Edinburgh’s New Years Day Tri was my first ever triathlon back in 2016. I did it again in 2017 along with Joe but last year I decided to give it a miss. Now. Call me ridiculous, over-analytical or just down right weird but part of me kind of thinks that may have been the start of the downfall that was 2018. Not over dramatic at all. Not even slightly. Believing I may have ruined my year on the very 1st day? Slight exaggeration? Some may say possibly. But moving on…
So, obviously, I signed back up for 2019. 400 metre swim, 12 mile cycle, 3 miles ish (lies!) run. Less than a basic training day right?
Oh how wrong can you be! Even after all this time I am still making absolute rookie mistakes. You have to wonder how I manage to get dressed in a morning some times. (Although I did forget my shorts last month at work – long story, not a pretty picture. It’s ok though, I at least had pants on.)
You see it may have been a basic training day, an easy swim distance, nothing I can’t do on a bike, and I am still running – but I forgot a fundamental part. Putting it all together. And maybe, just maybe, I didn’t really cycle that much. Or, like, ever. Until the night before. (Scariest cycle ever!! I go blind in the dark! And before you even say it there aren’t enough carrots in the world that can cure that).
Yup. I got cocky. Well not really. I always knew it wasn’t going to be an all world athlete performance. But I probably should have made a little more effort to put it all together.
What I wasn’t expecting was the nerves. My lord I hadn’t felt like that since the first time I was there. I couldn’t look Joe in the eye for fear of crying, couldn’t really speak either (although pretty sure he loved that part). It was bad. Waiting in the queue to get my race number and timing chip there was nervous chatter all around me. ‘I just hope no one dies like they did at Kyle’s race.’
Well that’s not bloody helpful is it!! I moved away from them quick smart – which was probably the fastest I moved all day. In the changing room I bumped into the fantastic physio who had got me through Race To The Stones. Turned out it was her first ever triathlon. She was giving it a try. We chatted about tips and stuff and how it was just a better way to spend New Years than with a pounding headache and memory loss. Then I headed out to poolside for the race brief – ever the stickler for the race brief. Much to my mortification the man with the microphone decided to tell us to turn to the person next to us and wish them a happy new year. My eyes went wide, my face went white, I visibly started shaking, nooooo! Human contact with strangers!! Please don’t, please don’t, please don’t. The woman next to me eyed me up. I knew what was coming. It was like slow motion. She looked, she saw the fear, she oh so briefly paused, then she decided nah, I’m going to do it. ‘I know you don’t want to and this is probably the worst thing to happen to you but Happy New Year’. I smiled back at her and laughed a little as I wished her the same back. I had been too nervous to stop my reaction appearing on my face. I had basically asked for it.
I watched the first swimmers take off, truly in awe of their courage. Many were breast stroking, there were not many swim caps and there were a few even without goggles. But they were all going for it. They may not have been the fastest but they were the most impressive. I headed down and spotted a woman from the tri club sitting at the side. She was doing a relay with another from the tri club and a woman I know from the running club. She had estimated her swim time much better than me and was starting earlier than me. I was very concerned about my estimate as we swim at pretty much the same speed. It’s not a great feeling being over taken in the lane by a stream of people. We chatted a little (very hard with swim caps on your ears) and she helped calm my nerves without even knowing it I don’t think.
She headed to the queue and I lingered at the edge. I knew the physio lady would be swimming down the lane soon. Sure enough I spotted her and shouted out. She paused and looked back. Oh hell did I just put her off? Damn it. I always get carried away cheering. She was doing really good as well, looked comfortable.
Then it was my turn. I remembered from last time not to jump in and head to the bottom of the pool instead of forward. I didn’t get a push off the wall but it was ok. All in all the whole swim felt ok. I didn’t panic, my breathing was smooth, I may have hit my head on every single lane rope (I’m clearly way too attached to these things) but it generally felt ok. I only counted about 4 people who over took me although I rarely saw anyone in the lane behind me which I found odd. Climbing out I stopped my watch. 9 minutes something. Appears my pace was not ‘ok’ then but more on the slow side. Or did that say 8 minutes something? Could be. I would be happy with that.
In to transition and could I get my jumper on? Absolutely not. Had I swallowed half the pool and now I was carrying water weight? This is a high possibility. After much pulling and under the breath bad words I finally got it on and pushed my bike out with a quick wave to Joe and Oliver. Could I remember what to do next though? When am I allowed to get on the bike? Is it straight out of the gate? Am I missing something? I keep pushing it hoping someone goes by me to give me a clue. I’m on the outside road now and convinced I should be riding the thing. Am I going to push it all the way round the course?? I’m going to be mega embarrassed if someone shouts at me ‘do you not know what that things for love!’. Finally I see a line on the floor and a marshall and it comes back to me. This is whats called a mount line Ella. Mount the bike. Doh.
The cycle is uneventful. The incline is hard and the downhill is fun. I thank my lucky stars I went to the static bike sessions with the tri club as although there may only have been a few, it helped. I consider my swim time and wonder again if it was possibly 8 minutes something and not 9 minutes. I would find out soon. The entire time round I am doing 2 things. Praying I don’t get a puncture and wondering how on earth I managed to do a half ironman! Seriously? You need to get your butt in gear lassie. Get over your fear of the bike, do proper swim training and well, just keep running.
In to transition again and it’s out for the run. I inevitably get jelly legs – did I do any brick training? Can I walk out of a sports shop without buying a new running top? – but I force myself up the hill and then back down again. Not lightening fast but there’s the line and now my year has started right.
Caroline, the runner in the relay team, is just ahead of me at the water table. She’s loved it. I’m not surprised. It’s been a great day. I bump in to the physio lady in the changing room again and she’s hooked. She’s definitely going to be at another one soon. I grab some hot ginger from the Active Root stall and hold it very close to my heart – it’s the tastiest thing ever. I may have even whispered ‘I love you’ in to the cup. It was cold. It heated me up. Don’t judge.
So that’s that. My year started the way it should be and a nudge in the right direction. I’ve got some running races booked this year but I’m going to be doing more triathlon too. Time to get back at it.
Oh and my swim time was most definitely not 8 minutes something ha ha. Ah well.