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All the way to the Finish

"When my alarm went off, I sprang out of bed eager to begin race day!"

It’s now been just over a week since the Intersport Townsville Triathlon Festival and I thought it was time to finally write up my first race review.

I had a restless nights’ sleep before the event, even after finishing work at 9pm, (which I DO NOT recommend before your first race) I still tossed and turned all night waking up almost every half hour to check the time. Despite the restless sleep, when my alarm went off I sprang out of bed eager to begin race day!

I’d laid my gear out the night before, so after going through my mental checklist at least another half dozen times and eating my usual pre-race peanut butter and honey toast, I was out the door and on my way.

I made sure to get there early enough to get a parking spot close by. I’m the type of person that will be there half an hour before the half hour to begin, but still be rushing to the start line and this day was no exception, but more on that soon.

Transition opened not long after I arrived so I went and found my perfectly positioned bike and laid everything out. I think I re-arranged everything about 10 times, a few cm here and a few cm there, I was eventually happy with my gear lay out and went to find the NQTA crew.

The race briefing started a little late which meant that the age group starts were all pushed back by a few minutes. I dawdled my way down to the sand thinking we still had heaps of time to kill when I looked over and seen all the pink swim caps (my age group) lining up to start, cue previously mentioned rushing. I still hadn’t put my arms in my wetsuit or got my swim cap over all my hair-Do you know how hard it is trying to get a swim cap over almost belly button length hair? The only answer is near impossible! I now see why short hair is a more favourable hair style. One of my friends had to hold my hair up while I stretched the ridiculously small swim cap over my braids (my signature race hair style).

I came out of the water still feeling great

Despite the mad dash to the start line, I had my best open water swim yet. This may be due to the fact that I was so rushed I didn’t have time to stop and think what I was about to put my body through. I mentioned in a previous post that swimming is definitely not my strongest, but anything can happen on race day and in fact I felt that the swim was my strongest asset that day. It’s not that I was particularly fast, but I just felt strong. I went over my plan for T1 over and over in my head, thinking about exactly what order I was going to put everything on and this definitely helped to keep me calm.

I came out of the water still feeling great and made my way up to T1. Still going through my plan in my head, I put everything on in order, grabbed my bike and off I went. Coming out of transition area onto the road up to the mount line, I got on my bike with no worries (I always struggle the mount of dismount of my bike, hello 2 left feet).

I really struggled for the first quarter of the bike course to find my groove. There were so many people passing me and this is when I realised my weakest link was the bike, not the swim. After the first 10km-ish I noticed that I was already averaging faster than I thought I would but people were still passing me. I kept telling myself ‘it’s okay, I’ll catch them on the run’. It wasn’t until the last 10km when I felt absolutely spent that I realised I’d gone way too hard, but I still felt optimistic and was keen to start the run. My favourite part!

Coming off the bike (again, seamlessly) I realised that I hadn’t taken note prior to coming into T2 where my gear was laid, luckily I took a stab and went down the right isle. With a quick change of shoes I was off and running. My legs felt extremely heavy and very early on I knew it was going to be a long and painful 10km. Again I tried settling into a comfortable pace, I kept telling myself to start off slow and steady for the first 5km and bring it home the last 5. Definitely not the case! I offer a sincere apology to anybody that witnessed my pain face that day!! It was a bit of a kick in the teeth but also a reality check that I have a lot of improvement to do on the bike in order to be fresh for the run. Coming into the last km I kept telling myself ‘the faster you run the faster it’ll be over and you can breathe again’.

Seeing the finishing chute was the most glorious part of the day. Listening to everyone cheering and seeing Matt and the NQTA team at the end made the almost 3 hours of pain worth it.

I came in with official times of:

Swim: 31:23; Bike: 1:23:31; Run: 55:54; with an overall time of 2:54:18. I placed 135 out of 153, 48 of 63 females and 7 out of 11 in my age category.

While it may sound like I was disappointed, and at the time no doubt I may have been slightly, overall I’m so incredibly proud of my achievements made on the day. I cannot thank my coach Graham enough, I’m well and truly hooked now and I can’t wait to see where this sport takes me.

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