Yesterday, 1 November 2015, I FINISHED the Standard Bank 5i50 Triathlon Series out in Ekhuruleni, Germistron.
Saturday 31st October started off with an open water swim out at the Germiston Lake. 7h30 AM we hit the water, it was surprisingly warm and really calm. Ideal setting for us to reaffirm our confidence in the open waters.
The swim was followed by a brief workshop on changing your tyre. You will be surprised at how many of us cyclists out there do not know how to change a tyre, if we got stuck riding on our own. I’ve been fortunate that hubby has been around to help in these instances .. rare as they have been .. so the demo by the coach was a welcomed experience for many.
After the swim we made our way to the registration point. Clearly we were not the only group excited. By the time we got there the queue was already long and registration hadn’t even started yet. Once in, the process was fast, so fast I forgot to check my name was linked to my chip 😦 I only realised this at about 2am Sunday morning. Too late! Still, not so fast for me to notice our Swazi flag on the wall.
Sunday morning could not have arrived any sooner. Although extremely nervous, I was just as excited for this day. Three years I’d been dreaming about this day, and it was finally here. I haven’t felt this ready in a very long time for an event. Bright and early I dragged the family to the venue. Met up with the crew from DaretoTRI, and from there the day basically became a roller coaster. One minute we’re being briefed on the rules and how the day would go, the next my group is being called to the water in preparation for our start.
Water temperature was awesome, 21 degrees celsius. The wind although upon us, was slightly affecting the waters bringing back memories from a year back. Having watched the group before us go off, I watched the whole “washing machine” effect that the coach and more experienced triathlete have mentioned for us to avoid. All you see are arms moving everywhere and the bubbles – washing powder and water in your washing machine – the movement of the legs and arms have when they all simultaneously hit the water.
Any moment it will be our turn. While waiting for our group to start there were a few men brought back out of the water. Watching this at first added to the nerves, but I remembered being in that every same position a year back. I wasn’t going to let it happen again, if I could help it.
It wasn’t long after this .. 15 minutes actually, that the horn went off signaling our turn to create the same effect… I waited a while… 15 – 20 seconds, the time everyone suggested to me .. before I added to the effect. Further into the water I went, doing my best not to get stuck in any of the reed or meet up with any of the unwanted items flowing beneath the murkiness of the water.
Making my way towards the buoy at the 750m mark, I’m swimming away, looking up now and then to make sure I was still going in the right direction. As I do this, to my right more men are being lifted onto the support boats. “What was I thinking” .. “Land seems so far right now” .. “I’m not repeating last years scenario” .. these are all thoughts going through my head as I swim to the first buoy. I finally get there, suddenly I seem to be surrounded by more peeps than I started with? We had caught up to some members of the group that went off before us, and the damn reeds were still with us!
Passing the buoy on my left, I swam a little further and looked again to see how far I was from land. Shoo, it looked closer but I was still very far. Next thing I had someone swim across my path, left to right. I swam a little further, then I had to stop again .. the same dude was now swimming from my right to the left! Seriously dude .. hope you drive better than you swim! Feeling a little disoriented I finally reached the shores of the dam, to cheers encouraging me on. Off to the bike I went, helmet, shoes, GU etc sorted and I was off pushing my bike to the mount point.
It wasn’t too long before I was on the highway making my way towards the 20km mark, also the halfway point for the ride. About 10km in I started feeling that wind! The wind, she was cross yesterday. A few times it felt like I would be blown over, come to think about it I believe that some riders were blown over. To top this riding experience it was also very hot! While on the road, taking a sip from the water bottle felt like I was actually eating sand. Nasty! Someone described the experience well, when they said that we basically pedaled the entire route, no time to relax on the downhills. I’m sure I heard the MC say something about the route being flat and fast … hmm .. I’m still wondering if we were at the same event? I felt like I was hill climbing the entire route! The last stretch to the dismount point of the bike, the cramps started to engage. I knew I was in trouble!
Back at my bike station it was time to change shoes. Change my cycling cleats to running shoes. Ate the rest of the banana I had and munched on some race food to see if it would kill the cramps. Pushed all this down with some water and I was off making my way to complete the run. I don’t think I was even halfway through the first 1km when the cramps hit me up again. Basically the rest of the run was made of run/walk spurts. It felt like the longest ever 10km run, needless to say even the time was the slowest I’ve ever run … slower than my first ever 10km run 14 months earlier. Still I pushed on and on .. met a fellow DaretoTRI team member and we basically ran the last 1km together.
The cheers from the spectators played such a huge roll in keeping the participants inspired and geared towards finishing the triathlon. If it was your first or tenth .. the cheer really helped.
My fellow team member had done four triathlons already, and I was about to finish my first one 🙂 I’d like to believe he let me cross the Finishers Arch first, especially as the timing system only recognises one person at a time….
I finally crossed the line. My time was within what I thought I’d get, so am happy about that .. extremely happy that I managed to complete it!
At first I was surprised, and was like .. “give me a chance to breath ….” when I started receiving encouragements to hit the road and start training towards the next triathlon .. focus being on the half Ironman 70.3. I know these are meant to keep me focused, but now all I want is to finish two other firsts this year before I commit to any new goals. Next two bucket list items .. finishing the 947 Cycle Challenge in two weeks and the 32km Tough 1 the following weekend. Two major milestones for me.
Now, I just need this body to recover in time and my bike needs a good service! I’m sure it still doesn’t know what’s going on 🙂