STIRLING AQUATHLON 2014
Official time: 37 minutes and 04 seconds
Gender position 11th/57 (7th/37 senior ladies)
I’ve been thinking about trying a triathlon for a while now so when my friend Kat suggested giving and Aquathlon a go, I said yes immediately. Was there any better way to ease my way into the world of multi sport than with my two favourite activities? I signed up there and then.
Stirling Triathlon club were the hosts of this event and it took part at the National Swimming academy up at Stirling University, which was where I went to Uni (all 13 years ago now!) and I am always more than happy to revisit the campus. We arrived with plenty of time to spare and once registered (which took a bit longer for Kat as someone else had been given her number!!) we pottered about, had a look at the transition area (a first for me!), set our shoes and towels and then went for a tea and a flapjack as we still had tons of time to kill before our heat.
The event consisted of a 750m (30 length) swim and a 5k run. I hadn’t swam competitively since I was 16 and even though I’m in the pool every day teaching, I can’t remember the last time I timed myself swimming! On entering the race you had to submit your time for 750m so the lanes could be seeded in order of fastest to slowest. This was my first big mistake. I had a total guess at a time and then the following week went and completed the distance in training at about 75% effort and was about a minute and a half faster than the time I’d submitted. By now it was too late to say to the organisers as they’d already sent out an email with lane order, so I’d just have to see how it went on the day….
Kat and I were in the same heat in lanes next to each other, so when it was time to start, we gave each other a final thumbs up and off we went… for all of about 20m before I swam straight into the feet of the person in front. Now, I know it’s my fault for putting in the wrong time, but there is meant to be lane etiquette of moving aside if the person behind you catches up. I’m guessing the Ultra running rule of “don’t be a dick” does not comply with triathletes. A few taps later and I still wasn’t allowed by, so I gave a gentle ankle grab to be a bit less subtle… but still no budging. I tried not to get frustrated as after all, this was my fault for being in the wrong lane… but come on!!! Soon enough the 30 lengths were over, I hauled myself out the pool and ran out the fire door of the pool and across the grass and red carpet down to transition. Again something totally new for me and I felt a bit lost! I had decided to bring my trail shoes as they already have lace locks on them and are easy to slip on, but it didn’t help that I ran straight past them! Eventually I found them, quickly dried my feet, shoved on my socks and shoes and picked up my race belt with attached number and I was back out in all of 35 seconds…. not bad!! The run route was 2 loops of the uni campus which went across the sports field, up a very sharp hill (which I remember stumbling up and down in my uni days!), round the back of the industrial estate, back down the hill and round half the running track before heading across the grass fields and back to the pool. It was a great route but running after swimming is a weird experience – I couldn’t reset my legs and running while soaking is HARD! I have a new found respect for anyone who does an ironman – you are total legends and one day I hope to be part of your crew!
I gave it my all on the last loop and flew across the finish line with my arms in the air and a huge grin on my face. I was given a goody bag (containing milk and water) and a lovely medal. I went across to get my time printed out and wait for Kat to finish and she also flew across the line with her arms in the air and the biggest smile – quite the come back for having had such an awful year post injury!! We were both elated with our times and once we were changed we headed to the pub to celebrate with wine and amazing food.
I’m definitely going to try another aquathlon and see how I get on with a better swim. Considering how shattered I was, I was still only 30 seconds off my 5k pb so thats also a bonus! Next time however, I will NOT go to CX works and metfit the day before a race. My calves and bum were KILLING me!!! One day I’d love to do a full triathlon, but I need to buy a road bike first. Or a nice person could just buy me one???