In Which I Swim, Bike And Run
6am on a Sunday morning and my alarm was beeping, because that’s what alarms are designed for, so it was doing it. 6am though. Ugh.
Ironman Tony was picking me up at 7am which gave me plenty of time to check through my stuff and have a coffee. Didn’t feel like eating so took an energy bar for when we got to Skipton. Time passed (as it tends to do) and Tony arrived. Loaded my bike into his van and after a ‘Good luck!’ from Sarah, we were off.
Got to Skipton and walked across to the registration to get our start packs. We then went to the transition area to rack our bikes and put race numbers on race tops.
We then made our way to the swimming pool (for the swimming bit.) After the swim you come out the back door to the pool and loads of people had used the outside area to put some stuff they’d need before getting to transition one (T1) like a towel and stuff. I decided to leave all my stuff here like shorts, socks, towel and running shoes rather than stopping to get ready twice.
Tony directed me to poolside (he’s done this one before so knew the setup) and there was a few nervous faces (mine especially) listening to the briefing. I was in Lane one (6 lanes, 4 in a lane) and was given a red swim cap which meant I was setting off first, with the next person 5 seconds after and so on.
We were told when to get in the pool and it was nice and warm, which was nice (and warm) and I floated about treading water a bit but then the countdown was on and before long the whistle went, and so did I.
I’d put down a swim time of 15 mins so everyone else in my start group must’ve put the same. Which is why I don’t feel so bad about saying everyone else in my start group IS A CHUFFING LIAR.
The person that started 5 seconds behind me overtook me on the first turn around, and before too many more laps I’d been overtaken by everyone. YOU SHOULD ALL BE EQUAL TO MY RUBBISH SWIMMINGNESS! I was one of the last out of the pool and the next start group clapped for me (bit condescending, but a nice gesture) and my watch said I’d done the swim in 14 minutes. A PB by a full minute!
Exited the building and got my stuff on. I’d swum in tri shorts so just put my normal shorts on over the top. This was followed by a 200m jog to T1 to get my bike. Helmet on, gloves on, bike off the rack, then an uphill walk up grass to where you were allowed to mount your bike.
A Marshall told me I could get on my bike so I told him I’d wait til I was at the top of the hill first, and when I got there I got on. As soon as I set off I decided to have my energy gel which I almost threw away because I couldn’t get the chuffing thing open. Managed to bite a hole in it and had the gel, then I got going properly.
I’d riden the course last week with Tony so pretty much knew what to expect from it. There was a bit of a headwind which didn’t help but didn’t think much about it. Figured I must be near halfway and checked my watch, which said I’d only gone 4km. Pft.
Followed the directions of the marshals and felt quite lonely out there seeing as though everyone else had set off before me. In fact I didn’t see another rider until around 10km, and that was only because they had a puncture at the side of the road.
Reached halfway, felt good. Decided to get my legs going a bit more, plus the second half was a bit easier than the first. Saw another cyclist in front so aimed to pass them. Caught up, rode by. Felt mean when I saw it was a girl on a mountain bike.
Ah well. Kept on pushing and saw another cyclist going up a hill as I neared the bottom. I pushed on and managed to keep a good speed uphill so overtook another. I was surprised at the pace I’d gotten to, and before long flew by another rider.
Saw a sign saying Skipton was three miles (5km) away which gave me a boost and then before I knew it I was approaching the end of the cycle. Everyone (Sarah’s grandad, mum, sister, and sisters boyfriend) was there cheering me on as I got back and I felt quite good!
The run was out of the park and along the main road uphill for a bit, then a nice downhill stretch back into, and through, the park. There was a water station at the turn around point so I walked through it as I drunk some free water and then started on the uphill return bit.
There was then a short but steep path up to the wooded area (which I also walked) and then ran through the wood bit and got a wristband to say my first lap was done.
Pointed back to the road for the second lap and I ran it exactly like the first, walking through the water station and the steep bit, and then this time was directed to the finish line.
Then, done. Finished. Officially a triathlete. (Changed my twitter to say so.)
Had some coke and took some melon, but remembered I don’t really like melon so gave it to Hannah, Sarah’s sister.
Was aiming to finish in around 1:40 so chuffed enough with this!
Especially pleased with my 5km run time! That was my favourite bit of the day. That, and the full English breakfast later on.
Ironman Tony started at 11:10 and obviously was quicker than me, finishing in a PB of 1:25! I’d like to point out though, that my run was quicker than his. Even though his swim, bike and transitions were a LOT quicker than mine…
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