My First Ever Triathlon

I started running in March 2015. I wasn’t fat or over weight, I just needed something to get me out the house after 3 kids. I managed to build it up at a steady pace over time and was soon addicted. I ran in 5k’s then 10k’s then took it up to half marathon distance in September. It was around this time my husband and I went to support our friend in a middle distance triathlon in Aberfeldy. From the minute I got there I knew that was where I wanted to go next. The atmosphere was immense, the support from family and friends to complete strangers was phenomenal. I spent the entire time wishing it was me out there on the course. I was hooked. As soon as we were home I was on the internet looking for one I could enter. That’s when I came across the Edinburgh New Years Day Triathlon. Perfect for beginners and also the more experienced as, let’s be honest, who is going to be in peak condition after Hogmanay? Swimming was going to be an issue though – I hadn’t swum properly since Primary school so that was first on my training plan. I built in cycling and kept up with running and before long it was the end of 2015 and I was standing at the registration desk at the Commonwealth pool collecting my race number. The volunteer at the desk clearly saw I was nervous as she talked me through what I needed to do and when and gave me one or two tips (if you have a question just ask but most of all just have fun and enjoy). At the side of the pool with a timing chip strapped round my ankle and a number written on my arm I began to wonder if anyone had ever been sick in the pool before at the previous events as I was fearing I may be the first! Thankfully, that didn’t happen! Our instructions were really clear – we were setting off 10 seconds apart, lanes wide enough if you needed to pass (or be passed) and you zig zagged your way to the other side. I could see T1 quite clearly so little chance of me getting lost, that’s if I didn’t drown first. I started near the front as swimming wasn’t my strong area but I had done my research so expected that. It was a very calm start. No loud horn blown or a Big Bang, just a simple count down and everyone cheering the first person to go. I will forever be thankful I was not the very first person, there would definitely have been an ‘incident’. By the time I got to the front I was still nervous (and the pool somehow looked like it had gotten bigger) but just under 100 people had already gone so it was a stern word or two to myself and I was off. I was done in just over 10mins.  
Into T1 and, whilst I was slow, I still managed to remember to put my helmet on before touching my bike. I knew the cycle route well and whilst there were pedestrians out for their New Years walk there was plenty room and plenty encouragement going round the course. I even had 2 offers of help when my chain came off (fabulous experience on your first tri but proof of how friendly the sport is). It was a 3 lap route and the race brief had joked saying he didn’t know how someone couldn’t count to 3, well, let me tell you, it’s harder than you think! I spent the entire 3rd lap panicking whether it was my 2nd or 3rd until finally realising it was of course my third and headed back in to transition past the very chirpy volunteer directing me in with a smile. Dismounting at the mat I was immediately hit with the inevitable jelly legs. Of course I had practised brick training but I don’t think anything can prepare you for your very first race brick. My legs just were not wanting to move. This was running though and I love running so back through the timing gate area cheered on by the volunteers and friends and family I went for my final lap of Arthurs seat. The head wind at the top was a little hard to deal with but knowing there was that downhill after I gave it everything. Coming off the run route and heading for the finish I had forgotten about the very small incline to get there. I say very small but at the time it looked higher than Ben Nevis. Once at the ‘top’ however I could see the finish line just yards away. One last push and I was across the line and officially a triathlete! One of the organisers came over to shake my hand and congratulate me and I have to say, that felt great! 
Deciding to enter the world of triathlon has to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. The encouragement, help and advice that is out there is phenomenal. Everyone is willing to share experiences and tips and I even had someone offer to lend me their bike! And in hindsight I probably should have took it! The atmosphere and volunteers help you get through your nerves on race day and in the end it IS fun. It must have been, I’ve already signed up for another one!