Ah, the Hillarys Triathlon. Race 1 of the Sunsmart Triathlon Series 2016/17. This is a course that I’m pretty familiar with. Having arrived on the Whitford Nodes beach 2 years ago, I remember looking out at the water at the swim course and all the speedy open and junior athletes in my wave start and thinking… “Hmm. Maybe I should have actually done at least one swim in open water before I signed up for this…” As you can expect, I survived the swim with minor damage to my pride and my lungs… Although I was also overtaken by an amazing athlete with one arm who started in the wave after mine. Respect.
Turning up this year was a whole different story.After a year of training with the F4L Triathlon Team and coach, Paul Jones, I was feeling much more prepared and had a bit more training and experience up my sleeve. This year, I’m not just a good runner having a go at a new challenge. But a trained (albeit amateur) triathlete, excited to extend myself and see how I go after seeing much improvement across all 4 disciplines (transition is totally a discipline in itself) over the past year. As a team featured race, a good number of the F4L team participated and/or came down to support and cheer us on. It was so encouraging having people call out encouragement from the sidelines each time you ran into transition or rode past a certain point. This race was a great experience for most of us to put new skills into practice, and see some of our juniors attempting the full sprint distance for the first time (well done, Clancy that was awesome!).
Lining up at the start lineWe watched the juniors take off with a sprint into the water, fearlessly facing the stingers that were mischievously bobbing around the shoreline. Kendall and I, waiting with the other ladies in the 20-29 age group, posed for a few photos and complained about our goggles for a bit whilst we waited to start. Totally unprepared, I couldn’t hear the countdown and had no warning when the siren signalled to start. So I chased after Kendall who had raced off from beside me. Practicing the dive into the water the day before, I totally stuffed it up when I almost jumped too early and ended up with a “hop, skip, jump” type approach to diving in. Following this, I had a pretty awesome swim. Hitting the long straight at the back, I think this is the first time I had ever passed people on the swim and ended up comfortably finishing in the middle of the group I started with. Running out of the water like a chicken (literally) and into T1, I successfully managed to get onto my bike with the shoes already attached and without injury. This was something I was a little nervous about having totally stuffed it up a few days before and breaking a spoke on my wheel… So, I was naturally ecstatic.
The cycle leg proceededWith three laps of a 7km course and a nice hill. Glimpsing other F4L outfits on the course, they flashed by with determination, giving the odd thumbs up as we went past. Lap 1, not too bad. Lap 3? Ugh, am I done already? Exiting the bike for T2, I managed to get my feet out and run off the bike behind the awesome, Lucy (another up and coming junior triathlete!) and we both raced into transition to start the run. My run leg preceded much like my bike and I silently cursed all the bends and corners that looked like the end… But weren’t. Eventually, I was running through the finish line, neck to neck in a sprint finish with another athlete with the team calling out from the sidelines. The highlight of this race was seeing the hard work of the team pay off, and having their encouragement and support. Calling out when we passed each other on the bike or run, and having others cheer from the sidelines was really awesome and means so much when you’re going as hard as you can. Many of us made little mistakes along the way, but these are a great opportunity to practice skills, and there are always successes! A few of us finished on the podium, including Maren, Cate and myself and others in the top 5, it was a good day for F4L and I really enjoyed it! Well done to everyone who competed (including coach!) and to those who came out to support us! And thanks Paul, for all the coaching and advice given to get us here! Maddy If you would like to train with F4L Triathlon Coaching – Our Squad Sessions are delivered in a friendly, social environment under the guidance of British Triathlon Level 3 Head Coach, Paul Jones. F4L Triathlon Coaching delivers these Triathlon Training Sessions primarily in the Perth Hills area, making use of some fantastic facilities for Triathlon. Paul ensures a friendly relaxed environment to help get the best out of athletes. There are many opportunities to mingle with other like-minded athletes at coffee after training or through our regular F4L Team social get-togethers.
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