7 and telling the teacher to ignore my tears as I was going to learn to swim whether I liked it or not, I wasn’t worried about the first part of a triathlon either. But the bike was a whole other matter.

To say I was terrified of the bike was an understatement but I was determined to get over this fear. I used the club turbo sessions over the winter to help build my fitness on the bike and then in March, when the weather had turned a bit nicer I forced myself out on my first ever solo bike ride, repeating a club group ride route I had done the week before. My mindset was dramatically transformed…I could and I was doing this.

Fast forward 6 weeks from that first solo ride, where I took a detour to avoid a roundabout, and I am not only enjoying and attacking my sessions on the bike, but I am more importantly not scared of it any more.

So this brings me back to May Day Triathlon on 4th May…two weeks tomorrow…I really can’t wait! I am not even nervous anymore, just excited to see what I can do. I joined HERC Triathlon because I was adamant that I would complete at least one triathlon in my lifetime and being attached to the running club I was already with just seemed like too good an opportunity to turn down.

The encouragement and experience I have received from this club in just the last few months has been invaluable…the running club are well known across the South for being one of the friendliest and most supportive clubs around and the triathlon club has certainly taken on the Hedgie spirit too.

I think it is also fair to say that with the fun I am having and this awesome trisuit that I have purchased, May Day will be my first but certainly not my last triathlon!