Completing my first full Sprint Distance on Australia Day I realize now it was achieved on some Jedi Mind Tricks from coach – I was Yodarized!
At this point you are thinking what next she isn’t going to the Olympics
But before I get into the race I am going to rewind back to the lead up. One of the reasons I had not attempted a full Sprint was the 750m meter swim, which might sound strange since I have reached the dizzy heights of lane 2 in swim training, but I had come to realize that I was suffering race anxiety making my breathing difficult. Basically as soon as I heard the go command I as hyperventilating myself to breaststroke. Many open water swims and swim training with F4L Triathlon Coaching later I had finally found the elusive Dory “just keep swimming” technique.
This wasn’t my only hurdle (at this point you are thinking what next she isn’t going to the Olympics, get on with it already).
I had been suffering a lot of lower leg pain when running and felt my fitness had slipped, that combined with a deceased beloved fur baby and a traumatic trip to hospital (not mine) I was feeling as flat as you could possibly get. I also knew the Australia Day Triathlon has lots of hills. So should I enter? “Go on do it” was one part of my brain, “give yourself a break” was the other, the solution – enter the Fun Distance. Manageable distance on all legs, taking into account the hills, my life and my self pity.
I made the mistake (or was it) of conveying this to F4L Coach, Paul to which I got a prompt response...
“You are doing the sprint”.
I went home and thought I would put my argument in an email to coach. Another ‘you are doing the Sprint” response. I responded with a “piece of my mind email” which I then pressed delete, delete, delete, delete and rewrote in a more “not happy email”, and entered the Sprint.
I didn’t give myself any expectations
Race day I didn’t give myself any expectations as I knew it would be hard slog for me. I found a nice wide position on the swim and stuck to it. I felt a few feet on the way out but generally had a good if not slow swim. The back line of the swim in the river was choppier then expected, but I had been out in the open water a lot so just ticked along. Towards home I was feeling a bit tired so popped up to sight (maybe on my feet) that’s when I heard a familiar voice from the shore yell “keep swimming”. A voice I wasn’t expecting as I was at the back of the pack and thought, if not hoped, the crowd had moved on.
The transition out of water to bike was a long wind up the hill. Usually I come out of the water gasping due to said race anxiety but today wasn’t too bad at all. I found my bike and got going. The bike was 3 laps with some revolting hills. I have no excuse for a slow ride, I simply don’t get on the bike enough. It took the first lap to get my mojo and by the second and third I was starting to overtake people on the flat. I can’t say the same about the hills. I am a down hill hand breaker. Note to self - much more time on bike needed.
It is lovely to hear the F4L Triathlon Team spectators and athletes encourage each other on and around the course.
It really makes you feel like you are part of a great team.
Out onto run leg I see Paul. “I hate you Paul” was my shout as I ran down the hill for the start of the 5km. By this leg and several hills later I was out of puff so I just tried to tick along. My legs were holding up but I felt like I had the hip of an 80 year old. Out on the river flats the sun was getting hot and I was in struggle town. Rounding the corner to the finish line I saw the F4L crew and hoped I could sneak in without recognition. Due to the distinctive Tri Suit this is never the case and I had full support as I crossed the line – completing my first Sprint Distance Tri.
It was great to see how well the other F4L Triathlon Team athletes went and the places they achieved. You could put it down to talent but I see every week how hard these athletes train, how much effort Paul puts in and I am proud to be part of the team and they fully deserve how well they go and every medal they receive.
At the end of the race it is great when all the F4L athletes, family and supporters discuss how they went, have a laugh and plan for the next event or training session. I was pleased I had done the Sprint, even though I was slow, all things considered I can only get better at this distance. I took a moment to lie on a towel under tree and cool down, I was shattered.
In two words “Ronson Out”
PS - I really don’t hate you coach!